Obstacle 6 – lack of a theory of change

Have you seen this one? So much effort goes into producing the research report and maybe getting some media coverage, and then you just collapse exhausted with little idea of how all this action happens so that something else happens.

But without your theory of change at least sketched out, there is a good chance that your report will just be filed and all momentum lost. The answer is I think simple – write out your theory of change using the simple ‘so that’ formula. I am going to do something so that something else happens. And then review what should be no more than a couple of sides of paper on a regular basis. Simple but it does makes you think about momentum, which is so vital on an effective campaign. Any campaign needs a road map for the journey ahead and the theory of change offers you just that.

I do think when approval is being sought for an advocacy campaign, in addition to a clear message; I would also look for a compelling theory of change rooted in a robust analysis of the external political environment.

I have lost count of the times in the past that I have attended campaign launches in Parliament: glossy report, maybe a video, good political speeches, wine and canapés so that …… I remain to be convinced that change happens because of a good launch; it will be down to a good launch that then leads to a chain of events driven by your theory of change.

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