“Public engagement activities often include events or one-time workshops with Canadians. How can we evaluate the impacts of these smaller engagements and ensure that they are contributing to our vision? Placing these activities in the context of an explicit and thoughtful theory of change illuminates their role in the profound social change that we are working towards. It can be very empowering to see all of your organization’s activities connected in this way.”
-Communications Specialist for a large NGO
Has your organization talked about:
- Where you are in terms of public engagement?
- Where you are going?
- How you will get there?
Because of the breadth of public engagement activities in which organizations are engaged, articulating your desired outcomes and the actions required to achieve them is crucial to evaluating the success of your activities. A “theory of change” can be a very useful tool for clarifying these processes.
Developing a theory of change takes time. You can dedicate time and resources to it over a specific, defined time period and then revisit it periodically, or you can develop it in an evolving, ongoing process. Rest assured, however, that there are always ways to discuss theories of change and to do good evaluation, even with limited resources. The key is to be clear about what you want to achieve, and set realistic, measurable objectives that are meaningful to the change you are aiming for.