Six Step Process

What is the six step process?

There are six steps to the Investing in Volunteers process; five to achieving the award, and then continual improvement and renewal as the sixth once you have achieved the award.

The six steps to the Investing in Volunteers process are described in more detail below.

Step 1: Getting Started

An introductory workshop will start you on your Investing in Volunteers (IiV) journey and help you to think about what you want to achieve. It aims to bring a range of stakeholders together, including volunteers, to think about how the standard applies to your organisation, what you want to achieve and how you will organise the process.

It will take place at your organisation or online and generally takes around two hours. Your assessor or adviser can also signpost you to sources of information and support. This workshop generally happens within a month of confirming the IiV contract.

Step 2: Self-Assessment

You will complete a self-assessment checklist to identify where your organisation is currently in relation to the standard. Your assessor or adviser will review it with you so you are clear about where you are. 

The assessor or adviser will also review three pieces of written evidence at this stage, one of these should be your volunteer policy or handbook, if you have one. The self-assessment generally happens within three months of confirming the IiV contract.

Step 3: Improving Practice

Once you have agreed with your assessor or adviser what activities you need to take to meet the standard or where you want to use the opportunity to improve practice over and above the standard you need to devise and undertake an improving practice plan to complete them, considering how you will involve others in your organisation.

  • Plan: the improving practice plan is usually produced within four months of confirming the IiV contract.
  • Improve: it usually takes six to eight months to complete activities within your improving practice plan from your plan sign off.

Step 4: Assessment

The assessor(s) will meet with your organisation, in person or online and by telephone and speak to volunteers, staff and board members as well as review written documentation to assess whether you meet the standard. They can make one of the following three judgments:

  • You have met the standard
  • You have met the standard with conditions.
  • You have not met the standard

They will provide verbal feedback and a full written report outlining their findings. The assessment generally happens within twelve months of confirming the IiV contract.

Step 5: Achieving and Celebrating the award

Your report will pass through a quality assurance process before being awarded to you. Quality Assurance will involve firstly a Lead Assessor who oversees your assessor’s involvement in the 6 steps and checks and improves the assessment report. Secondly, a UK Quality Assurance Panel, chaired by an independent chairperson and made up of a Lead Assessor and an Independent Panel member from each country, will conduct quarterly reviews of evidence provided as part of the organisations’ IiV journeys as well as annual moderation to maintain the quality and consistency of the standard.

The members of the UK Quality Assurance Panel are as follows:

  • Chairperson – Helen Papworth
  • England Independent – Ann Hall
  • N.Ireland Independent – Ivor Robinson
  • Scotland Independent – Vacant
  • Wales Independent – Debbie Clifford
  • Lead Assessor England – Janet Lewis-Jones
  • Lead Assessor N Ireland – Sandra Adair
  • Lead Assessor Scotland – Katy Penman
  • Lead Assessor Wales – Paul Bevan

Your award is made after Lead Assessor approval and you will receive a plaque and certificate which are valid for 3 years. Celebration and lots of publicity is encouraged now!

Step 6: Continual Improvement and Renewing your Award

Now you have achieved the award, this is your opportunity to continue to maintain the good practice you have achieved and to continue to improve, including any development points identified in your report.

Your organisation is awarded the Investing in Volunteers award for three years. It is hoped that you will renew this award to maintain the standard and be eligible to publicly demonstrate your commitment to best practice and meaningful, effective volunteering.

Your country manager will be in touch to talk through the renewal process and the benefits to you and your volunteers and answer any questions you have during the third year.