EQ Foundation

What is Theory of Change?

ToC is a relatively new concept that helps to define how a programme or intervention will achieve the desired result. It involves a careful examination of each step in the process and of the evidence supporting its effectiveness. It can be a useful indicator of how well an organisation has considered the implications of its activities. The absence of one may indicate a lack of rigour in the organisation.

A ToC usually starts by considering:

  • the Outcomes that you are seeking and these should be quite specific,
  • the Outputs that will be needed to achieve this,
  • the Inputs required to make the outputs happen


Let’s assume that the main objective is to improve the life chances of children by ensuring they are better educated. Following a consultation with all of the stakeholders (especially the locals) you would list all of the factors that could contribute to the objective, such as:

  • increasing the number of pupils attending, especially in the final years
  • improving the quality of teaching
  • improving the facilities


That would lead to an action plan of Inputs, which might look like this:

  • build three new classrooms over the next four years,
  • pay for additional teachers commencing in two years,
  • build a dormitory for girls in the second year
  • collect rain water to supply freshwater,
  • Install solar panels and satellite aerial to provide internet access
  • plant trees to provide shade.


From this plan, budgeted costs can be established together with key indicators of progress. In the short run those indicators are likely to be mainly the outputs but as times goes by they will be replaced by outcomes such as final year pupil numbers and exam results.

If you are interested in learning more about Theory of Change there is a considerable amount of useful content at: The Center for Theory of Change and it’s also worth reading Creating your Theory of Change by NPC.

Other Articles
Education News
Take-off for Green Match Fund

The EQ Foundation is proud to be a Pine Champion for the latest Green Match Fund organised by The Big Give. From April 22nd-29th all…

Running out of time to save our planet

Although the latest IPCC report has a few encouraging data points, you can't get away from the overwhelming likelihood that, barring a miracle or an…

What is the Disasters Emergency Committee?

The Disasters Emergency Committee ("DEC") is a registered UK charity that acts as an umbrella fund raising organisation for 15 large charities. It was originally…

EQ Foundation named as Money Marketing Charity Champion of the Year

We were delighted to win this award and the accompanying comments: "The judges were impressed by this submission for Charity Champion of the Year from…

Effective charities achieve 100x more impact

In all walks of life the best run organisations achieve more than those that are just average but the differences are often quite modest. Why?…

So you want to volunteer?

Helping others fulfils a deep need in our souls and usually results in a feeling of connection and self worth. There are tens of thousands…

Tythe creates Climate Action Charity Portfolio

The G7 summit in Cornwall has helped to remind us that averting catastrophic climate change is a massive challenge, requiring concerted efforts by all of…

Pros and Cons of Matched Giving

Double your donation is generally how the message goes. If you give £10 to a certain charity another party will add the same amount. Sounds…

Making charitable bequests in Wills

Many people make bequests to charities in Wills, partly because it can be highly tax efficient but to make best use of these incentives there…

Tythe launches with Environmental charity focus

Tythe is the latest initiative from the EQ Foundation - bringing a curated list of 9 highly effective Environmental charities together in one package and…

What is Effective Altruism?

In this article we explain the basics of Effective Altruism, which seeks to combine the instincts of our hearts to support charitable causes with hard…

Why we rate For Baby’s Sake

The latest addition to our list of Selected Charities is For Baby's Sake. We've been monitoring this charity for some while because it is providing…

The Big Give breaks record (again)

The 2020 Big Give Christmas Appeal was the most successful yet - raising £20.1 million, £4.5 million more than in 2019. In what has been…

Advent of Change keeps on impressing

We first met Kristina Salceanu, founder of Advent of Change, in 2018. We were immediately taken both with the genius of the concept and by…

How to become a Philanthropist

In this Blog we outline a strategy to help people who are new to philanthropy and for those who feel dissatisfied with the impact they…

How We Select Charities

There are thousands of highly effective charities in the UK and so we've tried to make the Giving is Great search engine efficient for finding…

Why we created Giving is Great

In 2018 I became increasingly frustrated that most of the organisations that we were supporting had been referred through contacts. I decided to try and…

Measuring Impact

When profit is not available it becomes difficult to measure effectiveness, so most charities don’t bother; at best they report on their outputs. But that…