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: Consultant Writer - Development of a concept note for the scope and conceptual framework on the measurement of volunteering

Home Based - May require travel

  • Organization: UNV - United Nations Volunteers
  • Location: Remote | Home Based - May require travel
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Logistics
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Translations and Languages
    • Volunteerism
  • Closing Date: 2022-05-29

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The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Brokering of knowledge and new evidence on the various forms and approaches of volunteering is a key mandate for the organization. New evidence on how to promote, advocate and position volunteering as well as inform the design of strategies for integrating volunteerism in development plans and frameworks is critical if volunteering is to be fully recognized and embraced in development.

The Volunteer Advisory Services Section (VASS) at UNV Headquarters leads the organization’s research agenda and related knowledge brokering efforts, including the preparation of the State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR), a flagship UN publication that provides latest information and commentary on volunteering trends and practices around the globe.

The first SWVR edition on the theme: Universal Values for Global Well-being was published in 2011 and highlighted  the significant social and economic contribution of volunteers to development. The SWVR 2015 on Transforming Governance established how volunteerism played a role in helping governments fulfil their duties and responsibilities through accountability and monitoring mechanisms. The SWVR 2018 on Volunteerism and Community Resilience focused on how communities joined together to develop collective resources to cope with shocks and stress, particularly in marginalized contexts where there were limited state provisions. 

The latest edition, the 2022 State of the World's Volunteerism Report on the theme: Building Equal and Inclusive Societies, looked at how volunteers and governments worked together to collaborate and co-create more inclusive structures and mechanisms that are fit for 21st century development challenges. The Report presents important information and strategies for effective collaboration between volunteers and the state in shaping inclusive processes for equitable development outcomes and how to better utilize volunteering towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SWVR research themes are predicated on advancing and enhancing contemporary understanding of the context of volunteering globally through research. Each SWVR is timely and relevant to inform policy and approaches for the recognition and appropriation of different volunteering approaches in development.  

The 2022 SWVR kicked off a set of four reports that will bring out volunteering evidence on specific areas of focus in line with the Plan of Action to integrate volunteering into the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development: The 2024 SWVR will be dedicated to the measurement of volunteering, focusing on different aspects of measurement and supported with detailed analysis of sub-themes. The 2027 SWVR will look at how volunteering can help to address inequalities and promote inclusive development outcomes, including insights on how opportunities to volunteer have evolved under the 2030 Agenda for all social groups, and how these are aligned on addressing SDG gaps and challenges. Lastly, the 2030 SWVR will take stock of volunteers’ substantive contributions to the 2030 Agenda and the Decade of Action.

  1. The 2024 SWVR theme: Measurement

Every day, millions of people volunteer within their communities, through organizations, companies and even with governments. The scale and scope of this contribution to social change is largely unknown, yet this data is essential to inform strategies on how to deploy volunteering mechanism better and anticipate its impact.

Critical questions have been raised about the actual and potential value of volunteering and thus data and information are needed to inform decisions and choices about volunteering in support of change. For example, questions such as how many people volunteer and what they do, how volunteering is linked to improved development outcomes and how its contributions can be maximized with regards to sustainable development efforts, require additional and continuous research to pin down empirical evidence about volunteering.

The answers require data and evidence that can only be found by seeking to understand and measure the status, effectiveness, and impact of volunteering. Furthermore, the measurement of volunteering is relevant to a range of stakeholders: (i) volunteers themselves: hey want to understand the difference that their work makes; (ii) organizations working with volunteers: they need to know how to manage their resources effectively; and (iii) policymakers: as the basis for planning and investment related to volunteering.

There already exist some theoretical and empirical approaches to the measurement of volunteer work and contributions including those developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Johns Hopkins University, among others, which focus on specific and different variables and using different tools, methodologies and for different reasons. These approaches include the following:

(i) Statistical measurement

Statistical measurement is primarily focused on capturing volunteering as a form of work. In 2013, the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS), the global reference body in this area, led multiple consultations that fed into the current definition of volunteering as a form of unpaid work.

(ii) Intrinsic value of volunteering

The intrinsic value of volunteering is a growing area of measurement that is designed to capture the economic value, cost–benefit trade-offs and social benefits of volunteering. Intrinsic value is when something is either valuable in itself or valued by others for its own sake.

(iii) The human urgency - the volunteers

Volunteers themselves want to understand the difference that their work is make while organizations working with volunteers need to manage their resources effectively. Policymakers, on the other hand, need evidence as the basis for planning and integrating volunteering in development frameworks.

(iv) Instrumental value

Instrumental value is more directly assessed in light of specific objectives and targets, including the SDGs. For example, reduced maternal mortality in regions where additional volunteer midwives are deployed could be an instrumental measure. Such value may be replaced by other means if they are able to achieve the same result.

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work

The length of the concept note should be 8-10 pages, the core of the concept note being the 4 different options with themes, sub-themes, potential partners and steps for implementation. The annex to the concept note should include an explanation of the methodology that was used to prepare the concept note as well as a list of literature, individuals and organizations consulted.

