As you may know, our previous strategic plan “sunsetted” in July of 2018. Setting organizational goals and objectives was pivotal in creating work plans and evaluating the quantitative elements of our services. Nevertheless, we encountered a greater need along the way: the need to flesh out our organization’s DNA, creating connective tissue between our objectives and the social change we work toward every day. Having surfaced this need, we understood that developing a new strategic plan would not be enough given our current circumstances and we entered into a six month long theory of change process.
A theory of change (TOC) serves as a conduit between an organization and the larger community, communicating long term vision, serving as an organization’s North Star for years to come. It can be utilized as a litmus test of sorts as an organization considers new programming, in key decisions or when grappling with potential organizational growth, for example. It goes deeper than a strategic plan by offering organizational context along with setting goals and programmatic milestones. Having defined key messaging in values in the years past, we saw the creation of a theory of change as the perfect culmination of these efforts.
The Leadership Team, on average, met twice a month, and established our assumptions, hypotheses, and goals. Along the way, we found the need to revise our mission statement to better reflect our ultimate impact. Our work was bolstered by the expertise and facilitation of our beloved ‘free radical’, Sharon Turner. Her guidance toward the end of our process helped us solidify consensus on the content.
We hope this theory of change resonates with you; it is what we think needs to happen in the domestic violence field in this moment, and what we want to build together, moving forward.