We deliver regular open training through the School for Social Entrepreneurs, on an introduction to creating a Theory of Change as well as training for groups on a date we can arrange to suit you.

We also facilitate workshops for local authorities to help them develop a Theory of Change as part of a strategic change programme. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss options.


A Theory of Change (ToC) is a powerful tool that helps in planning how to create change, assess their effectiveness, and communicate to stakeholders. It is normally depicted as a map, or a journey, linking the activities of a programme, intervention or organisation to the short-term, medium-term and long-term outcomes experienced by stakeholders.  It is a living diagram and narrative that should be updated as the work of the organisation changes.

Using qualitative approaches to gain an intimate understanding of how an intervention impacts lives leads to better quantitative analysis and modelling . Before you collect data on outcomes, you need to make sure you are measuring the appropriate outcomes.

For more about the Theory of Change process click here

For open training dates see the calendar.  


Online training – open or for in-house groups

We would recommend this one-day workshop to anyone starting a new social impact project or looking to bring the strategic lens of theory of change to their planning or evaluation.

During the day we explore what a theory of change is, an introduction on how to construct one and best practice in conducting robust qualitative research.

The open training is for individuals, or small groups of up to three people from a single organisation. There will be no more than 7 people in each workshop, enabling you to share ideas with other participants and ask questions about your organisation’s theory of change. You do not work on your own theory of change, as this is an introductory workshop, but there is an opportunity for participants to suggest a live project as an example for the afternoon exercises.

The group training is for in-house teams and we usually limit the workshop group to a maximum of 7 participants but can be up to 12.


  • The big picture: theory of change and its role in strategic planning and evaluation.
  • Talking in outcomes: theory of change and other impact formats
  • Collecting theory of change data: engaging with stakeholders
  • Using the theory of change framework
  • Next steps: planning, verifying and communicating findings.


By the end of the workshop you will:

  • Be able to describe a theory of change and when it is appropriate to use it.
  • Understand what an outcome is and describe the similarities and differences between a theory of change and a logic model or impact map.
  • Feel able to design a process and discussion guide for engaging with stakeholders.
  • Feel confident using the component parts of a theory of change and to communicate their strategic value.
  • Find a personal approach to visualising and describing a theory of change.
  • Plan for how you will test and communicate your theory of change.

What some of the participants have highlighted as ‘one big thing they’ll take back’ from the workshop, in their own words:

“Use of ToC for strategic decision making.”
“Confidence in developing theory of change with my own team.”
“How to map out the change we intend to make, create visual representation.”
“The framework! It is holistic and different/more complete than others I have come across.”
“That it’s a messy, iterative process and not to panic.”
“Ensuring engagement of key stakeholders and the importance of co-production and validation.”
“Every TOC process and exercise has to be tailored to unique circumstances.”
“I better understand how to map outcomes and the importance of including awareness of potential negative outcomes.”


Comments from participants in group training workshops:

“Great session – I thought it was in depth but pithy while also allowing for discussion. Really helpful and insightful” Charlotte Murrie, Sheffield City Council.

“Really clear communication. A great combination of slow pace, emphasis and authority, as well as enthusiasm in the topic and interest in our context.” Sam Reynolds, Surrey County Council.

“Really clear and inclusive delivery which gave the group a good understanding of the principles of the methodology, as well as the actual workings of it through the breakout sessions.” – Aneel Singh Bhopal, Scottish Refugee Council.

“Really useful for grasping the key links between strategic planning implementation and impact evaluation.” – Donovan Synmoie, University of Greenwich.

“It took us on a clear journey and you created an environment where we felt safe asking what might be perceived as daft questions.” – Mandy Rudd, Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC.

Comments from participants in open training workshops:

“Very knowledgeable and engaging. She led the group very effectively through the various exercises.” – Panagiotis Vergetis, United Nations.

“A really great session – thank you. Clearly an expert in the field.” – Liz Jamil, Hull City Council.

“Marvellous – lots of specific and generic advice and insights. I was super happy with the workshop …and it was money very well spent.” – Shirley Barbara Evans, Association for Dementia Studies.


Our open and group training is delivered by:

Nicola Lynch, Associate

Nicola Lynch is an independent evaluator and social value consultant working across the UK and Ireland. Until recently, Nicola was the National Lead on Civil Society for Social Value UK and is qualified to Advanced Practitioner status by Social Value International.

Nicola is a regular speaker at events and an experienced trainer on a range of topics, including Theory of Change, relevant to improving impact delivery, measurement and management. She delivers NEF’s training on Theory of Change.

All our consultants are experienced in using Theory of Change and in delivering Theory of Change development workshops.

See the training calendar for dates for open training for Creating a Theory of Change. Or book via the School for Social Entrepreneurs here.

Contact us today for details on group training and to discuss your needs.

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New Economics Foundation

NEF aims to create a new economy that works for people and within environmental limits. We are guided by three missions:

A new social settlement
To ensure people are paid well, have more time off to spend with their families, and have access to the things we all need for a decent life.

A Green New Deal
A plan for government-led investment to reduce the carbon we emit and boost nature, while creating a new generation of jobs.

The democratic economy
To devolve state power and transform ownership of the economy to give everyone an equal stake in the places where we live and work.

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