We founded a new VOPE (Voluntary Organisation for Professional Evaluation) called Evaluation Community of India (ECOI) in India in 2015. The VOPE is open to Evaluators, development practitioners, development scholars, members of development agencies - both government and non-government, members of civil societies, M&E and programme personnel of organisations and people interested in evaluation. Presently, around 60 members are members of this VOPE. However, we feel, 70 is too small a number for a vast country like India. We've been facing the challenge of extending our membership to a larger number of people and organisations. In a recent meeting with core group members, we decided to prioritise this agenda of including more people and strengthen our membership base. We would like to receive your opinions, feedback and experiences on how to increase membership of a young VOPE. Your feedback and opinions would be extremely valuable for us.
Know more about ECOI http://www.ecoionline.com
Our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/evalcoIndia/
I want to congratulate you for having 400 members in your Facebook group.
Am grateful for your inputs. Thank you! Is there any suggestion how can VOPES learn from each other?
first of all, congratulations for the work you are doing. I have little to add, after my colleagues have shared so great comments and ideas.
Many thanks for your response. I like your idea of virtual meetings. This is particularly relevant in a big country like India. We have been trying skype. How do you hold virtual meetings? Greetings!
Thank all for the advice my name is Godfrey and am the Vice President of the Uganda Evaluation Association. Among all the strategies we have tried to attract members those that seem to be working include holding of monthly evaluation talks on topical issues from practicing evaluators, holding regular executive committee meetings (Monthly), sharing opportunities with members. The challenge that seem to be sending away members is the requirement for payment of fees annually totaling to about 60$. Otherwise the most important thing is demonstrate value to the members.
Dear Godfrey, thanks for sharing your experience from Uganda. I congratulate you for organising the Afrea Conference in Kampala.
you are welcome
Dear Rajib (and colleagues)
Very insightful discussion indeed. Much if not all have been said (VOPE toolkit, open and transparent membership, regular face-to-face activities, "equal opportunities" for members to access scholarships and training, etc, ...) but let me throw in 5 additional pieces of advice:
1. Make sure that the voice of the VOPE is heard in IOCE, which is the "home of the VOPEs". This means that you have to be active in the regional VOPEs which constitute the IOCE Board. Use also the opportunities made available for VOPEs through EvalPartners. For example, the latest call for Innovation Challenge projects which is open until the end of July 2017.
2. Build strategic alliances with key partners (such as the SAMEA experience with the Presidency in South Africa). Universities, parliamentarians, NGO coordination platforms are all very important stakeholders
3. Social media is important, but the evaluation profession has an inherent human interaction dimension. Organizing a breakfast with parliamentarians, a discussion session on the evaluation of the MDGs, a 2 hours talk on a new evaluation approach or methodology, a monthly meeting for members need very basic resources and can have a big impact on mobilizing the membership.
4. Try to complement membership fees with one major annual event (such as a National Evaluation Day) which can raise the visibility of the VOPE and add a significant stream to its revenues. You can tap on the EvalPartners Mobility Grants to get an international speaker to such National Evaluation Days
5. Be a business enabler for evaluators in your country. Work on improving both the supply and demand of good quality evaluations (for example lobbying for relying on national expertise rather than "imported" one in the evaluations taking place in your country). Join the Professionalization Initiative of IOCE to guide you on norms, standards, ethics, values etc...
Best of luck in your endeavors
Grateful for your response Ziad as you have vast experience in managing evaluation organisations at various levels. Thanks for sharing all the resources. We are enrolled on IOCE website and recently Jim came to meet us and we again looked at the VOPE self assessment form which was very helpful. We are currently planning EvalFest from 7th-9th Feb 2018. Hope you can come!
EvalFest?? count me in :)
Response from Dorothy Lucks, Australasian Evaluation Society (AES) via email. Thanks Dorothy!
Thank you for the query. Good to see that you are looking to expand membership.
Based on the experience of AES and also EVALSDGs, please find below three main suggestions:
All the best with your efforts.
Executive Director BSc. MBA. PhD.
The 10-Point VOPE Membership Recruitment Strategy
Some of the strategies that can be used for enhancing membership drive for young VOPEs include the following:
I would echo these suggestions! I was previously president of the Minnesota Evaluation Association. Similar to #7 above, we had very low-cost membership for students (and reduced cost for events). We also conducted a survey of members to find out their priorities - we were surprised to learn that they were interested in socializing just as much as they were interested in building their professional practice.
Best of luck to you!