Creating your own Theory of Change

Create your own Theory of Change using this easy to follow template that includes step by step instructions to help you.
Healthwatch volunteers at an event looking at a clipboard

What is the Theory of Change?

There are many tools for understanding how organisations make a difference. One widely used by the non-profit sector is called ‘Theory of Change’. 

Your Theory of Change for an individual project or area of work describes a sequence of events or outcomes that you expect to lead to your desired long-term outcomes.

Producing a Theory of Change before starting a new piece of work can help you consider how likely you are to achieve positive changes. It can help you identify anything you might do differently to maximise the likelihood of success and make the best use of your resources. 

Usually, a Theory of Change is produced at a very early stage of planning a piece of work; before the more detailed project plan. 

We regularly provide workshops about using a Theory of Change approach. We can consider providing an online session for your team. Contact for more information. 

Template to create your own 

Based on a model provided by Healthwatch Islington, we’ve developed a template that you can use to produce your own Theory of Change in an easy format. 

It’s best used after you have attended a workshop. However, the template now includes instructions to remind you about each of the stages. It can help you to understand the process even if you haven't yet been to a workshop. 

The template uses Microsoft Excel. To view and use it properly, you will need to open it using a desktop version of Excel rather than an online or Office 365 version. 

After you’ve opened the document, go first to the tab that says ‘Overall Summary – read first.’ 


Please note we have produced a printer friendly version of the instructions for anyone who wishes to print these to refer to whilst completing the Excel sheet. All information is in the Excel sheet, and anyone using a screen reader should use the Excel sheet, not the PDF. 

Theory of change spreadsheet
Printer friendly instructions