Roadmap to Social Impact

Ramia, I., Powell, A., Stratton, K., Stokes, C., Meltzer, A., Muir, K. (2021).
Roadmap to outcomes measurement. Your step-by-step guide to planning, measuring and communicating social impact. Centre for Social Impact.

Hey, the more I’m reading about social impact the more I’m realizing that a Theory of Change and Logic Model are important pieces, but you need to use them together especially for those projects or enterprises that may not conform to a linear model that the structure of the Logic Model assumes. The Theory of Change should capture more or less visually in a diagram what you’re hoping to achieve, and if the groundwork still requires lots of thinking and rethinking, lots of iterations and feedback loops, then work that into the Logic Model and make sure its visually diagrammed in the Theory of Change.

Theory of Change: A theory or model of how a program will achieve the intended or observed outcomes.

  • Articulates hypothesised causal relationships between a program’s activities and its intended outcomes
  • Identifies how and why changes are expected to occur
  • Comprises a change model (the changes the program intends to achieve) and an action model (the activities that will lead to those changes)
  • Articulates the assumptions and enablers that explain why activities will lead to the outcomes outlined
  • Often represented as a diagram or chart, a narrative can also be used
  1. Start by defining the main activity for your program and its long-term outcomes. These represent the ‘start’ and ‘end’ of your theory of change (what you do and for what purpose).
  2. Clearly outline the change model (the changes that will result from your program). You can then articulate the main processes or activities (the action model) through which you engage with your target group, population, or community to achieve those outcomes.
  3. Your theory of change should be informed by knowledge of ‘what works’ to address the problem you are seeking to solve (e.g. similar programs or approaches in different circumstances), or evidence that an innovative approach (e.g. engaging with groups at different times, in different circumstances) is likely to work and why

Randy Terada
Centre for Social Innovation Annex
720 Bathurst St.

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