My first week at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio has been one of the most exhausting and rewarding weeks of my life. I came into this fellowship with a driving passion for the arts and for the nonprofit sector; however I didn’t quite understand the clear impact that just one non-profit organization can make in a community. The Ronald McDonald House is the perfect example of a non-profit that continues to impact the lives of numerous families from around the world. RMHC is the one place in Columbus that acts as a ‘home-away-from-home’ for these families. The reason why this house can make such an impact is due to the countless volunteers that literally ‘run the house’. Approximately 250 housewarming volunteers donate their time to RMHC to make the house act as a full-service ‘hotel’ of sorts and to create a home-like environment. It is because of these volunteers that RMHC will soon become the world’s largest Ronald McDonald, housing the capabilities to comfortably fit 120 families.
I started my first week as a Summer Fellow at the Carriage House in the Columbus Foundation. This orientation session was a great way to meet the 10 other fellows and to become introduced with Dan Sharpe. Quickly after this session I headed over to the Ronald McDonald House over on 771 East Livingston to start my ten week residency!
I work with Kate Ziegler, the Volunteer Manager, who acts as the person who recruits, recognizes and retains the numerous RMHC volunteers. My main project that I will be working on during the next nine weeks is a Volunteer Stewardship Plan. This plan will hopefully turn the informal structures of recruiting, recognizing and retaining volunteers that are already in place, into a formal and organic structure that will streamline the entire volunteer management process.
A large part of what this plan will be based of the Donor Stewardship Plan that was just recently created by the Development Director, Angie Hartley. Most of my time spent during this first week has been talking with Angie about the creation of this plan and the processes found within it. Her input has been invaluable in my understanding of what a Stewardship plan should really look like. I have also met the ten other full-time staff members, each of whom explained their role at RMHC and how they might be affected by the Volunteer Stewardship Plan.
I am already extremely excited about creating this plan for RMHC, as I can see exactly how vital volunteers are for the success of the house. Hopefully, streamlining this process will allow the RMHC staff to consistently recognize volunteers that are doing a great job. I cannot wait to see what the next nine weeks have in store but I know that I will be learning so much about myself by helping to build up Columbus’ Home-Away-From-Home.