Theory of change VS or Inc. LogFrame

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An article by Drazen Zacero


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This text is for experienced grant writers, but also for the beginners with patience to dig information as for them it will help to feel more secure in their practice.

What can you find here, why to read it?

Text will define the theory of change, and then it will compare it with the logical matrix/logic of intervention (as the widespread existing practice), concluding with what is going on there in field of grant writing science and practice, and how to react on this “new” thing in project development and project preparation.


Before you read – here’s the homework

Read following links

What is the Theory of change?  /  More about Theory of change?  /  Debate about Theory of change?  /  Tips about Theory of Change?

If you are enthusiast level 60 pages about Theory of Change, take a look at the review commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and authored by  Isabel Vogel


What is the problem of the ToC and LogFrame for one grant writer?

Well internet says ToC is growing rapidly, but you haven’t seen much of it in requests by the donors in their project forms, you’re still seeing typical logframes. Also at some meetings you’d see senior experts using Logic of intervention scheme for example at the programming of the international operational developmental aid, you’d be confused, going: now what is that, I thought I know everything!

At the end of the day, for now, you do know everything, just different trusts use sometimes same or similar logic and expectations from grant writers, but call it different names, and you’d be like wow, this is something new, I am stupid. Which is not the case actually. Even the ToC is nothing new, some influential stream just raised it like something super new, mind blowing and inventive while it’s just common sense and logic in structuring and articulating your thoughts and ideas.

Probably natural way of thinking before you have been brainwashed with secret, incomprehensible and superior knowledge of grant writing for EU funds for example.

Mind gym – donor philosophy and trainers attitude

To understand the difficulty, we will criticise the bad trainers for the project development in the part when they teach you the goals setting, general and specific objectives, while they probably themselves confuse terms (e.g. mixing the aims, mission of the project, vision, purpose of the project etc.)

Namely, trainers teach you their way like the only true and the best one, and then newbies are having difficulty to notice the difference between:

*the action oriented and result oriented logical matrix

*the aim of the project and general objective. (there is the difference actually)

*Even the relation between the general objective and specific objectives. They are wondering how many general objectives and how many specific ones should be designed, (1 general objective and 3 specific ones, or opposite) why different experts are saying completely opposite things here?

Setting goal hierarchy is the mind gym if you are not confident and smart and you don’t know that it’s just some narcissistic experts who are not recognising that different donors are having the different philosophy of setting the goal hierarchy. And that it changes over the course of the time.

Unfortunately many experts are nerds, without critical thinking and analytical skills.


That’s the reason they teach you in one way, ignoring the whole picture, leaving you with feeling that you are stupid whenever you see something different. It is almost as trainers saying to you “This way that you are doing it, is bad, you should do it like this”.

Some experts are starting their trainings by explaining to participants how much they (experts) are cool and smart and them (participants) are living in the oblivion that they know what they are doing.

So step one for such trainers is to kill the confidence of the participants, to mystify the knowledge and their expertise so that you can charge and avoid criticism. Trainers don’t do that on purpose, some do because they are well bad persons, other do that out of the fear.

They are hiding behind the authority which is false actually. If they would really be experts, they wouldn’t need to be afraid of the participants and they would even think together with participants.

Hand writing Action Changes Things with white chalk on blackboard.

ToC & LogFrame Inc.

So now that we explained this, we can come back to the ToC and the LogFrame. What to do if you are concerned should you present things in this or that way.

I’d suggest you use the both ToC presented graphically and textually:

– In the parts of the project form where you could find it suits, e.g. when the donors ask to explain the relation between the grant scheme objectives and your project (solution, intervention, impact, contribution you are proposing).

– Almost all project documentation allows annexes, so you can make 2 annexes, or one showing the logframe and below, the ToC graphically. Use even infographic visual solution.

Also use typical LogFrame. Simply use both ToC and the LogFrame. Why?

1. Because both ways have pros and cons, if you use both, each of them will annul the demerits and shortages of the other method.

2. In that way you will be well explained, you’ll catch the eye of the possible lazy readers in commission as some of them prefer one way over another in consuming information. For those who doesn’t know about ToC, you will remain the expert because you have LogFrame and ToC will be observed from creativity and expertise perspective as grant writers like to make schemes and graphic methodology overviews in the part of the project form related to the methodology description whereas for those who are familiar with ToC, you will demonstrate that you are up to date and innovative.

3. Two ways of displaying information will help you to notice if there is some inconsistency in narrative.


Thank you note:

In preparation of this text, I’d like to thank  for the leads to Ivan Sekulovic, currently Team manager of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of Serbia.

An article by Drazen Zacero


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Drazen Zacero – PROJECT DEVELOPER – Drazen is a lawyer who appreciates humor and innovation. He is not afraid to try. Passionate about people, traveling, storytelling, social policy, social inclusion, poverty reduction and project development for open society of equal opportunities. Even though skeptical, he still believes in Human Rights.

Contributor and proofreader Slobodan Ocokoljic


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Slobodan Ocokoljic – COORDINATOR OF THE PROBLEM SOLVING PULSAR THINK NET Researcher / Manager / Translator – Constantly on the move and in pursuit of missions impossible to accomplish. Slobodan studied Political Science and Local Economic Development. After 6 years of working both as a researcher and project manager, in 2016 he started working as a freelancer. He lived, studied and worked in Belgrade, Trento and Budapest. Two years ago, he moved with his family from his homeland to Italy. Thus, he is interested in connections and influences between places and people, economic development and human development, environmental protection and human rights, as well as urban/regional development and business innovation. He firmly believes that no other force has stronger gravitational pull than knowledge, that’s why he chose the name Sigma Infty, as a synonym for the infinite thirst for knowledge


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