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Using a theory of change as a companion to action

What's your organization's dream? Or the social issue at the very heart of your charity?

You can use a theory of change model to visually represent what you want to do, as well as why and how you intend to do it. A strong theory of change will help staff, volunteers and participants stay on the same page at all stages of development.

This 45-page manual appears courtesy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Originally created for the Casey Foundation's Making Connections initiative, the manual defines theory of change and illustrates how to create your own theory of change by showing the relationships between outcomes, assumptions, strategies and results.

Main sections headings include:

  • What does a theory of change look like?
  • What types of changes are mapped?
  • Creating a theory of change with the community
  • Entering theory of change through different donors
  • Using a theory of change as a companion to action

Published in 2004, the manual remains an example of current best practices.

Theory of Change: A Practical Tool for Action, Results and Learning

© 2014 The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2004). Theory of Change: A Practical Tool For Action, Results and Learning. Baltimore, MD. Retrieved from



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