UNV Online Volunteering Services – Final Project Evaluation

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, UNV
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
06/2020
Completion Date:
02/2020
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title UNV Online Volunteering Services – Final Project Evaluation
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, UNV
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2020
Planned End Date: 06/2020
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 14,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Halcyon Louis halcyon.louis@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: GLOBAL
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

UNV, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, should continue to facilitate free access to its OV service, in parallel with digital transformation, while engaging in collaborative exploration, to develop and launch a revised cost-recovery modality following the evaluation of the new Business Model.

2

The Digital Transformation (DT) Project Manager, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, and with support from the DT Team and DT Board, should revisit the strategy for digital transformation, to address inefficiencies linked to the quality of the interface between host organisations and online volunteers.

3

The Chief of the Executive Office, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, should institute the Task Force recommendation for inter-divisional collaboration, and engage in regular interface with UNV Sections; the Regional Offices and the Field Units, to continue to facilitate organisational ownership of the OV function.

4

The Executive Coordinator, with support from the Management Team, should incorporate the thematic area of inclusiveness into the new UNV Strategic Framework, and delegate the production of an inclusiveness strategy and action plan for application to UNV’s peace and development work.

5

The Chief of the Executive Office, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, should review the mainstreaming arrangements for lead generation and service delivery at the RO and Field Unit levels, to address existing limitations in human resource capacity.

6

The Executive Coordinator, with the support of VSS and the ROs, should revisit the newly established due diligence process for civil society organisations (CSOs) within one year of its implementation, to explore the possibility of extending partnerships to smaller and/or less established CSOs.

7

The Digital Transformation (DT) Project Manager, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, and with support from the DT Team and DT Board, should continue to prioritise the improvement of UNV’s OV platform to increase the accuracy of data generation and results reporting.

8

UNV, under the strategic direction of the Executive Coordinator, should take steps to offer access to the OV platform in all six UN languages and support this process by increasing the visibility of the OV facility within the UN System in the interest of sustainability.

1. Recommendation:

UNV, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, should continue to facilitate free access to its OV service, in parallel with digital transformation, while engaging in collaborative exploration, to develop and launch a revised cost-recovery modality following the evaluation of the new Business Model.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/06/01]

1. UNV partially accepts this recommendation. While financial sustainability of the OV platform is important, introduction of the cost recovery in 2019 led to drastic reduction of the demand. Based on lessons learned, UNV proposes to expand the exploration of financial sustainability beyond cost recovery.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.2. UNV to explore ways of ensuring financial sustainability of the OV platform beyond traditional cost-recovery, such as crowd funding, funding through UNV’s Special Voluntary Fund (SVF) etc.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team and MSD FBS 2020/12 Initiated UNV is embarking on exploring crowd funding as a means of fundraising and the OV service will be considered as a beneficiary of funds raised through this new approach. History
1.3. Continued cost reduction of OV with introduction of UNV’s Unified Volunteer Platform.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team and MSD FBS 2021/01 Initiated History
1.1. UNV to provide OV services free of charge (subject to further review as part of next Strategic Framework preparation).
[Added: 2020/06/01]
UNV to provide OV services free of charge (subject to further review as part of next Strategic Framework preparation). 2020/01 Completed The provision of free OV services was instituted in the updated cost recovery policy. History
2. Recommendation:

The Digital Transformation (DT) Project Manager, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, and with support from the DT Team and DT Board, should revisit the strategy for digital transformation, to address inefficiencies linked to the quality of the interface between host organisations and online volunteers.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/06/01]

