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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Dear Rajib,

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. 

 I can recommend you to give a look to the VOPE´s Institutional Capacity Toolkit, a great source of tools and resources for VOPEs. We used some ideas from there, mainly to write a motivational letter and make a wide dissemination of it. In Argentina we made the good decision to begin virtual meetings and exchanges, and then try to have a face to face one, and it worked great. 
best wishes, 
Pablo Rodríguez Bilella 
¡¡Visite mi blog: Al Borde Del Caos !! Desarrollo, Evaluación y Complejidad... 
Twitter: @txtPablo  

Dear Pablo,

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

Ziad Moussa

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:


  • ·       Advertise in social media and relevant other platforms e.g. newsletters or at forums where evaluators may attend so that more people become aware of the existence of the VOPE. Promote the benefits of becoming a member.
  • ·       Build the benefits for members in the VOPE, e.g. get speakers to present at events/webinars. Get current members involved in easy to carry out tasks eg. to forward on emails to contacts, to join short term working groups for a small activity so that they feel engaged and will spread interest in the VOPE by word of mouth
  • ·       Generate a useful product such as a paper on a topic of interest and circulate it so that it engages people and then makes them think that the VOPE is doing valuable work that they can engage with.

All the best with your efforts.


Kind regards


Dorothy Lucks


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:

  1. Training and Capacity Building Initiatives: Organising training sessions on Monitoring and Evaluation and calling in Experts to engage with both the members and the prospective members. This will give the prospective members an idea of what they are missing by not being members of a VOPE and as such they will register as members.
  2. Working with Institutions of Higher Learning: Another strategy is engaging with Universty Lecturers, especially those teaching Development Studies and Monitoring and Evaluation. During my tenure as Board member of ESK, we organised such meetings at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Maseno University and the University of Nairobi. This had a great effect in increasing the membership base from the students in Universities.
  3. Working with the Government Ministries and Agencies: Working closely with the Ministry in charge of Planning and Development. This way, they have been able to create internship positions to students in Universities, who are then able to learn through experience and by hands-on briefing from the professionals. This has worked pretty well in the Kenyan example where the Ministry of Devolution and Planning has been offering internship positions to University students, and during this time, they are able to have direct mentorship from ESK members and officials, as ESK is also housed in the same Ministry.
  4. Support from the UN System: As a VOPE, ESK managed to collaborate with the UN System, such that they could always offer bursaries for members to attend Monitoring and Evaluation functions in the country. Those who attend, usually share their experiences with their colleagues who were not able to attend, and in this way, they inspire the others of the need to join and be able to enjoy the benefits of membership.
  5. Working with the Private Sector: The VOPE can also work closely with the private sector in the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this way, the private sector can also offer internship to students of Development and M&E and thereby show them the benefits of being members of a VOPE.
  6. Support to attend International Conferences: By supporting members to attend international conferences on Monitoring and Evaluation, those who are not members will see this as a motivating factor to join, so that they can also participate in such international conferences which give them exposure as well as raising their global profiles of the VOPEs. T is also increasingly becoming a University requirement that students participate in such Conferences, make presentations and publish papers from such Conference presentations.
  7. Reduced Membership Fees and Mentoring Programme for the Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEE): Establishing a mentoring programme is one of the key strategies of membership recruitment. This should usually target the young as well as emerging evaluators. The strategies of engagement would include face-to-face mentoring sessions, pairing with mentors as well as having the young and emerging evaluators (YEE) being included in evaluation assignments as team members so they can also learn on the job in the field. This should also go hand-in-hand with having reduced membership fees for the YEE. I introduced this reduced membership for the YEE and it has had a great impact in increasing IDEAS membership, especially for the YEE.
  8. Introducing Corporate Membership for the VOPEs: This way, the corporate bodies will register as members and enjoy the full benefits of membership. Also, they would have an added benefit of nominating 5 Individual members to represent them in that particular VOPE. At least this is the strategy used by ESK, IDEAS as well as AfrEA. 
  9. Organising Corporate Open Days: This way, ESK as a VOPE was able to work closely with other training Institutions to attend the Institution Open Days, and showcase what ESK is doing as a VOPE as well as the benefits of joining membership. ESK has also been represented in National Policy debates and through this, they have got national visibility, making people ask to join membership.
  10. Pushing for a National Policy on Evaluation and Professionalisation: The VOPE should push with the policy makers the need to have a National Evaluation Policy. With regard to this, ESK has been actively involved in working with Parliamentarians on Development Evaluation, and progress is in high gear to have a National Evaluation Policy. Coupled with this, will be the need for professionalisation of Evaluation and the recognition of this by the Government, so that only those who belong to the VOPE and can be certified or endorsed as Professional Evaluators, can have the authorisation to practice Evaluation in the country. This can be modelled along the path of professional societies like for Lawyers, Accountants and Medics. 

Thank you.



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! 

Hello Rajib, I am taking the initiative to share some ideas and insights because I consider your request a great opportunity to think and reflect.

Given the five priorities of the VOPEs (listed below), I would engage new members through offering some incentives, such as:

  1. Partnerships: spread the voice that VOPEs are networks which help connect the best brains to strengthen regional and national capacities and open up opportunities for new businesses and initiatives around evaluation and the SDGs. The greatest ideas are built together
  2. Institutional capacity toolkit: engage all members asking them for introducing the VOPE to two other professionals and send out monthly emails gathering one input by member on how to create the capacity toolkit and what it should include
  3. Operation knowledge: reward members who share knowledge and information through mentioning them in meetings, workshops, publications, and so on. Also, support the best contributors financially and/or invite them to conferences and events (if possible)
  4. Advocacy strategies: generate the key messages around evaluation and the SDGs, and find the best messengers; bring on board cool testimonials (from various industries); use social media to promote your VOPE; organize writing sessions where a member can co-author a piece with an experienced evaluator; and encourage creativity with arts
  5. Equity-focused and gender-responsive evaluation: pay special attention to all those who promote the three core values of VOPEs – equity, social justice, and gender equity. And make them become your champions showcasing their reports, papers, articles, and/or ideas. Be inclusive of women and young women and market some of their stories and photos.

The list is very long :-) as ideas are many but I hope this helps.

Thank you for engaging all of us.

Namaste, Laura Gagliardone


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