NEF Consulting runs regular open training on Creating a Theory of Change as well as training for your group on a date to suit you.

We also facilitate workshops to help you develop a Theory of Change – whether it is for a programme or your organisation’s strategy – and offer consultancy support to help implement change.

See below for more information on our training but please contact us if you’d like to discuss options.

About Theory of Change

A Theory of Change (ToC) is a powerful tool that helps organisations and initiatives plan how they will create change, assess their effectiveness and communicate to stakeholders. It is used widely by charities, social enterprises, the public sector and even by mainstream businesses who are recognising its potential.

A ToC 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.

The role of Theory of Change in SROI modelling

Using qualitative approaches to gain an intimate understanding of how an intervention impacts lives leads to better quantitative analysis and modelling at later stages of an SROI analysis. Before you can start to value, you need data on outcomes; and before you collect data on outcomes, you need to make sure you are measuring the appropriate outcomes. A strong Theory of Change helps make SROI modelling easier, communicating potential impact considerations such as deadweight and attribution.

For more about the Theory of Change process click here

Delivered online, we can run the workshop for groups on a date that suits you. Contact us today for details.

To see dates for open training see the calendar.  


One-day online training

NEF has developed proven templates to run storyboard exercises in workshops and focus groups in a range of settings, gathering data directly from service users. NEF Consulting has constructed theories of change for a range of programmes. We have found that the best evaluations, including SROIs, are underpinned by strong theories of change developed early in the research process, so would recommend this course to anyone starting a new social impact project.

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

For in-house training we usually limit numbers on the workshop to a maximum of 12 participants. As participants in open training are from a range of organisations, the groups are  generally smaller enabling you to share ideas and ask questions about your organisation’s theory of change.

Some comments from recent participants in group training workshops:

“Liz was incredibly knowledgeable about the subject and patient when explaining things” – Emily Ward, Sheffield City Council.

“Really clear and inclusive delivery from both trainers 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. The practical implementation slot was particularly helpful.” – Aneel Singh Bhopal, Scottish Refugee Council.


  • 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 course 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.”
“The practical development of ToC. Going through the process really helped.”
“That it’s a messy, iterative process and not to panic.”
“How to take a structured approach to developing ToC.”
“Ensuring engagement of key stakeholders and the importance of co-production and validation.”
“NEF’s take on TOC was really helpful in highlighting that 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.”


Anyone looking to bring the strategic lens of theory of change to their planning or evaluation. If you have a project in mind, the course will offer the opportunity to map out your theory and gain feedback.


All our consultants are experienced in using Theory of Change, and in delivering training, but these workshops are usually run by one or two of the following:

Elizabeth Cox, Director, NEF Consulting

Elizabeth leads NEF Consulting, overseeing the development of the consultancy role within the New Economics Foundation and collaborations with other organisations.  She has led the New Economics Foundation’s UK and international research on localities and local economies over 13 years. She leads on our Theory of Change training and facilitation work.

Her work ranges from developing learning-based programmes around supporting communities to develop community economic development plans, working with project teams to develop theories of change, to developing impact frameworks for social impact investors and social businesses, and research design.

Beti Baraki, Consultant, NEF Consulting

Beti BarakiBeti has a strong background in gender, policy analysis, wellbeing analysis, and evaluation and impact assessment.  Specialising in qualitative research, Beti is experienced in facilitating workshops and supports delivery of Theory of Change training and facilitation of workshops with groups to develop a Theory of Change.

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

We can run the workshop for groups on a date that suits you and tailored to suit your needs. Contact us today for details.

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Training Programme
Strategic overviews and practical training.

We offer tailored online and on-site training and briefings on Theory of Change, measuring social impact, commissioning for outcomes and social value, SROI, measuring local economic impact, community economic development, and more.

We also facilitate workshops to help you develop a Theory of Change for your programme or strategy. 

Clients include local authorities, universities, public health services, charities, community groups, membership bodies, and responsible businesses.

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by @nefconsulting