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.
Section 2 contains information relevant to running the business side of the VOPE, and institutionalizing it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Weibo), 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; Delicious).
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.
VOPEs may need to register as a non-profit corporation/organization with the relevant revenue services or state authorities. A non-profit organization does not usually pay income taxes on profits, though there may be certain exceptions.
A good financial policy should be easy to understand, flexible, developed by involving employees and other stakeholders as well as easy to implement and administer. It is imperative for a VOPE to practise sound financial management in the most efficient way possible since VOPEs generally do not have the personnel to maintain and work with complicated financial systems.
A budget is simply an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time. This financial document is used to project future income and expenses and provides an estimate of whether the VOPE can continue to operate with its projected income and expenses.
Many VOPEs choose to manage some of the finance management tasks internally, but outsource accounting and auditing services to specialists. The management of the accounting and audit service providers will be more effective if you have your VOPE's expectations defined and communicated before engaging with specific service providers. This can be achieved by documenting the roles, responsibilities and structure of the Financial and Audit committees. Include this in the VOPE’s financial policies and procedures
"The financial statements(orfinancial report) are a formal record of the financial activities of a business, person, or other entity. The financial policy and procedure manual of your organization will specify when and how the financial report is published and presented to stakeholders. Relevant financial information is presented in a structured manner and in a form easy to understand.
The VOPE should provide secure and user-friendly options for members to pay their membership fees, and for special events and services such as conferences. Payments could be taken in cash, by bank deposit, via electronic funds transfers, via credit or debit card, or via electronic payment sites such as PayPal.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 concrete mechanisms that aim to build capacity and continually enhance or maintain the capacity of individuals, and where relevant, institutions, and supporting systems.
A clear strategy that addresses the reasons identified above and identifies the most relevant set of mechanisms adapted to a given context; this most likely includes a holistic strategy that aims to strengthen individuals, institutions, and systems toward these aims.
All four discussions require engagement with key stakeholder groups, and perhaps those who are somewhat hidden. Once identified, an organized reflective process should be present on Steps 1-4. The process be likely iterative. VOPE's should deliberately provide oppertunities for engagement on the strategy. It is of utmost importance to involve multiple stakeholders multiple times, in multiple ways.