Inspire rewarded with the Investors in Volunteers Standard for a fourth time, demonstrating a strong culture of encouragement and support, to help individuals get involved and achieve their potential through volunteering!

We’ve invested in volunteers since 2011!  Why Investing in Volunteers matters.

“Being able to see others smile, laugh and have fun through my volunteering, is what it’s all about” – Inspire Volunteer.

Since first achieving the Investors in Volunteers (IiV) quality standard for excellence in volunteer management, in 2011, there is no question that volunteering has evolved and as an organisation we have had to adapt to these changes.  There is one thing that has remained the same though, ensuring we provide a volunteering experience built on a strong culture of encouragement and support, allowing each individual to realise their full potential.  

“It has changed the direction of my life and made me more employable.  I would not be doing the job I am now without being involved as a volunteer with Inspire”. 

Accelerating these changes has been our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges faced in light of the circumstances.  As a result of the pandemic, the wider landscape for volunteering has changed and we are all adapting to a ‘new normal’.  People’s time has become even more precious and we know some wish to volunteer from home, or as-and-when-they-can to impact their local communities.  

At Inspire, we saw volunteering roles move to the comfort of people’s homes, meeting digitally, hosting quizzes and creative workshops or just a comforting conversation.  As we have emerged from the pandemic we have seen an increase to our in-person volunteering roles, perhaps a recognition to the social and wellbeing benefits that come when we spend time together.  There’s a balance to strike here though.  We must be flexible and have the ability to offer a range of volunteering opportunities, alongside that of our formal volunteering roles.

“I have seen first-hand the difference volunteers make to others and how they are encouraged by Inspire to pursue opportunities with unwavering support from the organisation. Inspire has helped countless volunteers rehabilitate into society and later, employment, especially after the lockdowns.”

Retaining our Investing in Volunteers Standard provided us with a timely opportunity to assess and review how we have been doing in response to adapting our volunteering framework against the ‘new normal’, alongside the new six quality standards set out within this gold standard for volunteering.  It’s not just a process to a tick a box or to continue displaying the IiV logo alongside your volunteering materials.  It’s about taking the time to make sure your volunteering framework is fit for purpose, that it reflects the environment you work within, is inclusive for all and has the ability to continue building strong and beneficial relationships with your volunteers.  This approach will promote positive outcomes across your volunteering community, staff and other key stakeholders.

Core to retaining the standard was our IiV Steering Group, made up with volunteers and staff from across Inspire services.  A key contributor to the working group was our Volunteer Strategy Co-Chair and Inspire volunteer, Lewis Robinson, who summarised the process by saying, This renewal status represents courage and devotion from staff and volunteers who each play an integral role in our communities; unequivocally helping others to fulfil their full potential”.

Successfully renewing our IiV standard doesn’t mean we press the pause button until the next time – there is always more that can be achieved.  We are committed to developing and improving our volunteering framework, investing in our volunteer’s future and skills because we know by doing so, we will enhance their experience.  We want to retain volunteers and strike new partnerships, build upon our established corporate relationships, attracting a diverse group of volunteers to a range of flexible and formal roles. 

“I love being helpful, even just making the tea, opening a door for someone with mobility issues, sitting with someone who needs a little bit of support, chatting with the members and having a bit of craic with them. The best thing for me is that I got support from inspire when I needed it.”

It’s up to us to continue being innovative in response to the changes taking place around us and within our own environments.  After all, who doesn’t want to create moments that see others smile, laugh and have fun through their volunteering contribution – that’s why investing in volunteering matters!

 “Volunteers are at the heart of Team Inspire and we are delighted to continue our commitment to create a sector-leading volunteer experience for all Inspire volunteers, by retaining the Investors in Volunteers standard” – Kyle Duncan, Volunteer Co-ordinator.