Articulate Theory of Change

  1. Finalize outcome statement(s) based on insights gained in developing results chains and strategy maps.
  2. Describe the conservation challenge, the solution, and why your organization and/or team is positioned to implement the solution in a succinct way that colleagues, partners, stakeholders and funders can understand and support.
  • A narrative theory of change

Your theory of change (ToC) explains how and why you think your strategies will achieve its intended outcomes. Theories of change are an important ingredient for strategy development and are an essential ingredient in developing measures to assess the effectiveness of the actions you take to implement your strategy. It is the process for developing a ToC, as much as the final product, which is beneficial for developing robust outcomes and promoting a common understanding about a strategy's impact. A ToC should clarify what changes are needed in norms and other factors in order to achieve your ultimate aim and to pursue the most efficient path to get there. Developing a ToC helps to identify potential roadblocks, leaps of logic in your thinking, assumptions to monitor, and risks to success. It also ensures that everyone on the team is operating under the same set of assumptions and can see how their actions connect to critical intermediate results and the ultimate outcome. (adapted from Evans, et al., 2005)

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  • Succinctly state the conservation challenge.

  • Articulate the solution using the logic of the key steps from the results chain.

    • Note where logic steps currently lack evidence.

  • Define desired outcomes.

    • A complete outcome statement includes five parts:

  • Explain why your organization or team is well suited to implement this strategy.

  • Explain enabling conditions.

    • Create enabling conditions.

  • Articulate any key assumptions that underpin the strategy.

Minimum Standard Questions
  1. Is the logic describing why your strategies will lead to the stated outcomes clear, supported by strong results chains and evidence, and compelling to those reading your theory of change for the first time?
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What is the difference between a theory of change and a results chain?

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