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The Theory of Everything? No, thankfully, just the Theory of Change.

Curious how real change happens? The kind where third-world countries solve infant mortality issues? It is via a business methodology called the Theory of Change or TOC.

What is TOC

TOC - is an effective methodology for planning and evaluation that is used by philanthropy, Not-for-profits, and NG0s to make social change. The Theory of Change defines long-term goals and then maps backward to identify necessary preconditions. Examples of social change that TOC has been impactful are public health, human rights, and structural racism.

Who currently uses TOC:

  • Oxfam

  • Amnesty International

  • CARE

  • Greenpeace

  • The Hunger Project

  • World Vision

Why TOC matters to Credit Unions

Credit unions are facing incredible change in their environment right now. It is coming from many sides. Economically the financial markets are showing indicators of movement towards a recession. Technology, big data is rushing faster than the recent winter snows and disrupting everything credit unions have held on to - distribution channels, payment methods, processes, and overall knowledge of the end-user to prescribe their next engagement. And the member/consumers - they have been trained by Amazon to expect incredible choice and delivery n 24-48 hours. This current climate is unchartered territory for certain, and doing things as they have always been done is not going to be sufficient for long-term sustainability.

Time to try something new.

Credit unions need to build /strengthen the following capabilities

  1. Data, in the way data, is harnessed, governed, managed, and consumed by both member and staff.

  2. Member focus - specifically problem solving and leveraging data to create innovative solutions.

  3. Process - need to modify the processes that lead to workflow adoption.

  4. Innovation - how to leverage current credit union products/tools/data/process differently to solve members' problems and deepen relationships.

TOC Credit Union Example:​

The Theory of Change provides a framework for making a change because it focuses on the following;

  1. What member problem are you connecting data to solve

  2. Whom are the key audiences need to solve the problem

  3. What is the entry point to reaching these audiences

  4. What steps are needed to solve this problem

  5. What is the measurable effect of the work

  6. What is the long term change your organization can see as your goal?

This framework flow is a credit union example of the TOC framework.

If your credit union did things differently, what kind of difference could it make on its member's lives?

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