‘Investing in Volunteers was a fantastic experience that helped us refine our volunteering process and ensured we had consistency throughout the organisation. Our assessor was very friendly and helpful and put us at ease throughout. Very much recommended!’
The Refugee and Migrant Centre successfully achieved Investing in Volunteers (IiV) in January 2019 – a fantastic achievement. In this case study, Craig Hands, Volunteer Manager, talks us through his organisation’s first IiV journey.
The Refugee and Migrant Centre (RMC) supports the community by providing advice, guidance and casework around immigration, housing, homelessness, destitution, welfare, education and health. RMC also provide English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, dedicated support with citizenship and/or employment and run two resettlement schemes for vulnerable Syrian refugees.
RMC has offices in Wolverhampton, Walsall and Birmingham and works with clients from across the Black Country and Birmingham.
What have been the overall benefits of achieving your IiV award?
‘It gave us clear guidance of what and how we needed to improve and refine with a simple framework to get the whole organisation involved. It brought everyone together to push us forward, and achieving IiV celebrated the great work our volunteers do every day’.
‘In the last year, we have made our service more user friendly, formalised our volunteer risk assessments across offices, created clearer volunteer specific policy and recorded volunteer impact more accurately. We’ve also created a more inclusive organisation, amongst many other things.’
How would you sum up your IiV experience?
‘IiV was a fantastic experience that helped us refine our volunteering process and ensured we had consistency throughout the organisation. Our assessor was very friendly and helpful and put us at ease throughout. Very much recommended!’
What impact has the IiV journey had on the following?
‘They are given additional support and a clearer process during their time with us. We ensured volunteers were at the heart of the process and involved at every stage’.
‘IiV highlighted the importance of our volunteers and showed our volunteers just how much value they add to the organisation. Abbey, an RMC volunteer for over two and a half years said: “I have felt that my work has been invaluable…. For me it is all about helping those in need. I have gained new skills and above all I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have done”’.
‘Recognition for the work they put into working with and supporting volunteers’
‘Great recognition on behalf of the organisation they help to oversee’
‘A quick and easy way for external partners to see that we have a good quality volunteer process’
‘Once we have put up the awards, they will also be able to see the impact and may have more chance of wanting to get involved’
‘It has and will help our bid writers to apply for future funding, and it shows we use their money for quality investments’
What were the main challenges for your organisation in achieving IiV?
2. Managing to get volunteers in on the assessment days
How was your experience with your IiV assessor?
‘Our assessor was very approachable. He pushed us when we needed, but also gave us space and time to get on with the work. He made our volunteers and staff feel very comfortable which allowed them to speak freely. We received very useful feedback and enjoyed working with him.’
What advice would you give to other organisations working towards IiV?
1. Go on with an open mind and be willing to change things
2. Make sure you get key members of the team involved (especially volunteers)
3. Use it as a platform to build on further