These questions pertain to GrantCraft's guide, Mapping Change: Using a Theory of Change to Guide Planning and Evaluation. Read the guide independently. Then, together with your executive and program teams, dive into the following questions:
To get some practice working with grantees on their theories of change, think of one organization your foundation is funding. Refer to the "Picture This" section on page 8 of the guide as you consider the following questions.
2. Target Groups:
5. Now identify answers to the above questions that involve assumptions that must be taken into account. What assumptions is the organization making about the problem or issue they are addressing, its underlying causes, the level they are working on to address it, and its solutions?
Focus on Your Foundation
6. Is creating a theory of change something you already engage in inside your foundation?
7. Is creating a theory of change something you already ask of your grantees? How does or could this relate to your grant application or proposal development process?
Zoom Out: Strategic Direction
8. How does or would developing a theory of change help your foundation assess its impact?
9. How does developing a theory of change impact your foundation’s transparency?
Dive In: Building off of examples
10. Are there situations in which you would have resisted developing or following a theory of change in the past? What barriers to this approach can you identify and in what circumstances does this tool pose challenges?
11. Do you have experience with project-specific theories of change? What were the benefits or disadvantages of these?
12. Consider the example from the guide of using a collaborative process to encourage groups to sharpen their strategies for addressing their problems. Are there organizations that your foundation could bring together to develop and refine theories of change more effectively?
Elsewhere on GrantCraft
13. To help grantmakers weigh the advantages of different approaches, GrantCraft offers other guides on evaluation including those that focus on participatory action research and collaborative inquiry. Do you have a specific evaluation technique that has worked well for you? Submit your wisdom on your GrantCraft dashboard!