Create a Description of Assignment (DOA)
Create a Description of Assignment (DOA)
Photo: UN Volunteers with the Joint Medical Services (JMS) and the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan conduct a practice drill for medical evacuation of a suspected COVID-19 case.
© UNV, 2020

Create a Description of Assignment (DOA)

Create an Interesting and Accurate Description of Assignment (DOA) to Attract the Best Candidates


UN Volunteers are motivated to serve – to help society and drive equality. Many seek a social calling, to work with people, make connections and have new experiences in cultures and places outside of their own.


For others, it is purely instrumently as they look to build skills and understanding in the UN system. Foremost, they all want to engage in challenging and meaningful work activities and know the impact of their efforts.

A Well-Written Assignment Description can


Help us shortlist your ideal interview candidates. Describe your ideal volunteer to speed up our search and ensure candidates are relevant to your needs.


Provide you and a potential UN Volunteer with clarity on roles and responsibilities. It forms the basis of a productive working relationship and enhanced performance.


Inspire the strongest and best qualified candidates to apply. Guide their applications and interview prep with clear job criteria. Suggest meaningful work and how your volunteer will change our world.


Compel UNV (fully funding) donors to fund your assignment.

Write Simply and Follow our Template

Remember to:

• Simply fill-out a standard DOA from our Templates and Forms tab in the document library

• Use formulations in full (no abbreviations or acronyms).

• Avoid using jargon or limiting language.

• Take inspiration from our posted assignments.

• Ask UNV for help identifying relevant examples or explore our database of description of assignment.

• Encourage applications from volunteers who are new to the UN, by asking for fresh perspectives and diverse backgrounds and not insisting on previous experience in your organization or system.

Requirements of a Description of Assignment
Review our tips to perfect your UN Volunteer description of assignment

Clear, simple, unexaggerated – choose an attention-grabbing meaningful title that intrigues potential volunteers to read more.

Volunteers want to make an impact. Describe your cause and how your organization is making an impact in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

What are the main responsibilities? Who will the volunteer report to (your unit, section, stakeholders)? Volunteers want to be instrumental, gain experience and hone professional skills. Describe the meaningful work your volunteer will do, while giving them room to grow.

List the ‘must have’ and ‘good to have’ languages, skills, key competencies and strengths. Specify technical skills for IT, medical or engineering assignments. Ensure you include computer skills and any necessary functional skills or documentation requirements such as driving licences etc. Do not include fiduciary duties, high levels of accountability, financial responsibilities or delegated financial authority.

Try not to rush your hiring process. Factor in time to find the right volunteer and recognize that a strong candidate will need to make arrangements before starting.

Social calling (making connections, new experiences and living abroad) is a great motivator for prospective volunteers. Clearly outline who they will help, and how. What impact might their assignment have and what can they expect? How will the volunteering experience be good for you both?

What minimum education requirements does the position demand? Secondary, undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate education? What subject areas are most relevant to the assignment and conducive to a successful experience? International Relations, Engineering, Development Studies?

Start with where you are based. Describe your climate, any necessary vaccinations and visas, before helping volunteers imagine how life will be. Mention living conditions, where they might stay and advise them on local medical and security services.


Check against our (above) criteria and finalize your description of assignment (see "DOA, Templates and Forms" tab).