2. UNV fully accepts this recommendation. In accordance with UNV Digital Transformation’s a) project document, b) workplan, and, c) Unified Volunteer Platform (UVP) Business Requirements document, as well as “Online Volunteering service mainstreaming and project exit strategy” interoffice memorandum dated 6 February 2019, UNV will ensure that the OV platform is fully merged into the forthcoming UVP. The UVP, which is to be launched on 01.01.2021, will follow best practices on Universal and Intuitive User Interface, Usability and Accessibility standards and the UVP experience of Host Organizations will be further enhanced with new functionalities such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) longlisting and AI Chatbot.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.3. Ensure UVP user experience (UX), usability and accessibility tests are fully covering for all OV requirements, which are defined in detail in the ‘user stories’ document.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2021/01 Initiated History
2.4. Ensure UVP, launched on 1 January 2021, is fully covering for all OV requirements, which are defined in detail in the ‘user stories’ document.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2020/12 Initiated History
2.1. Incorporate AI Chatbot and Service desk functionality into the current OV platform.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2020/01 Completed AI Chatbot and Service desk functionality have been incorporated into the current OV platform. History
2.2. Ensure OV requirements are incorporated into the detailed ‘user stories’ document of the Unified Volunteer Platform (UVP).
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2020/03 Completed Business requirements are incorporated in user stories. Workflows supporting these requirements are developed as well. History
3. Recommendation:

The Chief of the Executive Office, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, should institute the Task Force recommendation for inter-divisional collaboration, and engage in regular interface with UNV Sections; the Regional Offices and the Field Units, to continue to facilitate organisational ownership of the OV function.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

3. UNV fully accepts this recommendation. In light of project completion and OV mainstreaming, in 2020 the OV service delivery structure consists of dedicated regional support placed in Regional Offices and at UNV HQ in VSS. To further strengthen inter-divisional collaboration and organisational ownership, UNV will implement the following key actions:

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.2. To ensure the continuation of the OV learning curve, UNV will monitor the progress of the OV mainstreaming by making OV a topic of the weekly Management Team Meetings twice in 2020 (in the first and second half of the year respectively).
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS in collaboration with the Executive Office and the Regional Offices 2020/12 Initiated History
3.3. To track emerging issues and to solicit feedback on delegated tasks, there will be weekly meetings of OV support staff for them to (1) identify areas of needs and (2) to come up with recommendations for enhancement of the OV platform.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS in collaboration with Regional Offices 2020/12 Initiated
3.1. In support of organisation-wide ownership of the OV modality, UNV will put in place a strategy on how to ensure OV functions are mainstreamed.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS in collaboration with the Executive Office and the Regional Offices 2020/01 Completed To ensure the Mainstreaming of the OV function throughout the organization, two interoffice memorandums setting up an internal accountability framework and outlining necessary transitionary measures were prepared and distributed.
3.4. Aiming at an improved cross-organisational communication, UNV will ensure to make OV the topic of one of the monthly Town Hall meetings.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS in collaboration with the Executive Office and the Regional Offices 2020/12 Not Initiated History
3.5. Following the monitoring of the OV mainstreaming’s progress and the Digital Transformation business processes review and reengineering in 2020, UNV will put together a forward-looking strategy on how to continue the administration of the OV services.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS jointly with the Executive Office 2021/12 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

The Executive Coordinator, with support from the Management Team, should incorporate the thematic area of inclusiveness into the new UNV Strategic Framework, and delegate the production of an inclusiveness strategy and action plan for application to UNV’s peace and development work.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

4. UNV fully accepts this recommendation. UNV appreciates that the OV Services project was supported by a diverse mix of online volunteers, including persons from traditionally marginalised and underrepresented groups. In addition, women have always been especially numerous among registered online volunteers. Therefore, UNV will:

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Mainstream the theme of inclusion in the new UNV Strategic Framework 2022-2025.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
Executive Office 2021/12 Not Initiated
4.2 Develop a targeted strategy on inclusion for the OV platform, supported by an action plan for implementation.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS in collaboration with Human Resources Section (HRS) 2021/12 Not Initiated The UN Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) launched in 2019 will provide a framework for the strategy, and the UNV Talent Programme for PWD will include OV in the new phase starting in 2021.
5. Recommendation:

