Two-time IiV Achiever Reading Museum gives an account of the impact of achieving IiV on their organisation and what advice they would give to fellow Heritage organisations.
In your opinion, what is the relevance of IiV for the Arts & Heritage sector?
Organisations across the sector are dependent on volunteers being able to support the work they do. We felt it was important to recognise that if volunteers are showing commitment to us in their time and energy we needed to make clear we had a commitment to them. IiV has helped focus us in making sure we properly support, supervise and develop volunteers.
Do you have any advice for other organisations on how to get the most out of their IiV Award?
The best advice we could give is to make sure you work with volunteers through the process. Be open to their suggestions and listen to their criticisms. They do also give you loads of encouragement and support! At the end of the day their contribution to the process helps you see it from the volunteers' viewpoint and will develop a stronger volunteer programme.
How would you describe the effects of IiV on your organisation on the longer term?
It has been strategically important to us. We have influenced our local authority policy on volunteer management and become a place other departments come for advice. The IiV has helped us make a clear distinction between the work of staff and the role of volunteers. This has increased confidence in colleagues that the volunteers are not here to replace staff – a genuine fear in some before we first got IiV.
IiV is now a key component to our funding bids. In 2016 we were successful in getting major funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). One of the aspects to this is the number of volunteering hours we have said we will deliver. Having the IiV has shown the HLF and other funders that we are not paying lip service when making commitments about volunteering but that we do truly value their time and will deliver with them.
What have been the most important changes in your organisation as a result of IiV?
We have gained confidence through it. We are able to say that what we are doing is good practice and that has reassured the team from management down. Having that confidence has meant we are able to really embed volunteering in the organisation. It is a key part of our funding bids and is recognised in the Museum’s forward plan. It has helped us see volunteering is an important part of our future and commit to that.