Seeking feedback on how to increase membership of a young VOPE

Dear All,

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.

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send ivvite  - people feel important when invited

make it free or a very nominal fees to membership

make it multisectoral- health ,education,  social, space, nature, marine etc

advertise/ promote  the faculty  or guest or member

start a newsletter  and circulate

Thanks a lot Janett for your valuable advice. I appreciate the presence of your VOPE in social media and a great website. 

Hi, I would like to enter to VOPE. I think it is a good inicitive. Thank you. 

Let us find the VOPE in your country/region. Hello Gabriela!

Dear All

This is an important discussion that affects ALL VOPEs. For SAMEA (South Africa) that has a membership of approximately 600 and growing, there are multiples strategies. Firstly it was/is to position the association in a strategic partnership with a government entity that seeks to promote M&E. We have the Department of Monitoring, Planning and Evaluation and the Public Services Commission, among others. Secondly is to ensure that the VOPE addresses the needs of its members. This is an ongoing challenge as there are diverse needs. Currently SAMEA is spearheading a discussion on the professionalization of M&E - without any preconceived intent and the engagement is drawing interest from higher education, other professional associations, government departments and more. We have found it essential to document the establishment and growth of the VOPE and M&E in the country so that emerging evaluators can build on, rather than consider where to start.

The biennial conferences, seminars, workshops, listserv discussions, Evalcafes. webinars and stimulating input from current board members and visiting scholars are all strategies to engage existing members.

This is all hard work, we know this as volunteers, but it pays off. I have invited  VOPEs in Africa to consider documenting  their vast experiences in the African Evaluation Journal. This will/ can inform a wider audience and attract members. Building the VOPE and growing its members are immediate challenges, I am looking forward to us discussing sustainability and maintaining our members. Good luck

Dear Mark, thanks for enlisting the strategies you have used in SAMEA. Its great how you have build partnership with the government department...very focused approach indeed! Combining face to face and virtual interaction. Congratulations to you and your team. May you grow and prosper!

Hi dear Rajib baii,

Managing a VOPE to keep and attack members requires a participatory and opened management process. The entry point is to respect the rights of members on being informed on ALL technical and financial resources. Members feel more motivated to remain in and get new members when their voices count (Being consulted, getting their participation into policy design, organisation of events, trainings, etc). Moreover, this mean that bureaucracy and politics should be kept away from VOPE. ALL activities should be openly set and share with members; otherwise, they may be frustrated and resigned. Someone said, "If I VOPE members are KING. They should then be considered as kings". ALL voices count and should be equitably managed. 

Thank you Serge for your profound advice. Warm greetings!

Hi, my name is Silvia Salinas and I am currently the president of the Bolivian Monitoring and Evaluation Network (VOPE).  Since April 2016 we have worked hard to strengthen, expand and position our VOPE at national, regional and global level. 

We have currently over 100 "members" and 20 "Young members" in our very recently launched Evalyouth network.  Since the activities of the LAC Evaluation week - we organized 3 very interesting and innovative activities including a Fuckup night on Evaluation, a Fórum on "Decolonizing Evaluation" and meeting and conversation with strategic actors on Institutionalization of Evaluation - our number of FB followers has almost doubled (over 400 now), and day to day we receive new expressions of interest to become a member. It must be said that members are not yet requested to pay membership fees, we are finalizing our strategic plan, the organizational structure and the membership "rules".  For now we work on the basis of solidarity and collaboration...and despite of not having any fixed funding we were able to really do many things.

It is also worthwile to mention that we promoted and supported the establishment of subnational networks.  Right now 2 of the 9 departments of Bolivia have their own network.  The approach is "bottom-up", so these networks have their own identity, name, dynamics but their are linked and supported by the national network.

I think that the 2 newsletters attached - sorry in Spanish - summarize the activities since April 2016 and also our main results.  Some of my reflections and I think good practices are:

- Motivation is a "result" not a starting point, However, having a motivated steering committee, a group of leaders and facilitators, is crucial.  We currently have a leading commission of 9 poeple and we all say we are "in love with the REDMEBOL"

- Activities are the best way to generate motivation, involvement and ownership

- Social networks e.g. FB can play a crucial role - share information, reports, special people profiles, opportunities

- Connecting people with information and opportunties is highly appreciated

- To be highly profesional does not mean to "loose" the human part and relations....Generating a warm, appealing and motivating communication style

- Substitute or complemente "heavy" reports with friendly and attractive communication pieces, articles, newletters

- Innovate, surprise members/people...go beyond the expected or anticipated (we are currently organizing a series of dialogues - Brown bag lunches- on innovative topics.  All presenters have volunteered (and most of them have contacted us to offer their participation after the very successful Evaluation week)

- Build alliances....

- Bring diversity, multiple sectors and actors together

So much for now, sorry for the mistakes I just wrote and wrote.  I am preparing a trip tomorrow early morning but didn't want to leave without sharing our experience.  Cheers from La Paz, Bolivia




Thank you Siliva for your detailed response. Congratulations to you and your team for the great work.

Dear Rajib,

Thank you for this important topic!

Ukrainian evaluation association is also facing with these issues now. We have quite a lot of participants in FB group (more than 400) and in the list of an e-newsletter (more than 150). But in fact, we do not have a lot of actual members with paid fees. Now we are thinking about a strategy to encourage new people to the association, but also to encourage them not only users of information but active members. 

I think the main points were mentioned here. It should be a very clear policy of membership. And all old and new members should be aware of it.

Somebody from the Secretariat or the Board should take care of potential and new members: to invite them (even personally), write introductory emails about association and activities. 

Potential members should know benefits of membership. As for me, the main benefit is to exchange information and experience. So, should be a lot of interesting events, especially online, what is important for members from regions, that participants feel involved in the association.

As we have same problems and trying now to deal with them, I hope in nearest future my and your association can change the situation and share success stories :)

Dear Antonina,

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?


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