In case you want to set up your own 4 Returns landscape project, it is wise to sit down with your team and develop a shared and long-term pathway of change for your landscape. This is also known as a theory of change.

A Theory of Change is essentially a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why the desired change is expected to happen within 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 working 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.

This template helps you with the set-up of the Theory of Change for your 4 Returns landscape project. You can simply start at the start sign and work through the questions one by one. Filling in each of the boxes also helps to reflect on the key assumptions that underpin these steps in your work. This may help you to spot potential risks or connections between the different parts of the initiative.

The template was inspired by the DIY toolkit TOC template.

This tool is part of the 4 Returns impact framework. You can find the 4 Returns ‘impact in practice’ guidebook and related tools here.

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