• Seek out tools to clarify your organization’s belief in how change happens, such as those found in the “How Change Happens” section of this site. These tools allow you to approach change in a strategic and thoughtful way while considering the qualitative and quantitative measures you might use in your monitoring and evaluation efforts. Some examples of commonly used tools include the theory of change, the pyramid of engagement, outcome mapping and the logic model. These tools will help you to find the best means of achieving the changes you seek.
  • Consider your public engagement activities and how you evaluate them as part of an overall development program.
  • Approach your beliefs about change for public engagement in Canada with the same two-way engagement that characterizes work with Southern partners. Public engagement in Canada should have the same reference points as international work, such as values of solidarity, anti-oppressive practice and equity. Ask yourself: How do you conduct and measure public engagement in your work with partners? Do you measure changes in behaviour or attitude? Can you look at your public engagement work in Canada with the same lens?
  • Ask yourself the following questions:
    What level(s) of change are you working with (personal, relational and/or societal)?What are your assumptions related to these desired changes?What would you like the outcomes to be?What is your organization or activity’s role in this outcome?Where do you fit in the big picture?What are all the conditions you need to reach in order to be able to achieve your organization’s vision?What actions do you need your audience to take to achieve your desired outcomes?How will you measure those actions? The progress towards your outcomes?


  • Don’t base your actions solely on assumptions or intuition.
  • Avoid looking at only one part of the process; use a holistic approach and take the time to articulate your whole vision.
  • Don’t keep your theory of change hidden. It can be a powerful tool to inform and engage your target audience and others.
  • Don’t simply apply someone else’s theory of change to your work. While the Theory of Change for Public Engagement provides an excellent entry point, your organization’s activities and initiatives will benefit from their own tailored theory of change. If your organization does not have a theory of change, start the discussion to develop one for your organization. In the meantime, you could refer to the broader Theory of Change for Public Engagement module of this toolkit.

Practitioner’s perspectives:

“In 2012, my organization went through a process of determining how we believe change happens. This process involved gathering input from the majority of our staff over several months. With the help of outside consultants we mapped out the conditions we need to reach, the actions that we encourage specific audiences to take, and our current campaigns and how those all reinforce our vision. The result of the exercise allows us to be clear on our organizational theories of change.”

-Public engagement specialist for a large NGO

“As part of a new public engagement program, we were working with a consultant to help us develop our monitoring and evaluation system. To start the process off, the consultants took us through a Theory of Change workshop. The workshop helped us to clearly articulate who our target audiences are, what changes we are hoping to bring about, and how we think the changes will happen. The session was very useful to help us think these things through and come to a common understanding as a team. We were then able to design a practical, useful monitoring and evaluation system around our theory of change.”

– Communications specialist for a large NGO