Measuring What Matters: DO MORE FOUNDATION’S Updated Theory of Change
09 Nov 2023
When it comes to development organisations, one will always get the question, “What is your Theory of Change?” We at the DO MORE FOUNDATION took the bold decision in 2023 to revise ours to align with our new strategy and growth after six years! Read our five-year journey here:
A Theory of Change (ToC) stands as a guiding document, outlining the strategic pathways that lead to transformative outcomes and motivation behind the ‘Why’ of any organisation. At its core, a ToC provides a high-level, strategic overview of a program, mapping out the causal relationships between interventions and intended outcomes within the target population. It should not be seen as a static document; rather, it evolves in response to real-world results and changing contexts, ensuring continuous learning, reflection, and adaptation. It is for this reason that DO MORE revised its ToC to reflect the dynamic and interrelated nature of its work.
We partnered with Jessica Horler, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Specialist and Consultant, to map the data within the Foundation, and support the revision of the ToC alongside our National Programme Lead, Dr Jessica Ronaasen.
“The need to revise the existing ToC became evident as we began to grapple with Do More’s envisioned MEL framework. Working in the development sector requires organisations to be constantly evolving and adapting to a changing world. So, our vision for change, and its measurement, needs to evolve too.” – Jessica Horler, Early Childhood Development (ECD)MEL Specialist and Consultant
The Living Document: Adapting to Reality
A ToC is not just a theoretical construct; it is a working document that supports and guides the work done by organisations. If unexpected changes, outcomes, or relationships emerge in our social reality, the ToC should be updated to reflect this reality. As programmes progress, the ToC must evolve in tandem, capturing any changes at the programme level, as well as the broader impact level.
Do More Foundation’s Mission Revised: Adding ‘Through Partnerships’
The ‘How’ behind the work of the DO MORE FOUNDATION encompasses its strategic partnership methodology, which is to catalyse partners towards better tomorrows for young children. This ‘not so secret sauce’ is part of the Foundation’s Collective Impact model and way of working. This has resulted in our revised mission:
CREATING BETTER TOMORROWS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS
This revision needed to be reflected in our ToC as it is a core component of how we realise change in communities.
Scaling for Systemic Impact: Deep, Up, and Out
In addition to our revised mission through partnerships, our ToC needed to reflect DO MORE’s growing shift toward systemic scale. As the Foundation has evolved and learned from our communities, we have adapted our intervention strategies to reach more children and families, as well as realise deeper, more lasting change in communities. Inspired by the transformative scaling work of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, we revised the ToC to reflect the concepts of scaling deep, scaling up, and scaling out. The DO MORE FOUNDATION recently scaled from four communities to 15 communities, showcasing exponential growth and scale potential.
Scaling Deep: This scaling mechanism (and its associated interventions) embodies the Foundation’s deep community and advocacy initiatives in strategic geographic areas. It seeks to catalyse support for young children and families in resilient communities through grassroots mobilisation. We start by understanding local needs and advocating for meaningful change for young children within communities through strategic partnerships. Read more about this work here.
Scaling Up: This represents the Foundation’s commitment to optimizing proven interventions, ensuring that their benefits reach far and wide through policy change, communication efforts, and reform. We work closely with government to ensure we target change at the upper levels of the ECD ecosystem, in addition to the work done on the ground. Read more about our Real Reform for ECD work contributions here.
Scaling Out: Encompasses the Foundation’s national-level resourcing efforts. It reflects the importance of extending and replicating resources and support across broader geographic areas, meeting pressing resource needs and fostering widespread positive change through partnership networks across South Africa. Read more about our resourcing efforts here.