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Investing in Volunteers – views from an assessor series

Published: 17/03/22 | Categories: Volunteering, Author: Perminder H Dhillon

Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the UK quality standard for volunteering. Perminder Dhillon is a Training Consultant and Coach, as well as an assessor for IiV, and here she tells us about her experience.


Organisations are innovative, particularly in their work with volunteers. This is what impacted me the most when I developed national and local inclusive volunteering programmes for the voluntary sector,and this is what impacts me now as an IiV assessor.

In my opinion, the IiV Award process enables this innovation to continue. It provides a great opportunity for organisations to showcase what they do well on volunteering and more importantly to focus on how they can continue to develop best practice.

The detailed facilitated timetable allows for ‘stock taking’ and for forward planning. This is even more important today as we all come to terms with new ‘normalities’ following the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. My role as an assessor is to motivate and encourage organisations through this process and support them to be ready for their assessment for the award. Evaluative conversations and signposting to external resources are an important aspect of this, as are in-depth conversations about inclusive volunteering.

I work with a number of organisations and for some, it is their first IiV journey. Others are renewing their IiV Award, but all organisations are enthusiastic and keen to learn as well as to share their expertise, as the comments below demonstrate.


 ‘The Investing in Volunteers journey has been an exceptionally rewarding experience for us at Circus Eruption. It has given us the opportunity and framework to bring trustees, staff and volunteers together to discuss the improvement of our volunteering offer. As well as this we have had the support of a wonderful assessor who has given us the guidance and tools to help make our ideas a reality.’

Mathew Belcher – Volunteer Coordinator
Circus Eruption

A free Integrated Youth Charity in Swansea, South Wales

For information on Jobs at Circus Eruption please click here.


‘Engaging with the IiV accreditation process has helped our organisation to consider the ways in which we work with volunteers which we wouldn’t have considered unless taking part in the assessments. It has helped us to categorise volunteers and to develop their interests and skills.’

Joe Arrowsmith
Community facilitator

The Wilderness Trust are running four projects currently, for more information please click here.


‘I work for Vale of Clwyd Mind as Business Development Officer. Part of my role includes Quality Assessments and I am the organisation’s Acting Volunteer Coordinator.

This is my third assessment with IIV although the organisation was accredited before I came on the scene!

Through our Investors in Volunteers journey, there have been many changes in the process – but each one has helped us to grow and improve in terms of how we support our volunteers.

Our organisation exists to support people experiencing mental health issues and we do that by supporting people with enduring (lifelong) problems as well as introducing projects to help those with low / medium mental health issues back into a normality via mental wellbeing support.

There is no doubt that we could not achieve what we do without the support of our volunteers – so we aim to look after them!

Each IIV accreditation has helped us to rethink and improve our processes for example:

Introducing an Annual World Café event so that everyone (including volunteers) can come up with ideas and suggestions as to how the organisation moves forward in the following year. An analysis of what people say helps us to focus on what everyone believes is important – and how to achieve it. Those views are included in our organisational strategy and operational plan which we work to throughout the year. We then report back to everyone on what we have done through our regularly updated document – ‘You said – We’re working on it –We did!’

Since our last assessment we have introduced a quarterly Volunteer Forum – and we get some tough views as well as good ideas that we put into practice.

Our volunteers help us deliver walking groups, allotment projects, music groups, drop ins, craft activities, My Generation courses and more –and without them it would not be possible to reach out to so many people.

We have recently put together an innovative project, supported by the Co-op Resilience Fund, to introduce a Social Prescribing project on board our vehicle DORIS (Denbighshire Outreach Rural Information Service). DORIS tours all rural areas in Denbighshire and involves GPs and a wide range of partners in helping people into happier lives.

Our Welsh speaking volunteers are with ’Doris on Tour’ every week helping to transform people’s lives – they are our ‘listening ear’ while staff are delivering much needed services.

We could not ask for more than that!’

Chris Southern
Business Development Officer

Vale of Clwyd Mind is a county-wide service designed for, and often delivered by, people who have lived experience of mental health problems.

Please read more here.


For more information on the Investing in Volunteers award, please visit