A theory of change is a powerful tool that helps an organization articulate the connection between its mission and its programs, using the language of outcomes. It’s an organization’s story of how and why the world will be different because of what it does. A theory of change is an argument for why you exist and why you are effective. Because of this, a theory of change has important implications for the leadership of an organization – both staff and board.
In this half-day workshop, we explore what a theory of change is, how an organization can use a theory of change, and the implications of a theory of change for staff and board leadership. The workshop is a combination of presentation, discussion, and hands-on practice.Throughout the workshop, participants will practice creating a theory of change together and leave with free resources for creating a theory of change with their organization.
Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence
This event will address the following best practices:
- EVAL 1: Nonprofits should have a defined, ongoing, systematic and sustainable process for improving their services, programs and internal processes, using methods appropriate to the size of the organization.
- TRANS 3: A nonprofit has a responsibility to establish clear performance measurements, compare results with other organizations when possible and share these results and methodology with its constituents.
- LEAD 3: Nonprofit leaders should actively seek to understand underlying causes of mission-related issues and use this awareness to focus organization activities.
- PLAN 9: Nonprofit organizations should be responsive to community needs and actively engage and gather input from a variety of sources, such as the board, staff and community members, and other constituents.
- PLAN 10: Nonprofits should confer with their counterparts to determine the need for services, the best practices in delivering them and the effective use of community resources.
Refreshments: Coffee, tea and a light snack will be provided.
Travel: Driving directions and transit options are available on MCN's website.
About the Presenters
Sarah Cohn is a principal consultant at Aurora Consulting. She helps her clients discern their audience’s needs; think about their roles and opportunities as departments, organizations and within broader networks; and build their internal capacity to measure the impact of their organizations and programs. In her experience, complex collaborations with diverse partners succeed when they build in time for listening and honest reflection. She sees her clients as the content experts and herself as the facilitator of nuanced conversations.
Al Onkka is principal consultant at Aurora Consulting. Al is experienced in promoting data-based decision making and organizational learning having worked in the field of evaluation since 2009. Al uses, and builds the capacity of others to use, an evaluative lens to help organizations develop, understand, and improve at the programmatic and organizational level. Al has a master’s degree in evaluation studies from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development and is a member of the Minnesota Evaluation Association’s board of directors.