Published 22 September 2014
A national programme encouraging the highest standards of volunteer management is about to celebrate 10 years of helping charities and other organisations across Wales to enhance their reputations.
Investing in Volunteers (IiV) - the UK quality standard for good practice by groups involving volunteers - has been achieved by 61 organisations countrywide, including charities such Bullies Out, Age Cymru Swansea Bay and Headway Cardiff.
Achieving it has a wide range of benefits, including demonstrating the organisation’s commitment and good practice, helping to attract and motivate volunteers and enhancing their experience.
And with increased competition for jobs, more employers regard volunteering as an important part of an applicant's CV, with IiV showing that volunteering experiences were with professionally-run bodies.
The 10th anniversary coincides with the 80th anniversary of umbrella body Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and is being marked in Wales with a series of events and offers designed to encourage more organisations to get on board. These include:
- As part of WCVA’s 80th birthday celebrations, eight member organisations who achieve IiV accreditation or re-accreditation by the end of 2015 will be selected to receive one year’s WCVA membership free.
The IiV standard is owned by the UK Volunteering Forum and managed by National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in England, Volunteer Now in Northern Ireland, Volunteer Scotland and Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).
The first Welsh organisation to be awarded IiV was NewLink Wales in 2005. The charity promotes access to local substance misuse agencies, helps build the capacity and effectiveness of such services across the country and trains volunteers to get involved in their work and gain qualifications.
Just before NewLink achieved its IiV, it set up its MILE project for ex-service users who wanted to move from being a client to being a volunteer - the first of its kind in Wales. A more recent venture is the NewSteps programme, which gives volunteering opportunities to substance misusers undergoing treatment.
'We were very excited to be the first it in Wales to achieve the Investing in Volunteers accolade,' said Volunteer Operations Manager Daljit Kaur Morris. ‘It really showed our commitment to volunteers and helped us with recruitment. I think it enhanced our credentials with funders too.
'When new staff are appointed, they can see the benchmark that we are committed to working to, and this helps us to deliver a consistent standard. It just becomes a part of how we work.'
NewLink has renewed the award twice since then. 'By going through the renewal process every three years, we refresh ourselves - and we try to be the best,' Daljit added. 'We like to be a role model for other organisations – and we do have a large sphere of influence.’
Cardiff-based BulliesOut became the first entirely volunteer-led organisation to achieve IiV in 2009, renewing in 2013. ‘The standard’s enabled us to comprehensively review our volunteer programme and publicly demonstrate our commitment to volunteering,’ said Chief Executive Linda James.
BulliesOut has established a number of new working practices as a result of working towards IiV, including promoting opportunities more widely to attract a greater diversity of volunteers, developing training courses to help them to be more confident and effective in their roles, and introducing new ways to allow volunteers to share their views and ideas.
‘We are delighted to once again achieve the standard,’ Linda added. ‘It’s a huge accolade to the hard work of both our volunteers and the organisation.’
- Follow Investing in Volunteers on Twitter using #IiVUK and visit the website: www.investinginvolunteers.org.uk
For more information please contact LynneReynolds on 029 2043 1718 or JackieHuybs on 07814 070239. WCVA website www.wcva.org.uk
Notes to editors:
- WCVA supports and represents the third sector in Wales, with more than 3,000 members including a wide range of organisations working on issues such as housing, economic regeneration, childcare, community development, transport, the environment and health.