Digital Principles Organizational-Self Assessment

Evaluation Tool


Through January 2020, 205 government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private sector firms and contractors have endorsed the Digital Principles. Some endorsers, such as USAID, DFID and Enabel, have engaged heavily with the Digital Principles by incorporating them into digital strategies, requests for proposals, and toolkits and frameworks. Other endorsers, such as Digital Opportunity Trust and mPowering Health Workers have provided case studies on how they implement and incorporate the Digital Principles at their organizations. However, there remains a sizeable percentage of endorsing organizations from whom it is unclear and difficult to ascertain if and how they use the Digital Principles. 

To address this gap in DIAL’s knowledge and to encourage deepened engagement with the Digital Principles among endorsing organizations, the Digital Principles team is proposing a new system of following up with endorsers to learn how they use the Digital Principles along with highlighting and promoting good uses of the Digital Principles. This system will involve two components. The first component will involve a short self-assessment survey sent to endorsers asking about activities that they incorporate and use the Digital Principles in their activities. The second component will involve assessing and categorizing the endorsers according to a rubric based on the extent to which they incorporate and use the Digital Principles in their activities, projects, and programs. The results of these activities will inform Digital Principles programmatic decision-making and communication products and hopefully nudge endorsers to greater accountability and deeper engagement with the principles. 


The Digital Principles team will use a tiering system to organize endorsers into groups based on their level of engagement, adoption, and incorporation of the Digital Principles. We will also share the results of the designated tier with endorsers so that they can use it to publicize their designation if they so choose. However, we will not publicly share designations without the approval of the endorsers. These tiers can potentially be used by the Digital Principles team in the following ways:

– Help the team decide which endorsers to promote as exemplars of incorporating and using the Digital Principles through traditional media and events and social media.  

-Inform the team’s decisions about which endorsers should get additional Digital Principles resources (e.g., toolkits, case studies, trainings, etc.).

-Provide insight on the extent to which the overall Digital Principles community of practice incorporates and uses the Digital Principles in order to determine future outreach and how to improve community engagement.

-Inform the team about which resources and toolkits are most used.

-Inform the team about which resources need to be created in the future.


For the initial implementation of the self-assessment and tiering system, there will be three levels— bronze, silver, and gold:

BronzeActivities within this tier pertain to initial limited and general engagement with the Principles. These efforts promote an awareness of the Digital Principles within and outside of the endorsing organization, but do not show activities related to use.
SilverActivities within this tier pertain to modest engagement with the Principles aimed toward adoption of principles. While there are some minor activities of use, many of these activities are geared toward creating an organizational culture that values the Principles.
GoldActivities within this tier consist of concerted efforts for the incorporation of Principles to facilitate organizational change. All activities pertain to systematic inquiry, policy-making, or actual use and implementation of Principles-informed policies and procedures.

Activities in Each Tier

In order to maintain transparency and openness, the activities that qualify organizations for each tier need to be clear. This allows endorsers to both understand why they have been classified into a particular tier as well as how they can advance to the next level and more fully practice the principles. It will also allow the Digital Principles team to be clear about the criteria and standards against which endorsers will be assessed, facilitating easier classification. The example activities listed within each tier are related to general engagement with the principles and not to any specific principle. Many have been observed, reported, or conceptualized over the years through community-led processes. The following table lists all activity indicators, their associated tier, a definition, and a source:

