How to create a Theory of Change

This article gives you detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create a Theory of Change in the Impact Strategy module.

By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to build an Impact Strategy for your project or impact area using the framework of the Theory of Change. 

1. When you first log in on Impact Cloud, you will be navigated to the home screen:

2. To get started with building an impact strategy, click on Impact Strategy for Impact Maker. You will be navigated to the following screen:

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3. There are two options to create your Theory of Change:

4. To start from a template, type a keyword on the search box to find all the relevant results, for example, "Scholarship." 

The textbox should now auto-suggest the Impact Strategy templates that are related to your keyword.

5. Click on the desired template and see the quick preview on the right side of the screen. If you want to use the template, click on the button Choose this Strategy

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6. A screen will pop-up for you to type your ToCs name. Click on SAVE.

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7. If everything went well, you should see the TOC on the left bar (as shown in the screenshot below)

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Congratulations !! You have created your TOC on Impact cloud from a template. Of course, you can modify it for your specific programs and projects, but at least now you don't have to start from scratch ;)

8. If you prefer to create your TOC from scratch, click on the text Create your own. A pop-up window will open for you to enter the name of your Theory of Change under TOC Name. 

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We suggest keeping the name close to the purpose, for example, if you are building a strategy for investments that focus on education, you could set the name "Education_SDG4". 

- You can additionally enter a description.

- The Mark as Public flag, enables your strategy to be used by fellow impact creators outside your organization, who are also using Impact Cloud. 

9. Click on the SAVE button.

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10. You will be navigated to the below screen, with the name of your new ToC appearing on the left bar on the screen:

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11. By default, all the indicators that you create in your new Theory of Change are configured to collect data on an annual basis, this can be changed by clicking on the "Plus icon" next to SHOW INDICATORS.


12. Click on show indicators plus icon bring up the following pop-up. Make the appropriate frequency selection (multiple may be selected) and click on Save.

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13.  Before creating metrics or indicators in each step of the Theory of Change, make sure you have selected the appropriate frequency (it will be highlighted on the top).

14. If you want to limit the visibility of your Theory of Change within your organization, you can use the lock icon. This might be relevant whenever there are multiple teams working on different projects within the platform and there is no need for the teams to see each other's TOC. This keeps the Impact Strategy module cleaner and prevents users from deleting other people's TOCs by accident. 

15. When you click on the lock, you will see three options:

Make public within [Organization Name] - to make it visible for everyone in your organization

Private only to me - to make it visible only to the creator of the TOC

Accessible by specific people - to make it visible to a selected list of users within your organization. 

In this last option, you just have to check the boxes of the appropriate users and SAVE

16. After defining if you will share your TOC or not, click on the button TOC Wizard (upper right side of the screen) and then click on Start Wizard when presented with the below pop-up:
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17. You will be navigated to the below screen. The Impact Statement helps you to come up with your long-term vision for the project.

NOTE: The impact statement is optional but we strongly encourage our users to think about it.

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18. After entering your impact statement, you can click on Next and move to the Impact step.

In each of the steps, you will be able to do two things

  • Set up your statements or goals
  • Create indicators or metrics that measure the goals you have setup

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Clicking on Add More will allow you to add more statements to each of the TOC steps.

19. Click on Next to go to the Med-Term Outcomes column, Short-Term Outcomes, and so on. 

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20. Finally, when all the statements for all the TOC steps are added, the below screen will appear:

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21. Click on View to view the TOC that you have created. The screen appears as shown below :

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Congratulations !!! You have created a new Theory of Change from scratch. 

Please, review our article on how to add metrics to your Theory of Change next.