NEF Consulting delivers regular open training through the School for Social Entrepreneurs, on creating a Theory of Change as well as training for groups on a date we can arrange 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. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss options.


A Theory of Change (ToC) is a powerful tool that helps in planning plan 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

The best evaluations, including SROIs, are underpinned by strong theories of change developed early in the research process, so would recommend this one-day workshop to anyone starting a new social impact project. Or anyone 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, 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.

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


  • 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.”


Half-day online training for groups

Ideal for a senior team to learn how to create a Theory of Change at the start of developing a new strategy for their organisation. We will work on an actual example from your organisation to work on in the practical session.

We limit the number of participants to 6 so we can keep the workshop focused. This training workshop is only available for groups. Please contact us to discuss your needs.


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.

“Really engaging and pushed the cohort to challenge themselves and get involved. Really clear presentation style.” – Holly Crossland, Arup.

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

“Good, clear delivery. A lot to cover. you clearly know your stuff.” – Rachel Bowden, TU Dresden (Technishce Universität Dresden)

“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.

“Vast realms of knowledge, thank you – appreciate all the questions you directed back to the group…rather than spoon-feeding the answers.” – Surya Campbell, Your Own Place.


All our consultants are experienced in using Theory of Change, and in delivering training, but these workshops are usually lead by one of the following, sometimes with support from another member of the team:

Elizabeth Cox, Director, NEF Consulting

NB July 2022: Elizabeth is currently on extended leave.

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 Theory of Change workshops and leads delivery of Theory of Change training.

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.

For more information sign up to updates here

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.

Find out more

Sign up for updates

Join our mailing list

by @nefconsulting