TierActivity IndicatorDefinitionSource
BronzeSocial media engagementAt least one organic post on one or more of the Digital Principles was placed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or another social media platform, and at least one Digital Principles-related post was shared on a social media platform per quarter.Social media posts and shares
Write a blogAt least one blog was written in the previous calendar year on one or more of the Digital Principles and their use at the endorsing organization.Blog post link
Cited one or more principle in a report or documentAt least one report was published in the previous year that cites the Digital Principles or a resource created by the Digital Principles team and hosted on the Digital Principles website.Report link
Participated on a panelAt least one representative of the endorsing organization participated on a panel or webinar in the previous year where one or more of the Digital Principles were a significant portion of discussion.Event link
Conference or event presentationAt least one representative of the endorsing organization presented on a subject in the previous year and incorporated one or more of the Digital Principles into the presentation.
Training participationAt least one representative of the endorsing organization participated in a training on one or more of the Digital Principles in the previous year.Certificate/proof of participation
SilverOrganized a brown bagAt least one representative of the endorsing organization organized and implemented a brown bag discussion on one or more of the Digital Principles in the previous year.Email invite
Partnered with the Digital Principles team on an activityThe endorsing organization organized a training, workshop, podcast episode, or event on the Digital Principles with the Digital Principles team.Program records
Organized forum for the digital development communityFacilitated cross-sector community conversations around the Digital Principles, especially between the sector communities that would not otherwise interact.Event link
Successfully encouraged another organization to endorse the Digital PrinciplesThe endorsing organization successfully referred another organization to contact, apply to, and gain approval of the Digital Principles program to be an endorser of the Digital Principles.Referral email
Implemented a trainingThe endorsing organization organized and implemented at least one training on the Digital Principles and their use at their organization during the previous year, provided by either the Digital Principles team or a certified Digital Principles trainer.Program records
Applied for an RFPA proposal was submitted in the previous year to a Request for Proposal that explicitly references one or more of the Digital Principles and asks for their incorporation into the submission or proposal.RFP copy and excerpt of proposal submitted
Used a toolkit or resourceThe endorsing organization documented a case of using toolkits or other resources available on the Digital Principles website.Use case
Wrote a case studyWrote and disseminated a case study on one or more of the Digital Principles and their use, either independently or with the Digital Principles program.Copy of case study
GoldEstablished an internal working group or networkEstablished a peer working group or some other vehicle within the organization to build capacity and promote knowledge exchange among staff.Working group documents
Implemented a change in organizational policy or procedureThe endorsing organization made material changes to digital strategy, procurement processes, project or program resources or tools, or some other strategic or operational activity that both cites and uses at least one of the Digital Principles.Copy or excerpt of the change
Conducted a Digital Principles-focused evaluationConducted an internal or external Digital Principles-focused evaluation that evaluates the relevance of, fidelity to, and results of applying Digital Principles within the endorsing organization.Evaluation report
Drafted an organizational Digital Principles strategy planDeveloped an implementation or institutionalization strategy with concrete steps to put specific principles into practice at the organization.Strategy plan
Assessed capacity to implement a Digital Principles strategyAssessed organizational staff and technical capacity to implement a Digital Principles institutionalization strategy across sectors and at various stages of implementation.Assessment report
Adapted M&E systems for a Digital Principles strategyEstablished or adapted an existing monitoring and evaluation system for tracking progress on implementing a Digital Principles strategy.M&E plan
Created a Digital Principles review boardCreated a review board for spending on digital development to provide input, feedback, and guidance on digital development strategy and spending informed by the Digital Principles.Review board roster and or minutes
Implemented an organizational Digital Principles strategyImplemented several institutional changes following from a Digital Principles strategy plan.Activity indicators for each change or application of the Digital Principles

Gold Tier Endorsers

Energypedia ConsultingErsiliaFCDO
Foundation BotnarGIZIntelliSOFT
NoradPSISave the Children


The self-assessment survey will be administered at least once per year to all endorsing organizations that have been an endorser for at least three months. The survey will be administered through SurveyMonkey to all of the contacts at endorsing organizations. There may be follow-up emails administered every one to two quarters, according to the discretion of the program director. Any public announcements of bronze, silver, and gold endorsers would be done annually and at the discretion of participating organizations.

Related Blog Posts

To read more on how the Digital Principle have been integrated by our endorsers and the methods and approaches used in creating this and other Digital Principles measurement tools please read the following blog posts:

-« Digital Principles Engagement, Adoption and Integration in the Community »

« New and Improved Methods and Tools for Measuring Through the Digital Principles ».

Digital Principles Team