Theory of Change

Create A "Theory Of Change"

A Theory of Change (TOC) describes how your programs will lead to your desired outcomes – i.e. how the transformative change happens. The value of a TOC comes from having to clearly connect your efforts to specific outcomes that constitute the "missing middle".

An example for an education-focused allyship initiative TOC might be:

We focus on receptive colleagues to enhance their willingness and ability to be better allies. Many folks want to learn more, get involved, and take action, but they don't know how.

We provide educational materials, opportunities to listen to others' experiences, methods of self reflection, suggestions on behavior changes, and time to practice.

As folks become more confident and dedicated, they will naturally and positively affect the overall workplace. They will slowly raise awareness of others on their teams. Simultaneously they will develop inclusive leadership skills that will allow them to continue their progress and make their future workplace cultures more inclusive.

Clarifying your toc makes you effective

  • Creates clarity on analysis and scope of the problem
  • Names important stakeholders
  • Identifies actions to take
  • Outlines desired outcomes
  • Prompts discussion and alignment on unspoken beliefs and priorities. "I think we should focus first on the most enthusiastic men" versus "I think we should focus on the guys who need the most improvement".
  • Gives you the chance to evaluate whether your TOC is correct. "My TOC was that creating a safe space for men to discuss gender equity would naturally lead to men uncovering their biases, but in retrospect, the session may have only cemented them..."

There's no one "correct" TOC – it's about having a hypothesis, learning, and modifying. Lastly, individual events and programs also have their own TOC which help guide their planning and implementation (check out our programs and events page).