Theory of Change for Funders: Planning to Make a Difference

  • Date of release: 2014
  • Type: Guidance & research reports
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  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Cost: Free
  • Developer/Author: NPC
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Theory of change describes the change you want to make and the steps involved in making that change happen. It also captures the assumptions behind your reasoning, and where possible, provides evidence to back them up. It is enormously helpful as a tool for both strategy and evaluation – and yet many funders do not use it.

Theories of change are not for all funders; and the benefits will differ depending on how far a funder is able to go in completing one. Some funders are able to draw out a full theory of change, whereas others are only able to do a partial theory of change.

This report talks through three different types of theories of change, each relating to one type of funder impact:

– a theory of change for impact on beneficiaries;

– a theory of change for impact on grantees; and

– a theory of change for impact on a social problem.

For each theory of change, the report discusses the associated benefits, how the theory of change should be used, and what types of funder it is useful for.

Theory of Change for Funders

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