  • Describe 4 options/scenarios for the SWVR 2024 in terms of themes/sub-themes, chapter recommendations and thematic areas, with a concrete rationale of the pros and cons for each of the 4 options (focusing on how, what value and evidence these bring to the measurement of volunteering and overall objective of positioning volunteering in the 21st Century, but also in terms of feasibility, potential challenges, etc).
  • For each of the 4 options/scenarios, partners should be suggested that could potentially collaborate in the research and preparation of the SWVR 2024 (e.g. individuals, research institutions, international organizations, universities and think tanks). In addition, the key steps for implementation under each option/scenario should be outlined.
  • Based on the above, the concept note should include a recommendation on the preferred option/scenario, with a detailed rationale.

  • The next edition of the SWVR, to be published in 2024, will be on the theme of measurement. The objective of this assignment is to produce a concept note with options/scenarios on which areas of measurement the research and report should focus on. It should explore the above areas of measurement and others perhaps not considered to date by either UNV or the wider volunteering community. It should provide options on whether the report should focus on one theme or various sub-themes, explaining both the rationale for the proposals, focus of the research and possible research and/or partnerships that could help UNV take it forward.

Under the overall guidance of and reporting to the Policy Specialist, the consultant will produce a detailed conceptualization of volunteerism measurement.

Responsibilities and tasks:

Review current work on volunteer measurement and identify gaps which could be considered in the next SWVR.

Based on a thorough review and assessment of measurement approaches, present a concept note outlining suggested overall themes and sub-themes of the SVWR 2024.

Deliverable Schedule



Duration in days



Inception Report and workplan submitted


14 June 2022


Submission of draft concept note with structure including 4 different options for the SWVR 2024 as outlined above


6 July 2022


Integrate UNV comments in the Concept Note and submission of a second draft


13 July 2022


Integrate UNV comments and submission of the final concept note with annex


 19 July 2022





The consultant is obligated to work within the required deadlines and be available to UNV for comments and corrections.



  1. Strong research and analytical skills, with demonstrated ability to synthesize research and evidence. Experience in research methodology and quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

  2. Knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ability to apply them to

    strategic and/or practical situations.

  3. Extensive knowledge of policy and practice around the 2030 Agenda and SDGs,

    volunteerism, humanitarian action, and inequalities.

  4. A good understanding of volunteerism and its policy implications on sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs will be an asset.


Required Skills and Experience


Advanced university degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, political science, humanities, and/or international development policy.


  • At least 7-15 years’ of relevant work experience in research and advisory support, including demonstrated experience in applying qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

  • Knowledge of analytical tools and methodologies for undertaking substantive research on various policy related issues.

  • Experience in developing innovative approaches, tools and concepts for measuring development outcomes and impact in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.


  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English, knowledge of other UN languages is an advantage.

  • Ensure the use of clear, succinct, and non-jargon language throughout the final product.


    Applicants have to provide a technical and financial proposal. 

    Qualified candidates must apply online via the UNDP Jobshop. Interested candidates are advised to carefully review these terms of reference and ensure that they meet the requirements and qualifications described above. 

    The technical proposal shall consist of: 

  • Motivation Letter describing their interest in the assignment and why they are the most suitable for the work; 

  • Latest personal CV or P11, including experience in similar projects and at least three references 

  • A technical proposal: shall describe the methodology and the approach on how to fulfil the required deliverables as well as outline the major components of its implementation (if applicable); 

  • Samples of previous work (if applicable); 

  • The financial proposal shall consist of 

  • Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability-please fill in the attached form; 

  • The financial proposal shall consist of the total contract price for the whole duration of the contract period, which shall include the consultancy fee, costs of living, costs for insurance. The financial proposal shall also contain a breakdown of these costs. The lump-sum/contract price is fixed regardless of subsequent changes in the cost components.  

    If an Offeror is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNV under Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the Offeror must indicate at this point and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNV 

    Criteria for Selection of the Best Offer

    The selection of the best offer will be based on the combined scoring method – where the qualifications and methodology will be weighted – 70% and combined with the price offer which will be weighted 30%.

    Key selection criteria are:

    • Research background, analysis and application of data, conceptual thinking and development, statistics (35%)

    • Strength in methodology and approach in the fulfil of the deliverables (35%)

    • Financial Proposal (30%)

How to Submit the Application: 

  • To submit your application online, please follow the steps below: 

  • Merge your Cover Letter, CV, Technical Proposal and Letter to?UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability (including the financial proposal) into a single file. The system does not allow for more than one attachment to be uploaded; 

  • Click on the Job Title (job vacancy announcement); 

  • Click “Apply Now” button, fill in the necessary information on the first page, and then click “Submit Application;” 

  • Upload your application/single file as indicated above with the merged documents (underlined above); 

  • You will receive an automatic response to your email confirming receipt of your application by the system. Queries should be sent to [email protected], to Marc Wharton clearly marking:75890-SWVR 2024.  

  • Terms and conditions, as well as contract samples, can be found at this link

    Due to the large number of applications we receive, we are only able to inform the successful candidates about the outcome or status of the selection process. 

    Please make sure you provide all the requested materials: 

  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.  

  • Applications sent by email will not be considered.  

  • Applications without the fully completed Confirmation of Interest Form, including financial costs will not be considered. 

  • UNV reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this procurement notice. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this consultancy for other assignments with UNV with similar terms of reference, experience and educational requirements. 

    Workforce diversity 

    UNV is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

    Scam warning 

    The United Nations does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fees in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web. 


We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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