An interview with Sue Pirks at GreenHouse Mentoring which has achieved the IiV Standard no less than three times: “It is an integral part of who we are!”.
What have been the overall benefits of achieving the IiV accreditation?
IiV demonstrates to potential volunteers, sponsors and supporters that GreenHouse Mentoring (GHM) is serious about providing the best Mentoring Service possible.
How would you describe the effects of IiV on your organisation?
IiV (along with the Mentoring & Befriending APS) allows us to give confidence to the parents, guardians and carers of young people that we provide a quality service and that we will look after their young people.
To volunteers it provides an assurance that what we say is true and that we really do care for our volunteers. It gives them the confidence to volunteer with us and thereby help young people in Luton. Being able to provide a certificate for volunteers underwritten with the IiV logo is a help to many as they look to gain or re-gain paid employment.
For funders and supporters, they know they are helping an organisation that believes in quality and excellence and is one that are open to being tested and checked against industry best practice.
Lastly for GHM, the regular 3 yearly cycle gives us an opportunity to regularly review our policies and procedures against a national standard.
In your opinion, what is the relevance of IiV for the voluntary sector?
IiV is extremely relevant to the voluntary sector. As a charity providing Mentoring Services to the local community, we cannot do this without our wonderful volunteers. Maintaining the IiV standard means we continuously improve our quality and services.
Secondly, by applying for IiV we get an independent assessment of our policies, procedures, training and services through our volunteers’ views and the assessor’s expertise.
Do you have any advice for other organisations on how to work towards and get the most out of the IiV award?
IiV does require some commitment, time and finance.
Before applying to IiV it is important to have a clear handle on all the policies, procedures, training that your organisation does. We recommend the creation of a master set of documents that are signed and readily available for the assessor. A copy of any standard reports that are produced is also advisable.
Because the cost is high for a small organisation, we would recommend finding a company or sponsor that is willing to source the cost of the assessment.
The main preparation though is to treat your Volunteers well. We love to treat everyone in a uniquely personal way and help them to unlock their potential, and this includes volunteers.
In fact, GHM has spent considerable time identifying the outcomes for young people we hope to achieve. When doing this, we realised that there are also outcomes for our volunteers and we now look to help them achieve their goals too.
Why did you decide to repeatedly renew your IiV award?
The repeated award of IiV says a lot about our organisation - we value excellence and believe in our volunteers - we have now been awarded the plaque three times and we will be going for a fourth this year!
Any other comments?
We use IiV in our interview process to encourage recruits and again in our training of mentors. In addition, we use the picture of us with the IiV plaque on our website and in promotions. It is an integral part of who we are!