Around the Institute

Ripple Effects, Carly Simon, and Quizzes

June 19, 2015  • Institute Contributor

REM: More than sleep and a rock band
Complex. Multi-stakeholder. Collaborative. These are common features of advocacy and social change initiatives. That’s why Scott Chazdon’s AEA365 blog post on REM – or Ripple Effect Mapping – caught our eye.This participatory approach (yes, we still appear to be on a participatory kick) combines Appreciative Inquiry, mind mapping, and other techniques to help map out both intended and unintended effects or “ripples” of complex or collaborative interventions. A potential addition to the developmental evaluation toolkit perhaps?

You’re so vain                                                       
Carly Simon may have been right. We know by now that using vanity metrics can be a big no-no. But a recent study by the Citizen Engagement Laboratory and the Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace sheds some light on why many advocates (and, dare we speculate, evaluators?) continue to use them. The study also offers some practical lessons for making our measures, y’know, less vain. And over at Nonprofit Hub, Steven Shattuck offers his two cents on which social media metrics should matter most to nonprofits.


What kind of evaluator are you?
For anyone who has experienced the delights of Buzzfeed quizzes (whaddya mean you’ve never taken the “Which Muppet Are You” quiz?), we couldn’t resist passing along this “What type of evaluator are you?” test. Developed by Sara Vaca and Joseph Barnes as part of their celebration of EvalYear, the quiz is a “non-scientific multiple-choice test to help evaluators discover if they embrace the paradigm they think they do.” And because we know you’re wondering: we’re Lew Zealand, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and a Snowth.