Developing a Theory of Change with You Press
Renaisi brought together staff members and young people from You Press to develop an organisational theory of change.
A theory of change is a diagram that shows how a project, a programme or an organisation create (or aim to create) positive social change.
You Press is a social enterprise that uses creative arts to empower young people to find their voice and be heard. Renaisi brought staff members and young participants on You Press’s programes together to discuss what You Press do, how they do it and most importantly why.
The workshop helped everyone realise how much You Press did. For young people, participating in the creation of You Press’ theory of change was an opportunity to be heard and shape the You Press story. They could share their views about the organisation, what it does and should do. It was also an opportunity to collaborate with You Press staff, and practice some of the public speaking skills they had been learning at You Press.
Watch a video about the workshop
Through an iterative process, Renaisi structured everyone’s ideas into the visual diagram below. We had some back and forth around the language, and whether to include certain elements or not.
The final version of the theory of change helps clarify, in one page, what You Press is all about.
The theory of change will be used to create an evaluation framework for You Press to measure and continue to improve their impact.
The benefits of a theory of change
Theories of change can be useful to all sorts of people. We commonly create them with charities, trusts & foundations, local government teams, and local community members.
The benefits of creating a Theory of Change are:
- The process can bring people together and encourage agreement on how change happens.
- They help to set out a clear vision for change and map out the steps to get there.
- They can help you think about your wider purpose and ask important questions that help prioritise activities.
- They are great tools to communicate clearly and visually about your project, programme or organisation to the public, funders, potential participants or partner organisations.
- They are essential for evaluation. Evaluators use theories of change to know what outcomes to measure, what mechanisms of change to test, or what activities to monitor. They are a key starting point to developing evaluation frameworks, and deciding what data you will need to collect, from who and when.
Do you need a theory of change?
If you’re looking for a succinct way to describe the change you aim to make, that unites colleagues, and helps you focus on priorities, you can find out more about our theory of change process here.