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 to pay for professional development opportunities of high quality.
When you are planning your event, take into consideration why you are hosting it, who you are targeting, what the focus will be, and when it will take place. The venue of your conference and how you will be funding it are also very important considerations. These questions have been extensively covered in the “Starter Kit for holding and Evaluation Conference” prepared by Hickson and Loesch-Griffin for affiliates and friends of the American Evaluation Association. Although this information has a distinct focus on the American Local Affiliates of the AEA context, many of the sections of the document are very useful for VOPEs in other areas of the world.
Access it here:
The Starter Kit for holding an Evaluation conference prepared by Hickson and Loesch-Griffin for Affiliates and friends of the American Evaluation Association is also applicable to other VOPEs. It contains valuable advice, checklist, planning templates for multi-day events requiring accommodation for delegates.
- Starter Kit for holding and Evaluation conference prepared by Hickson and Loesch-Griffin for Affiliates and friends of the American Evaluation Association. Accessed online on 21 February 2014 from: http://www.lacaea.org/Documents/ConferenceKit2006.doc
- Consider using an online system to process payments and manage conference registration. You can develop your own system, or choose one of the off-the shelf products available to help you with everything from the call for papers, to the issuing of invoices, and collection of registration information. In the advice section below, you will find an overview from Idealware about some prominent event registration options.
- Once you have hosted your first conference, it may be necessary to think about writing up a formal evaluation conference policy, and to put together a toolkit of your own. An example from the CES is provided below.
- If you expect that international delegates are likely to attend your event, be prepared to issue letters of invitation for visa purposes, and provide relevant travel and accommodation information.
- In order to ensure that a wide range of delegates are likely to attend your conference, consider implementing a Bursary programme. Some ideas for this is listed in the examples section below
- Consider making available the presentations, papers or abstracts presented at your conference on a web-page after the conference, and if possible, make the conference content available on a thumb drive for all conference participants.
- Consider listing your evaluation conference as an event in one of the bigger directories of evaluation events such as http://betterevaluation.org/events or http://www.evaluation.lars-balzer.name/calendar
The Community Toolbox is a resource developed by the University of Kansas. This section of the toolbox contains a description that will help you think through your conference requirements.
- Work Group for Community Health and Development, University of Kansas. Community Toolbox. Section 5: Organizing a Conference. Accessed online 22 February 2014 from: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/structure/training-and-technical-assistance/conferences/main
This is also a resource from the Community toolbox, but addresses the designing of a training session.
- Work Group for Community Health and Development, University of Kansas. Community Toolbox. Section 2: Designing a training session. Accessed online 22 February 2014 from: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/structure/training-and-technical-assistance/design-training-session/main
- The Canadian Evaluation Society documented a policy indicating minimum requirements for its conference. Policy guidelines for conducting the CES National Conferences, Feb 2013. Accessed online 21 February 2014 from: http://www.evaluationcanada.ca/txt/conference_policy_20130217.pdf
- The Community of Evaluators hosted an evaluation conclave in 2013. This website is a good example of a comprehensive conference website. The evaluation conclave 2013 website. Accessed online 22 February 2014 from: http://evaluationconclave2013.org
- The European Evaluation Society has a simple web page where previous conferences’ presentations can be accessed. European Evaluation Society – Conference list. Accessed online 22 February 2014. http://www.europeanevaluation.org/conferences.htm
- The European Evaluation Society sent out the following call for papers for its 2014 conference. European Evaluation Society – Conference Call for papers and guidelines for presentations and participation. Accessed online 22 February 2014.http://www.czech-in.org/ees_2014/download/EES_2014-Guidelines_for_presentations_and_participation.pdf
- The European Evaluation Society uses an online abstract submission and notification system. Here are the guidelines provided to help with the submission of abstracts. European Evaluation Society – Abstract Submission guidelines. Accessed online 22 February 2014 from: http://www.ees2014.eu/abstract-submission-guidelines.htm
- AfrEA held a workshop in 2007 to which VOPE leaders were invited. They could apply for bursaries. This was the form used to collect information for the bursary application. African Evaluation Association – Bursary Application form for Evaluation Leaders.
D’autres exemples d’événements et des lignes directrices à prendre en compte l’évaluation:
Are you interested in using an online registration system? Idealware is a US based organization that helps non-profits make smart software decisions. They prepared a post about conference registration systems. Quinn & Andrei, 2011. A few good tools for event registration. Accessed online on 22 February 2014 from the Idealware website. http://idealware.org/articles/few-good-tools-event-registration-updated
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Acknowledgements, Licensing, Attributions
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Note that depending on the size, development phase and purpose of your VOPE, the material presented in this post may need to be contextualised for your specific purposes. Also take note of the full toolkit disclaimer here.