VOPE Toolkit

This toolkit is organized into five sections

Section 1 contains information relevant to VOPEs in the process of founding and formalizing themselves. It also touches on important governance issues relevant to emergent and developed VOPEs.

  • 1.1 Founding a VOPE
  • 1.2 Deciding on formalization
  • 1.3 Defining a Vision and Mission
  • 1.4 Writing Constitutions, Founding Documents and Bylaws
  • 1.5 Registering as a legal entity
  • 1.6 Establishing a membership policy and membership register
  • 1.7 Hosting Annual General Meetings

Section 2 contains information relevant to running the business side of the VOPE, and institutionalizing it.

  • 2.1 Compiling Annual Reports
  • 2.2 Administering Email Communication Efficiently
  • 2.3 Developing a Website for the VOPE
  • 2.4 Developing a Social Media presence
  • 2.5 Managing Human Resources
  • 2.6 Administering Membership Efficiently
  • 2.7 Administering Voting
  • 2.8 Managing Finances

Section 3 contains information about the activities that VOPEs typically carry out – These are activities that make VOPEs uniquely different from other organizations, and centres around the value added by VOPEs.

  • 3.1 Hosting Conferences, Workshops and Other Events
  • 3.2 Making Online Evaluation Capacity Building Resources Available
  • 3.3 Doing Advocacy
  • 3.4 Publications and Newsletters
  • 3.5 Developing Guidelines and Standards
  • 3.6 Bestowing Evaluation Awards
  • 3.7 Connecting Regionally and Internationally
  • 3.8 Making Statements on Issues of Importance in Evaluation

Section 4 contains resources relating to the work of each of the EvalPartners networks. This may enable the VOPEs to draw on, expand and replicate the work of the global EvalPartners networks at local level.

  • 4.1 EvalSDGs
  • 4.2 EvalGender+
  • 4.3 EvalIndigenous
  • 4.4 EvalYouth
  • 4.5 Global Parliamentarians Forum

This Professionalization of Evaluators section of the Toolkit offers resources to VOPEs to foster a discussion on professionalizing evaluators that enables the selection of a country-appropriate path.

  • 5.1 .Definition
  • 5.2 Reason(s)
  • 5.3 Mechanisms
  • 5.4 Strategy
  • 5.5 Engagement and reflection

This section will help you think through some of the initial steps that you need to take if you want to found a VOPE. You will find some valuable advice and examples under the resources listed at the end of this section.

According to Kriel (2006), most VOPEs start as informal networks and only embark on a process of formalization once it becomes necessary. Rushing into premature formalization can cause the valuable resources of a VOPE to be caught up in bureaucratic systems and processes while neglecting the essential networking functions and services of a VOPE.

When a group of evaluators decide to start a VOPE, it is natural to think about both form and function. The form of a VOPE should be decided on once the goals of the VOPE have been determined, in other words when the function of the VOPE has been defined. This means that, before a VOPE becomes too concerned about who will be the president and who will be allowed as members, its champions need to identify opportunities and priority areas for making an impact. This process defines the vision, mission and key objectives.

As part of the founding process your organization may want to lay down some basic rules of operation. This is a good idea irrespective of whether you choose to become a separate legal entity by incorporating your VOPE or not. The most basic rules of operation are usually captured in a constitution, or founding document or bylaws. If your organization intends to register as a legal entity, the constitution, founding document or bylaws usually become the legal basis of operation, so it might be necessary to check that your founding document is consistent with the legislation in your context/country.

Once you have decided to formalize your organization, you may need to register it as a separate legal entity. Depending on the country or state or province in which you choose to register your VOPE, there might be different organization types from which to choose; each organization type is usually associated with specific legal, accounting and taxation requirements. What should be considered are structures that allow the greatest flexibility while also allowing sufficient legal status to operate a separate bank account and put potential donors’ and members’ minds at ease about the governance of the resources?

