“A positive and worthwhile experience, ensuring we continue to challenge ourselves as an organisation to do the very best for our wonderful volunteers.”
Forestry England’s Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, successfully renewed their Investing in Volunteers (IiV) award this July, having held the standard since January 2016.
In this case study, they tell us about their renewal journey, their amazing volunteers, and give advice to other organisations on how to make the most out of their IiV journey.
What have been the overall benefits of renewing your IiV award?
The IiV journey allowed us to focus on our volunteer programme and to recognise all the progress and developments we continued to make from first achieving the award.
It provided a platform to evaluate the programme and get feedback on all aspects from a broad selection of our volunteers. It was another way to show our volunteers how much we value them and the contribution they make. The IiV journey helped us listen, and our volunteers say they feel ‘listened to' from this experience.
How would you describe the effects of the IiV journey on your organisation?
Renewing our IiV demonstrates to our visitors and external organisations our commitment to our volunteers and to providing a first-class volunteer programme. The development points raised as part of the assessment have also given us a renewed focus for continuing to move forward over the coming years.
It shows staff across the organisation how much goes in to managing volunteers - that it is a complex process and requires input from everyone.
How did you find the assessment process?
The assessment process was challenging and did involve pulling together a wide range of evidence – but this was useful as it allowed us to see the progress we had made since the previous assessment and identify possible areas for further improvement. Our assessor helped us through this and answered queries we raised.
We had a 3 day assessment visit and found the feedback talks at the end of each day really helpful. The points raised were really useful to carry forward as we continue to develop our volunteer programme.
It has been a good challenge!
What advice would you give to other organisations working towards or considering IiV?
1. Allocate enough time.
2. Ensure that the whole organisation is on board.
3. Keep everyone informed of progress as you go along.
4. Be organised and methodical in your approach.