New guide launched to help smaller charities with theory of change

A new ten-step guide has been launched to help small to medium charities with their theory of change.

The guide, launched by NPC, is aimed at small charities with no prior experience of theory of change, and those that want to refresh their understanding and look at their theory of change in a different way.

Further guidance will be aimed at those working on campaigns and larger organisations, which tend to be more complicated, NPC said.

In ten steps, the tool aims to help charities to:

- Understand their situation: reflect on the causes of the problem, barriers for change and where their organisation can best contribute to change
- Design a theory of change: focus on what they hope to achieve and how, using clear definitions and sequences.
- Challenge their assumptions: think about their own weaknesses, risks and how context might affect the theory of change.

The guide contains questions and exercises, which charities can use to develop a new theory of change or reflect on their existing one and is grounded in NPC’s experience of helping charities create theories of change first-hand.

NPC’s James Noble, who led the research, said: "Since we last published advice on theory of change, we’ve worked with hundreds of charities of all shapes and sizes up and down the country (and overseas).

"It’s given us a good idea of what people find confusing, what they find useful and what’s relevant – we’ve poured that into this new guidance. We hope to reach many more charities than we could work with one-on-one because we believe a good theory of change can really improve a charities effectiveness."

This ten-step guide comes ahead of full refresh of NPCs thinking on theory of change, which is due to be published later this year.

You can read the guide here.

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