As IiV Programme Manager, the number 1 concern I hear from organisations about to start Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is time constraints. When I go out and meet organisations the first question they ask is “how long does it take?”. I wish I could give them a definitive answer but it varies from organisation to organisation; factors such as number of staff involved, how embedded a volunteer programme is and how much of a priority IiV is within the organisation impact on the length of time taken to achieve. The majority of achievers take between 6-12 months.
To get the most out of the IiV process it is important to dedicate time and effort to each step, but at the same time each step is there to support you and the framework gives you the structure to follow. Following a tried and tested framework reduces the time needed to identify the way forward - IiV is the roadmap to good practice in volunteer management!
So here are my top time saving tips from someone that has been through the process.
- Create a steering group
The first step to IiV is delivery of a workshop which goes through the process in more detail and the skills needed to complete the self-assessment and development plan. The workshop is specific to your organisation so take advantage of this and invite staff and volunteers to take part although they may not support the creation of any new policies or documents they can provide feedback and give you a fresh point of view.
- Prioritise your development plan
You will be given a template to work through for your self-assessment, it gives suggestions of key evidence that can demonstrate your organisations commitment to that indicator- be as honest as you can as this will feed into your development plan. The number of development points will depend on how well embedded your policies and procedures are, some organisations will have more under a specific indicator where others may have them spread across all 9 indicators. Once you have a greater understanding of the development point’s plan which ones are going to be your priority. Whether that’s because it’s only one missing practice under that indicator or because it’s the indicator with the most missing practices or perhaps what is the most business critical it is important to identify an action plan and who needs to be involved. This gives you the ability to plan ahead.
- Set yourself (and others) deadlines
This is a marathon not a race which means that sometimes it can be pushed to the bottom of a to do list, be realistic with the timescales you set yourself and others, factor in interruptions and most of all liaise with your assessor regarding timescales so they can help keep you on track with deadlines.
- Remember why you’re doing this!
You want to provide the best possible experience for your volunteer, service users and staff this will take some time and effort but the reward at the end of it is worth it!