The members of your VOPE are the heartbeat of your organization and, as such, your VOPE should strive to communicate and engage members on an ongoing basis. To this end a Membership Register and Policy should be developed and maintained. Once the membership policy is established, the actual running of a membership administration system can be planned and implemented.

Requirements for an AGM may be spelled out in your VOPE’s constitution or other (legal) documents. This usually determines the agenda, frequency of meetings, the notice period for meetings, the minimum number of people required to constitute a quorum at an AGM, the records (such as minutes and attendance registers) that must be kept, and voting processes.

Section 2 contains information relevant to running the business side of a VOPE, and institutionalizing it. 

Click the topic header to access additional information and a rich set of resources.

The topics covered in this section include:

An annual report is a comprehensive report of an organization’s activities throughout the preceding year. Annual reports are intended to give stakeholders and other interested people information about the organization's activities and financial performance. It may also serve to share the plans and focus areas for the next year, or update the vision as it was captured in the organization’s plans.

Setting up a listserv (mailing list) is one of the easiest and most cost effective (read free) start-up requirements of a VOPE. Mailing lists are popular because VOPE members access and pass on information via their email, a medium that most people are comfortable with. The drawback with a typical listserv is that you are not always able to search for information as easily (it comes down to searching through a ton of email).

In many instances, a VOPE’s website is its flagship product. It is usually a good idea to start off with a page that meets your basic needs and then add additional modules to the site as your VOPE matures and gains additional resources

Social media is a great, cost-effective way of disseminating your content and creating increased visibility for your VOPE. There are several types of social media to choose from, including blogs (e.g. WordPress), microblogging (e.g. Twitter), social networks (most notably Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn), media/photo sharing (e.g. Youtube, Flickr, Pinterest; Instagram), social news (e.g. Reddit, Digg and Leakernet), mobile applications (e.g. WhatsApp), wikis (Wikipedia, Wikia), document repositories (e.g. Scribd, Doocu), online magazines (e.g. Paper.li, Issuu, Flipboard, Rebelmouse) and bookmarking sites (e.g. StumbleUpon).

A VOPE is usually governed by a volunteer Board or Governing Body as set out in the constitution of a VOPE. This Board may have multiple roles.

Many existing VOPEs make allowances for more than one type of member and differentiate the membership fees (if applicable) and benefits according to the membership type.

This section shares some ideas about how a VOPE could run its process for the nominating, voting and appointing of Board members, with some suggestions regarding software that could be used, as well as some examples of how VOPEs have done this previously.

Managing the finances of a VOPE in a transparent and responsible manner is imperative.

Once your VOPE receives membership fees, it is vital to allocate the payment to the correct member account and ensure the member is flagged as an active member and gains access to all of the member benefits. The payment transaction details, such as payment date and amount should be stored on your database to ensure a membership renewal notice is created when the membership of this particular member expires.

The procurement process involves managing a variety of activities, including ordering, receipt, review, approval of items from suppliers, endorsing supplier payments and managing suppliers against their contracts. Although supplier relationships might be less important for a VOPE, procurement procedures should specify how you manage these relationships, to ensure a high level of service is received. It is advisable to start off with developing and streamlining the procedures and policies relating to purchases in the VOPE’s Financial Management policies and procedures document.

Section 3 contains information about the activities that VOPEs typically carry out – These are activities that make VOPEs uniquely different from other organizations, and centres around the value added by VOPEs. Click the topic header to access additional information and a rich set of resources.

The topics covered in this section include:

It is quite common for VOPEs to have a capacity building or advocacy focus in their mission, which would require that they occasionally host evaluation events such as conferences, workshops and seminars. The advent of online webinar facilities, have made it possible to host some of the capacity building events in an online space, but a good old fashioned face-to-face get together is often extremely valuable for building the credibility of your VOPE. Conferences, workshops and seminars are often also a useful way for an association to build their financial resources – evaluation professionals often do not mind paying for professional development opportunities of high quality.

One strategy for evaluation capacity building that some VOPEs pursue is making information resources about evaluation available to their membership. Owing to the distributed nature of a VOPE’s membership, it is usually done through compiling an online repository of evaluation material.

