NEF Consulting runs regular open training courses on Creating a Theory of Change as well as in-house and tailored, workshop facilitation and consultancy support, to help organisations implement change. See below for more information on our training but please contact us if you’d like to discuss options.

A Theory of Change (ToC) is a powerful tool that helps organisations and initiatives plan how they will create change, assess their effectiveness and communicate to stakeholders. It is used widely by charities, social enterprises, the public sector and even by mainstream businesses who are recognising its potential.

A ToC is normally depicted as a map, or a journey, linking the activities of a programme, intervention or organisation to the short-term, medium-term and long-term outcomes experienced by stakeholders.  It is a living diagram and narrative that should be updated as the work of the organisation changes.

Using qualitative approaches to gain an intimate understanding of how an intervention impacts on the lives of those affected leads to better quantitative analysis and modelling at later stages of an SROI analysis. Before you can start to value, you need data on outcomes; and before you collect data on outcomes, you need to make sure you are measuring the appropriate outcomes. A strong Theory of Change helps make SROI modelling easier, communicating potential impact considerations such as deadweight and attribution.

We can run the workshop for groups on a date that suits you at our London offices, on-site or online. It can be tailored to suit your needs. Contact us today for details.

Our next open training workshop will be in September 2020. Click here to book.

For more about the Theory of Change process click here


One-day workshop

NEF has developed proven templates to run storyboard exercises in workshops and focus groups in a range of settings, gathering data directly from service users. NEF Consulting has constructed theories of change for a range of programmes. We have found that the best evaluations, including SROIs, are underpinned by strong theories of change developed early in the research process, so would recommend this course to anyone starting a new social impact project.

During the day we explore what a theory of change is, how to construct one and best practice in conducting robust qualitative research.

We limit numbers on the workshop to a maximum of 10 participants but open training workshop groups are generally considerably smaller enabling you to share ideas and ask questions about your organisation’s theory of change.

A couple of comments from participants at the March 2019 workshop:

“Everything was great – I have learned so much…Brilliant facilitator, really clear.”

“Good knowledgeable facilitator, lots of information. Best session was the development of an actual ToC.”


  • The big picture: theory of change and its role in strategic planning and evaluation.
  • Talking in outcomes: theory of change and other impact formats
  • Collecting theory of change data: engaging with stakeholders
  • Using the theory of change framework
  • Next steps: planning, verifying and communicating findings.


By the end of the course you will:

  • Be able to describe a theory of change and when it is appropriate to use it.
  • Understand what an outcome is and describe the similarities and differences between a theory of change and a logic model or impact map.
  • Feel able to design a process and discussion guide for engaging with stakeholders.
  • Feel confident using the component parts of a theory of change and to communicate their strategic value.
  • Find a personal approach to visualising and describing a theory of change.
  • Plan for how you will test and communicate your theory of change.

What some of the participants have highlighted as ‘one big thing they’ll take back’ from the workshop, in their own words:

“Use of ToC for strategic decision making.”
“Confidence in developing theory of change with my own team.”
“How to map out the change we intend to make, create visual representation.”
“The framework! It is holistic and different/more complete than others I have come across.”
“The practical development of ToC. Going through the process really helped.”
“That it’s a messy, iterative process and not to panic.”
“How to take a structured approach to developing ToC.”
“Ensuring engagement of key stakeholders and the importance of co-production and validation.”
“NEF’s take on TOC was really helpful in highlighting that every TOC process and exercise has to be tailored to unique circumstances.”
“I better understand how to map outcomes and the importance of including awareness of potential negative outcomes.”


Anyone looking to bring the strategic lens of theory of change to their planning or evaluation. If you have a project in mind, the course will offer the opportunity to map out your theory and gain feedback.


Tiffany Lam, Consultant, NEF Consulting

Tiffany joined NEF Consulting in 2019. She is an urban sociologist with experience in qualitative research and socio-spatial analysis. Prior to NEF Consulting, she worked on independent consulting projects related to gender, cycling and sustainable cities.

Elizabeth Cox, Director, NEF Consulting

Elizabeth Cox is an experienced economist who has led the New Economics Foundation’s UK and international research on localities and local economies over 13 years, and has now taken up a position with NEF Consulting as Director.

Her work ranges from developing learning-based programmes around sustainability, supporting communities to develop community economic development plans, working with project teams to develop theories of change, to developing impact frameworks for social impact investors and social businesses, and research design.


Forthcoming workshops :
  • 18 June, London. CANCELLED. The next open training date is likely to be September.

Booking formSign up for updates here.

Open training prices*
  • One person:   £295 + VAT
  • Multiple booking: 2 people:  £560 + VAT
  • Multiple booking: 3 people: £815 + VAT

*All courses are subject to U.K. VAT

Fee includes refreshments and lunch as well as training materials.

Click here to book. See our terms and conditions

We can run the workshop for groups on a date that suits you at our London offices or on-site. It can be tailored to suit your needs. Contact us today for details.

For more information sign up to updates here

Training Programme
Strategic overviews for leaders and practical training for teams.

We offer tailored on-site training and briefings on SROI, Theory of Change, measuring social impact, commissioning for outcomes and co-production, Total Contribution, measuring local economic impact, community economic development, the social value of research, and more.

Clients include local authorities, universities, public health services, NDPBs, charities, community groups, membership bodies, and responsible businesses.

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by @nefconsulting