The Investing in Volunteers (IiV) team in Wales and the rest of the UK is celebrating a whole year since the online launch of the new award. Korina Tsioni, IiV Manager for Wales, tells us all about it
WHAT IS IiV
The Investing in Volunteers Award is a quality standard that can benefit any volunteer involving organisation. If you are working in an organisation that involves volunteers, then Investing in Volunteers would be beneficial for you and your organisation.
IiV is a UK-wide award, which the Operations Group runs in Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. It strengthens your processes internally and externally, looking at the whole journey you offer to your volunteers, and gives you tools and skills to improve your practices.
As a process, the Investing in Volunteers standard has six straightforward steps.
- Get started – Register online and attend the introductory workshop
- Self – Assessment – work with your team to map down what you do well and what you need to improve against the 6 indicators you will find in the standard
- Improvement plan – come up with a plan with your assessor on how to improve, complete the actions of the plan
- Assessment – meet with your Assessor who will check progress
- Achieve the Award – receive a feedback report from your Assessor, your award is achieved after the Lead Assessor’s approval that you have met the standards of the award
- Continual improvement and renewal – at the end of the three year period after achievement you will need to renew your award. In the meantime, keep working on your practices
IiV IS A TEAM JOB, FOR US AND FOR YOU
It has been a whole year since we launched the new and refreshed Investing in Volunteers standard. My colleague, Nicola Nicholls, and myself have been working hard behind the scenes to deliver the new standard in Wales. We have had 49 registrations since last April, which is five times more than an average year previously. This meant much more work, with an internal team smaller than ever before.
We could not have delivered this project without the great contributions from our pool of Assessors and Lead Assessors. We totally rely on the work that our external partners deliver, representing WCVA. We have a group of external partners, who are newly recruited and trained IiV Assessors, as well as some more experienced IiV Assessors and Lead Assessors who work brilliantly together, and we are grateful for the unique skills, ideas and professionalism they all bring individually to the IiV team in Wales.
During the last year we also had the opportunity to work closer with the rest of the Operations Group and co-deliver this project consistently across the UK. Brilliant colleagues from Northern Ireland and Scotland have been meeting with me regularly, discussing case studies, facing challenges and working through teething problems as a team to ensure consistency and a smooth process for new projects across all nations.
Sandra Adair, Investing in Volunteers Manager England:
‘What a year it has been since we launched the new standard! Really enjoyed working with so many new organisations as they started their IiV journeys. Our teams of Assessors and Lead Assessors fully embraced the new standard and adapted to the new systems and processes, even doing most of it online under the backdrop of Covid!’
Katy Penman, Investing in Volunteers Manager from Scotland:
‘Following a tremendous amount of collaboration across the sector to develop and launch the new standard, we’ve seen just as much commitment and hard work from everyone involved in IiV across the UK in the year since its launch. Congratulations to all of those who have achieved and been working towards IiV during this time and thank you to organisations who have embraced the changes and travelled with us on this transformative journey!’
Investing in Volunteers is a standard that refers to teams as well. As a process, it lasts 13 months and will help you develop stronger team working skills within your organisation, as colleagues, volunteers and Trustees work closely to deliver the standard.
Some top tips from previous achievers include sharing the work among colleagues in your organisation, keeping the momentum and including IiV in your weekly meetings and plans, working steadily on it and keeping it in your agenda during the whole of the 13 month period.
Identifying colleagues, volunteers and trustees with specific skills, experience and knowledge relevant to the standard will help you allocate appropriately different indicators to the right person. Celebrating your volunteers and including them in the process will teach all parties involved a lot and will highlight areas for improvement.
Achieving the award is a collective success, and should be celebrated and shared accordingly!
- Speak to your funder
If you are interested in achieving the Investing in Volunteers standard you should speak to your funder and request, if possible, financial support towards IiV fees and time. There are many grants that support IiV costs, including the Volunteering Wales Grant, Volunteering Wales Strategic Grants and the Third Sector Resilience Fund Survive and Thrive grants.
- Speak to your team
As mentioned above, the best way to achieve Investing in Volunteers is to work closely with your team and utilise all capacity and resources. This exercise alone will teach you a lot of things! Speak to your colleagues, speak to your volunteers and trustees and come up with a plan together. Figure out why and how you are going to tackle this as a team, and start noticing things you do that could be evidence of your excellent work!
- Be honest
The only way this process will work for you and bring you the most beneficial outcomes is for you to be honest with yourselves. Map what is working well, and celebrate it, but equally importantly, map where there are gaps and try to find ways to close them. This process will help you a lot towards bid writing, working with colleagues, receiving constructive criticism and realising things that you may have taken for granted or have been pushing under the rug!
MORE ON IiV
Join us in the IiV journey and make the most of your time with our brilliant IiV team in Wales!