This section introduces the EvalPartners Advocacy toolkit that VOPEs could use to create support for evaluation in their context.

A VOPE can communicate with members, share knowledge and increase the credibility of the VOPE using publications and a newsletter. Particular examples of VOPE newsletters and journals are described in more detail.

This section suggests a process for developing Evaluation guidelines and standards, and links to a variety of examples created by other VOPEs.

Evaluation associations can influence their members to conduct good quality work by recognizing good work through awards. Awards may be awarded to individuals; teams; promising students; emerging evaluators; seasoned evaluators, or to recognize a good evaluation publication. In fact, a VOPE may choose to implement an award to promote any aspect of its vision and mission.

Even if a VOPE operates in only one country or sub-region of a country, it is still important that it connects regionally and internationally with other VOPEs because this provides opportunities for shared learning, mobilization of resources and more effective use of resources. The International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) publishes information on international, national and regional VOPEs which could help a VOPE to find other evaluation associations in its area.

VOPEs should look for opportunities to contribute to the public debate about issues affecting evaluation, through making statements on issues of importance. Some examples are provided in the resource section.

This section contains information on the different EvalPartners Networks.

EvalSDGs is a network of interested and skilled decision-makers, institutions and practitioners who advocate for the evaluability of new SDG performance indicators and support processes for integrating evaluation into national review systems and global.

EvalGender+ is a global partnership to promote the demand, supply and use of Equity Focused and Gender Responsive Evaluations.

A global network to promote engagement, innovation, and exchange among young and emerging evaluators and youth and young people.

EvalIndigenous is a multi-stakeholder partnership which, through the recognition of the different world views and valuing the strengths of Indigenous evaluation practices will advance the contribution of Indigenous evaluation to global evaluation practice.

The goal of the Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation is to advance the enabling environment for nationally owned, transparent, systematic and standard evaluation processes in line with the principles of “No one left behind” and National Evaluation Policies with equity-focused and gender responsive lens at the country level that are aimed at contributing to good governance and sustainable development.

Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation (VOPE) can initiate engaging parliamentarians through formal and informal advocacy and awareness on evaluation and its value to MP. Bring likeminded parliamentarians who are interested together forming a group or a forum. Taking a twin approach work with this group on one end to promote a National Evaluation Policy (NEP) which is institutionalize the concept of evaluation in a country. The other is to train and pilot the use of evaluation in development projects at the electoral level. This hands-on approach will help the MPs to better understand the value of evaluation to them and to their constituency.  See the following simple framework to engage parliaments in development evaluation.

Building Awareness and Capacity of Parliamentarians on Evaluation

  •  Conduct  awareness and training  programs for these selected parliamentarians
  •  Develop an informal  forum in parliament to discuss and apply the concepts of evaluation
  •  Provision of technical input to this forum or group in the application of evaluation          

Examples of policies, plans and frameworks.

This Professionalization of Evaluation section of the VOPE Toolkit offers resources to VOPE's to foster a discussion on professionalizing evaluation that enables the selection of a country-appropriate path.

The first ingredient of your VOPE’s journey toward professionalization is the establishment of a clear definition of what it is and what it means for your VOPE.

Why promote the professionalization of evaluation? Reasons can be found at four interrelated levels.

This section considers the concrete mechanisms that aim to build capacity and continually enhance or maintain the capacity of individuals, institutions, and ecosystems.

The previous sections address the “what” (definition), “why” (reasons), and “how” (mechanisms) of the professionalization journey. It is time to think about the road or set of roads that is likely to bring the national evaluation professionalization picture from the current to the sought (even ideal) state.

It is well established that change initiatives that do not involve the people concerned do not last. Initiatives should focus on the needs and rights of the community; this will ultimately establish people’s ownership of the initiative and such ownership will bring sustainability to the change. The role of the change agent (for example, the VOPE) will be as a facilitator during the implementation of the initiative.

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