Evolution of our Theory of Change

So, a lot of the non-profit world enjoys these diagram-y things called “theory of change” and “logic models”, which to me are high level strategy...but with a diagram that “makes it easier to visualize”.  I usually find the diagrams just make things more confusing, but we at Cx decided to give it a try.

Because I felt our theory of change and logic model are so similar, I created a combination and smushed them into one diagram. Why not? It's ours to mess around with, right? But if you're interested in learning about them both and their differences, this resource is good.

The process has been years in the making, since I've been at Cx it started with Jay’s work:

cx theory of change 2016 jay.png

And then grew to include a larger, wordier document that we sent out to stakeholders for their feedback. Thanks Myia especially for your comments!

Then we had some stakeholder engagement (thanks Amy!) a board retreat or two (thanks Jane!) where we honed in and clarified some other parts of theory of change, logic model, and our overall medium term strategy. Lego and cats and whiteboards were involved.

Mild disapproval from board kitty

Mild disapproval from board kitty

Insight into our inner workings from lego

Insight into our inner workings from lego

Full report from that day  here

Full report from that day here

Finally, when it came time to make it a hybrid, I spent a bit of time playing on some scrap paper and it ended up a bit like this:

Always with the circles...

Always with the circles...

Former board chair Vicky has a go

Former board chair Vicky has a go

And from the kind feedback of Krista and Mariah, they said it could probably just remain as little stick figures and sun diagram I sketched, instead of hiring a graphic designer. But we’d had some requests for something more finessed.  

TOC with sun rays.png

Our friend Sam came up with some versions we enjoyed

sam toc 1.png
sam toc 2.png
sam toc 4.png

Although in the end we had a quick talk with Bianca, who mocked one up that works nicely:

cx theory of change 2018 5 may.png

To see the full writeup of our current (the above) head to our About page.

And this doesn't even include the many versions in years before I came onboard at Cx! In some ways it feels silly to spend so much time on something so simple, but I've learned the simpler things are, the longer they take. I've also learned it's never really done, we keep adding, subtracting, tweaking and changing. Just like all the work we do :) 

What do you think?  Are theories of change / logic models or relevant for you?