Some people use the terms “theory of change” and “logic model” interchangeably. Others say that it is important to maintain a distinction between the two. What do the two terms mean? And what’s the difference between them?
A grantmaker who worked for several years on a program to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods clarifies the distinction: “Logic models connect programmatic activities to client or consumer outcomes. But a theory of change also specifies how to create the right kinds of partnerships, hold the right forums, do the right kinds of technical assistance, and help people operate more collaboratively and be more results focused.” As one evaluator noted, between the two definitions are many “hybrid approaches that are less simplistic than traditional logic models but not as comprehensive as theories of change.” The right model will depend on many factors, including the complexity of the project, the time line, and the operating style of both grantmaker and grantee.
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This takeaway was derived from Mapping Change.