Four-time IiV achiever Kent Union gives an account of the impact of achieving IiV on their organisation and what advice they would give to fellow Students’ Unions.
Would you recommend IiV to other organisations?
Yes, have done to quite a few, especially Students’ Unions.
In your opinion, what is the relevance of IiV for students’ unions?
Volunteers are central to Students’ Unions, certainly a lot of what we do within Kent Union could not be done without our 2,000 volunteers, including running our student groups, listening to and acting on the student voice, campaigning and our community projects. As a result ensuring that volunteers have a positive experience is even more crucial. With so many volunteers, carrying out a whole variety of roles it is important that there is oversite of this to ensure there is a level of consistency across roles.
How would you sum up the IiV experience for your organisation?
For an organisation that is continually evolving it is a useful process to ensure that you are not only concentrating on developing your practices, but also ensuring that the foundations of volunteer management are still adequate and effective. It also enables you to reflect on where volunteers fit within your organisation and how this is demonstrated.
What have been the overall benefits of renewing your IiV accredition?
It raises the importance of Volunteer Management and ensures that everyone is on the same page, working in the same direction. Kent Union and GK Unions are continually evolving and growing so going through the process ensures that newer members of the team are fully up to date and on board with our ethos of volunteering.
Notable impact the IiV process has had on volunteers?
Increased focused on the quality of training and handover, resulting in us completing an organisational wide training review and all of our volunteering training being written and quality assured by an external training consultant. Training is now a lot more interactive, with great feedback from the volunteers.
Notable impact the IiV process has had on staff?
Greater joint working between departments and a greater understanding to the importance of best practice in Volunteer Management in providing an excellent volunteer experience.
What advice would you give to other organisations working towards IiV?
- Going through the process is very worthwhile but don’t under estimate the time it will take in order for your organisation to make the most of it.
- Ensure that senior managers are supportive of the process and involve them as much as possible.
- Talk to your volunteers about IiV and why your organisation is doing it so they are equally committed and supportive.
- Utilise other organisations who have gone through the process for support.
Since January 2007, when you achieved IiV for the first time, what have been the most important changes in your organisation as a result of IiV?
- Reviewing and rewriting all of our volunteer training.
- Considerably expanding the depth and variety of ways in which we reward and recognise our volunteers.
- Introducing a volunteer management course for staff and volunteers, which is currently being re-written so that it can be internally delivered meaning we can increase the numbers of volunteers going through the programme.
- Creating our ‘Employability Toolkit’ which enables students to record and reflect on their volunteering.
Why did you decide to consistently renew IiV since 2007?
Renewing IiV every 3 years enables us to regularly review our volunteer practices and procedures. It ensures we are providing a consistent level of support, guidance and training across our hundreds of volunteer roles, as well as enabling us to look back and reflect on how we have developed and grown as a volunteer organisation.
How would you describe the long term effects of IiV on your organisation?
Volunteering and Volunteer Management have become central to Kent Union. We are continually looking at how we can develop the volunteer experience with the support of other departments, some of which have no direct contact with volunteers, for example our Catering and License Trade department delivering the catering for our award ceremonies.