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Theory of Change

A theory of change provides a picture of the expected relationship between actions and desired results. It can frame the basis for outcome-based planning and evaluation efforts. These publications provide descriptions of these conceptual frameworks and can be used as how-to guides for creating your organization’s unique theory of change.

Getting Started: A Self-Directed Guide to Outcome Map Development (2009)
Getting Started offers step-by-step advice along with concrete tools, templates and examples to help advocacy organizations express their theory of change via an outcome map. The outcome maps enhance communication and serve as a framework for evaluation planning.
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Orientation to Theory of Change (2008)
This brochure includes an easy-to-follow overview of theory of change techniques, types of change and the "Layer Cake" model.
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Pathways for Change: 6 Theories about How Policy Change Happens (2009)
This guide describes expected outcomes and underlying assumptions for theories from different disciplines that are relevant to advocacy and policy-change efforts. They help advocates, funding organizations and evaluators better communicate about their work, develop partnerships, and create meaningful evaluation plans.
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Strategic Communications for Influence: Lessons From the Annie E. Casey Foundation and its KIDS MATTER Initiative (2010)
The article was recently published in The Foundation Review (2010, Volume 1, Issue 4).
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The Outcome Map Experience - Children First for Oregon (video) (2011)
ORS presented to the KIDS COUNT evaluation and organizational effectiveness work group. At this meeting, Robin Christian from Children First for Oregon shared a video where staff, board members and partners talked about the value of developing an outcome map.
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The Outcome Map Experience - Georgia Family Connection Partnership (video) (2011)
ORS presented to the KIDS COUNT evaluation and organizational effectiveness work group. At this meeting, Gaye Smith from the Georgia Family Connection Partnership shared a video where staff, board members and partners talked about the value of developing an outcome map.
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Theory of Change: A Practical Tool For Action, Results and Learning (2004)
This guide describes an approach and practical strategies for engaging in theory of change work with community partners. It offers instructions in using specific techniques or “so that” chains and outcome maps in the development of a theory of change.
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