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20NTC Session

Impact Cascades: the Adaptive Approach to Evaluation


Impact measurement is stressful. It’s vague.  It’s one more thing to do.  And then there’s the worry: “what if my results aren’t good?”  The fact that evaluation occurs only at the end of a project raises the stakes, minimizes learning, and makes adaptation impossible.

But there’s a better way 🙂.  With the phased approach of an Impact Cascade, evaluation becomes an ongoing process.  Measurement becomes more diagnostic and less evaluative.  Assessing results becomes an opportunity to increase positive change.

In this session, you’ll learn from Mary Joyce, the creator of Impact Cascades, how to:

→ Complete a simple 1-page cascade diagram;

→ Organize impact into a series of outcomes and associated metrics;

→ Collect data throughout the duration of a program so you can adapt and improve.

Don’t let impact measurement deplete you.  Let it empower you and your organization.

Target Audience

Folks who carry out or manage M&E work in their organizations




Mary Joyce


Do Big Good

Mary (she/her) is the Founder of Do Big Good, a Seattle-based impact measurement firm, and has over a decade of global experience at the intersection of research, innovation, and social change. Mary was New Media Operations Manager for President Obama’s groundbreaking 2008 campaign, is the editor of the book Digital Activism Decoded, and received research funding from the National Science Foundation for her work creating activism data sets. She has consulted and collaborated with nonprofits, foundations, and creative firms from North America, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, including the Mozilla Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and Google VR. She received graduate training in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and in Communication at the University of Washington. Mary enjoys biking in the rain (PNW pride!), intentional communities, and contemporary art.





March 25, 2020


1:00pm – 1:30pm



Collaborative Notes

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Session Evaluation

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