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So often an ACE provider sees a need in the community and quickly responds to it. Being agile is something we are good at. The hardest thing is finding enough time to look at the theory of our practice. Theory of Change is one way you can carry out research to inform your practice.

Wikipedia says that:
“Theory of Change (ToC) is a specific type of methodology for planning, participation, and evaluation that is used in the philanthropy, not-for-profit and government sectors to promote social change. Theory of Change defines long-term goals and then maps backward to identify necessary preconditions.”

The US Center for Theory of Change says that:
“Theory of Change is essentially a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. It is focused in particular on mapping out or “filling in” what has been described as the “missing middle” between what a program or change initiative does (its activities or interventions) and how these lead to desired goals being achieved. It does this by first identifying the desired long-term goals and then works back from these to identify all the conditions (outcomes) that must be in place (and how these related to one another causally) for the goals to occur. These are all mapped out in an Outcomes Framework.” They have resources and webinars.

The Learning for Sustainability Website also has a good resources on Theory of Change.