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Nonprofit University

Intended Impact: What Is Your Theory of Change?

Can you quickly do the following:

  • Concisely describe the positive impact your organization intends to make in the community?
  • Describe the specific steps you are taking to achieve that goal?

Your answer to the first question is your Intended Impact, and your answer to the latter is your Theory of Change. The ability to clearly articulate these two statements empowers you to make major asks of your donors, measure the outcome of your programs, and see the contribution that your organization is making. It also allows you to focus your board through strategic planning. In short, it moves you from just having a mission to really making a difference.

Among donors and other stakeholders, there’s been increasing expectations that nonprofits provide clear measurements of their outcomes. That makes it doubly important to have a Theory of Change guiding your impact in the community: It’s a powerful tool not just for articulating your value, but for developing performance measures, program delivery, and outcome targets.

This one-day workshop will introduce you to the concept, composition, and practice of Intended Impact and Theory of Change statements. Real-world examples will be presented, showcasing different models for writing Theory of Change and Intended Impact statements.   

Key Concepts:

  • The definition and use of Theory of Change as it relates to nonprofits and their capacity to focus their efforts on Intended Impact.
  • Practical models for creating a Theory of Change using input from others in your organization.
  • How to use the Theory of Change to guide your organization in developing outcome measures and communicating its impact in the community.

What you will learn:

After this class, you will be able to:

  • Explain the value of identifying your intended impact and defining your theory of change to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Identify the steps for creating a Theory of Change.
  • Use tools to replicate the steps for creating a Theory of Change with staff, board and other stakeholders.
  • Apply Theory of Change concepts and tools in developing outcome measures and communicating impact in the community.


Elizabeth Runkle brings a diverse background of generating and implementing innovative and break-through ideas within the social sector, and has worked with low-wealth and marginalized populations for over 12 years. She has advised several nonprofits and small businesses on strategy and business models, with expertise in social enterprise. more


  • Coming soon


9:00 am - 3:00 pm


Georgia Center for Nonprofits
100 Peachtree Street NW
Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30303
Get directions

Registration Details

Member: $150  
Non-Member: $195

Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or 678-916-3081.


Thanks to the generous support of The Wells Fargo Foundation, GCN offers a limited number of partial scholarships for staff and board members of eligible organizations to attend Nonprofit University. Learn more