About This Module

imagePrep: 6+ hr | Module: 9 hrimageTeam: 5-10

The Theory of Change Module is a DIY process designed to help teams develop or refine an initial draft of a theory of change (TOC) for their strategy. This provides an adaptable tool for strategy management. It also helps the team find alignment, identify and prepare for risks, and easily communicate their “what”, “why”, and “how”. 

The Theory of Change Module is a key part of the initial strategy planning process. The resulting theory of change should be refined and improved over time through periodic reviews focused on enhancing strategic effectiveness. 

What key products will emerge from this process?

  • A first draft of a theory of change.  

Use this module to answer the following questions:

  • What outcomes, intermediate results, and strategic approaches will we need in order to reach our ultimate goal within the necessary timeframe? 
  • What are the critical risks and hidden assumptions that underpin the success of our team’s theory of change?

  • The primary participants are the core planning team. The ideal group size is 5-12 people to incorporate multiple perspectives while also enabling all participants to fully engage. Input can also be obtained from others whose viewpoints may help shape the outcome of the theory of change, including field staff, science experts, policy experts, TNC leadership, partners, key interested parties, and others. The team may also wish to seek feedback from leadership or other relevant TNC staff after a first draft of the theory of change has been created. 
  • We recommend three workshop sessions of 3-4 hours each, ideally within a 2-week period. 
  • A team is ready for this module when they have a) aligned on objectives, b) identified core challenges, and c) identified their strategies. These prerequisites can be achieved by completing the Defining Objectives, Situation Analysis, and Strategic Selection Modules, respectively. The team should also have agreement on the scope for the planned theory of change (e.g., is it focused on a single strategy, or a set of strategies?).
  • This module follows a three-step process.  

    1. Setting the context by answering foundational questions. 

    2. Drafting a hypothesis for how this body of work will achieve strategic goals.

    3. Identifying critical risks and assumptions underpinning the success of the theory of change. 

Theory of Change Module Documents

What documents are included in this module?

DIY Theory of Change Facilitator’s Guide
 Miro Board
Theory of Change Template
Foundation Worksheet
Walkthrough Videos


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