After reading my first blog post of this summer, I realized that I never introduced myself to readers of the Summer Fellows Blog! So here goes: My name is Sean Brewster and I am a senior at Otterbein University studying Music & Business with a concentration in Fine Arts Administration and a minor in Business Administration. I plan on actively pursuing a career in arts administration upon graduating from Otterbein, with the long-term goal of becoming an executive director of a large arts organization. A large part of my undergraduate career has involved internships at numerous arts and non-profit organizations in the Greater Columbus area. This pursuit of professional experience is what eventually led me to applying for and being chosen for the Columbus Foundation’s Summer Fellowship Program. I am beyond excited to have just finished the second week of this fellowship, time is truly flying!
My focus for this week’s blog post is going to be highlighting the ‘heart’ of Columbus’ Ronald McDonald House. The physical heart of this house is definitely the newly renovated kitchen found on the first floor. This space is one of the largest community spaces in the house and acts as a hub for most activities. Most days you can find a team of volunteers baking tasty treats for the house. Every single night a different meal team from the Columbus community comes into the house to cook the family’s dinner and then eat with them. Throughout the day, families come together to make breakfast and lunch before they head across the street to Children’s Hospital. Even the free McDonald’s coffee, which so far has been one of my favorite parts of this internship, has a home at the far end of the kitchen. While this may be the physical heart of this house, I propose that there is another living ‘heart’ of RMHC: the numerous individuals who volunteer their time at this house. Volunteers are truly the heart of this house.
This second week at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio has literally been a crash course in Volunteer Management 101 and Donor Stewardship 202. In preparation for my main project of creating a Volunteer Stewardship Plan, I have been thoroughly researching Volunteer Management, Donor Stewardship, and Volunteer statistics. Through this research, I have learned about the numerous similarities between a donor and a volunteer. Each of these constituents is vital to the success of a non-profit and each of them is equally important. A donor gives their money and a volunteer gives their time, it is important to note that each of these gifts are equally valuable. This is especially true when you consider that the estimated value of a volunteer’s time for 2013 was $22.55 per hour. At RMHC there are more than 275 volunteers that work nearly 35,000 hours each year, equaling an equivalent value of $1,000,000.00. Not only do these volunteers create a place for families to physically stay but they also make this 80,000 square foot facility a home. As you can see, Columbus’ Ronald McDonald House owes its clear success to these outstanding volunteers. It is my job in the coming weeks to develop a plan that is fitting for such a fantastic group of people. I am excited to create such a plan that consistently recognizes, rewards, and renews volunteers’ interest in RMHC.