The Chief of the Executive Office, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, should review the mainstreaming arrangements for lead generation and service delivery at the RO and Field Unit levels, to address existing limitations in human resource capacity.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

5. UNV fully accepts this recommendation and agrees that based on its proximity to existing and prospective partners through the Regional Offices and Field Units, UNV has a well-established comparative advantage in localised representation. Through its presence on the ground, UNV has been able to build relationships with project partners and mobilise volunteers at both the regional and country levels.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Alongside the monitoring of the OV mainstreaming’s progress and the Digital Transformation business processes review and reengineering in 2020, UNV will assess OV staff capacities within ROs and Field Units to identify potential needs and to come up with mitigation measures
[Added: 2020/06/01]
HRS, VSS and Regional Offices for final approval by the Executive Coordinator 2020/12 Initiated
5.2 To enhance OV generation at country levels, UNV will include the task in the Job Descriptions of UNV Country Coordinators.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
HRS, VSS and Regional Offices 2020/12 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

The Executive Coordinator, with the support of VSS and the ROs, should revisit the newly established due diligence process for civil society organisations (CSOs) within one year of its implementation, to explore the possibility of extending partnerships to smaller and/or less established CSOs.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

6. UNV does not accept this recommendation. As of January 2020, UNV has embarked on a new due diligence process to assess the quality and suitability of new and existing host entity partnerships with CSOs for the OV facility. The newly established criteria have opened partnership formation to CSOs that already have a working relationship with UN Agencies, including UNV, and have also been accredited through UN-approved due diligence procedures. As a shared platform and common service for the United Nations system, UNV is not specifically mandated to partner with CSOs. While UNV remains open to enhance and deepen engagement with non-UN partners, UNV does not see the need to further review the current due diligence process established for CSOs to make use of the OV services.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

The Digital Transformation (DT) Project Manager, under the direction of the Executive Coordinator, and with support from the DT Team and DT Board, should continue to prioritise the improvement of UNV’s OV platform to increase the accuracy of data generation and results reporting.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

7. UNV partially accepts this recommendation In accordance to decisions taken in the UNV Digital Transformation project Board meeting in November 2019 and in the light of Unified Volunteer Platform (UVP) launch on 1 January 2021, UNV will invest strategically into the current platforms in order to ensure optimal use of resources. Investments into the current OV platform will only be made on improvements meeting two or more of the following criteria:

  • High impact
  • Low investment
  • “Re-use” possibility in UVP

All other improvement requirements should be taken on-board for the UVP. This includes changes targeting increased accuracy of data generation and results reporting.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. Ensure continued improvements in current OV platform on items meeting two or more criteria listed in the response section.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2020/12 Initiated
7.2. Ensure OV requirements, includes changes targeting increased accuracy of data generation and results reporting, are incorporated into UVP’s ‘user stories’ document.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2020/12 Initiated
8. Recommendation:

UNV, under the strategic direction of the Executive Coordinator, should take steps to offer access to the OV platform in all six UN languages and support this process by increasing the visibility of the OV facility within the UN System in the interest of sustainability.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

8. UNV partially accepts this recommendation. While long-term approach to cover of all six UN official working languages is planned within the UNV Digital Transformation project document, UNV will develop a phased approach to the roll-out of additional languages. UNV will look into having an approach to adding any other language, which is not necessarily from the list of six UN official working languages, e.g. Portuguese.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.2. Prepare phased approach methodology on incorporation of additional languages and submit it to the UNV Digital Transformation project Board for decision.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2020/11 Initiated
8.3 .Ensure Unified Volunteer Platform is launched with full coverage of English, French and Spanish on 1 January 2020.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2021/01 Initiated
8.1. Ensure that the Unified Volunteer Platform can be scaled up to any number of languages as well as accept inputs in any Unicode language.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
VSS / Digital Transformation Project Team 2020/03 Completed Requirements are formulated and shared with implementing vendor.

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