Investing in Volunteers has been designed to be an effective and rigorous process to ensure that your volunteers receive the best possible management support and your organisation receives maximum benefit from your volunteers' contribution.
The standard is based on the four areas of volunteer management:
- Planning for volunteer involvement
- Recruiting volunteers
- Selecting and matching volunteers
- Supporting and retaining volunteers.
These four areas have been divided into nine indicators and 46 practices, which have been devised by extensive consultation and pilot work with volunteer-involving organisations.
We have broken down the Investing in Volunteers process into six easy steps, detailed below.
Step one: Getting started
By now you will have worked with your Country Manager to agree how you will work together to complete the IiV process, you will have registered on the website and are ready to begin the process.
The next step is an introductory workshop or briefing session where the Advisor/Assessor will be providing information and answering your questions. S/he will explain the six steps to achieving Investing in Volunteers, what you need to do at different steps in the process, and what you can expect from your Advisor/Assessor. You will be introduced to the Standard and offered some initial guidance in interpreting the indicators.
There will also be information about available guidance and support, including on this website. By the end of the workshop, the Advisor/Assessor will have enabled you to develop a provisional timetable for you to achieve Investing in Volunteers and prepared you to move to the next step.
Step Two: Self Assessment
You will complete a Self Assessment Checklist to benchmark where your organisation currently is in relation to the standard. When you have done this you will send the completed form to your Advisor/Assessor with three pieces of written material evidence.
The Advisor/Assessor will read through your self assessment and make a judgement about whether you are on track. S/he will check that you have interpreted the standards appropriately and identified relevant / current evidence. Based on the written evidence you have submitted, the Advisor/Assessor will check that your ratings seem appropriate.
The Advisor/Assessor will make judgements based on the information available. A full assessment can only be made at the assessment visit when interviews are carried out.
The Advisor/Assessor will provide verbal feedback to you either over the telephone or face-to-face, within ten working days of receiving the self assessment. During the discussion s/he will guide you about the gaps you need to address in your development plan. If the Advisor/Assessor feels that you will need additional support and assistance to achieve the IiV standard, s/he will advise you.
Within fifteen working days of the self assessment, the Advisor/Assessor will provide written feedback, summarising what has been said in the verbal feedback.
Step Three: Development
Using the feedback you have received on your self assessment you will establish your development plan using the template provided through involving appropriate people in your organisation and perhaps with the support of an Advisor or local Volunteer Centre / Volunteer Development Agency. It is the organisation’s responsibility to check that all their policies and procedures meet good practice standards.
When you are satisfied with your development plan, you will forward this to your Advisor/Assessor for approval. If the Advisor/Assessor feels that the plan does not address all the identified gaps, s/he will discuss this with you.
It is now your responsibility to work on the gaps identified to bring your practice up to standard. An Advisor can help you, or a local Volunteer Centre/Volunteer Development Agency. There are also resources on this website. Your Assessor will not be involved at this stage.
Step Four: Assessment Visit(s)
You will decide with your Advisor/Assessor when you feel you are ready for assessment and agree an appropriate date(s) for the assessment visit with your appointed Assessor.
Four weeks before the assessment visit the Assessor will expect to receive confirmation from you that you have completed the activities in your agreed development plan. If appropriate, you may forward a revised copy of your self assessment (Self Assessment Checklist). You will also submit lists of key stakeholders who may be interviewed using templates provided.
At least ten working days before the assessment visit, your Assessor will ask you to set up a schedule of interviews, based on your lists. S/he may also request copies of additional written / material evidence e.g. a new policy that you have developed.
The Assessor’s purpose at the assessment visit is: to gather sufficient information so that s/he can judge whether the practices in your organisation meet the IiV standard.
During the assessment visit, the Assessor will interview the main contact person, volunteers and other stakeholders using the agreed schedule. S/he will also wish to look at documentary evidence.
You will receive verbal feedback either at the end of the visit or within three days of the visit. The Assessor will make one of the following three judgements:
- Your organisation has met the standard
- Your organisation has met the standard subject to certain conditions being fulfilled in an agreed timeframe (usually 3 months)
- Your organisation has not met the standard.
Within ten working days of the visit, the Assessor will send to you an assessment report.
In the event that an organisation feels that they have received an unfair decision, they may appeal. In the first instance this is to the Lead Assessor/Country Manager. If it is not resolved, then a further appeal may be made to the UK Quality Assurance Panel which comprises of representatives of the four national development agencies. Its decision is final.
Step 5: Local and national quality assurance
After the assessment visit, the Assessor will submit her/his report to the quality assurance process for verification. A Lead Assessor in each country will consider the report and ensure that your Assessor has met all quality assurance requirements and that they agree with the Assessor’s decision. The report will then go to the next national Quality Assurance Panel which considers reports from all countries. You will be informed after this meeting if your organisation has been successful.
If you do not yet meet the IiV standard, the Assessor will work with you to confirm where the gaps lie, what you need to do, and agree with you when you can apply for re-assessment.
In either case, the Assessor may be asked by the Lead Assessor or the Quality Assurance Panel to account for judgements made.
Step 6: Achievement of the Award
You will be contacted regarding the outcome of the Quality Assurance Panel and you will be provided with information on use of the logos, how to publicise your award and giving feedback to your Country Manager. You will be given a certificate and plaque to display for three years. It is now time to celebrate!
If you would like to begin the process, register your interest now.