Theory of Change is essentially a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. It is focused in particular on mapping out or “filling in” what has been described as the “missing middle” between what a program or change initiative does (its activities or interventions) and how these lead to desired goals being achieved. This website includes everything you need to know in order to understand and create a Theory of Change.
The Innovation Network's Logic Model Workbook is a do-it-yourself guide to the concepts and use of a logic model. A logic model is a commonly-used tool to clarify and depict a program within an organization. You may have heard it described as a logical framework, theory of change, or program matrix—but the purpose is usually the same: to graphically depict your program, initiative, project or even the sum total of all of your organization’s work. It also serves as a foundation for program planning and evaluation. It describes the steps necessary for you to create logic models for your own programs. This process may take anywhere from an hour to several hours or even days, depending on the complexity of the program.
The Urban Institute and its project partner, The Center for What Works, collaborated to identify a set of common outcomes and outcome indicators or “common framework” in the measurement of performance for nonprofits. The report, Building a Common Outcome Framework to Measure Nonprofit Performance identified a more standardized approach for nonprofits and organizations that choose to fund their efforts. The authors hope that this how-to guidance can help nonprofit organizations reduce their time and cost of implementing an outcome measurement process and improve its quality. With improved and more consistent reporting from grantees, funders, too, would be better able to assess and compare the results of their grants. This has been prepared so that the current results can be used as a resource for nonprofit organizations and their funders.
Performance Measurement and Management helps governments and nonprofit organizations track and improve their effectiveness and efficiency. Performance measurement is the process of regularly tracking progress on a series of program indicators. Performance management is the practice of using that data to inform decisions and make improvements. The Urban Institute has been a leader in performance measurement and management for four decades. Early on, we pioneered performance management techniques that government agencies still use to evaluate and improve public services, from garbage collection to human services to economic development. Our research also helps public agencies and private nonprofit organizations identify what questions to ask, what data to collect, and how to use that data to manage and improve their work.