Each month, Volunteer Calgary chats with a manager of volunteers with one of our non-profit member organizations to share their personal success stories and best practices in the field of Volunteer Management.
Michelle Mungar Lumley
Coordinator, Volunteer Programs
Ronald McDonald House® Southern Alberta
Ronald McDonald House® Southern Alberta (RMHSA) provides a home away from home for sick children and their families. The House would not be able to run without the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who support families in many different capacities.
Currently, RMHSA has over 700 volunteers who handle everything from reception, administration, housekeeping, baking and event support.
Michelle Mungar Lumley is the Coordinator, Volunteer Programs, responsible for working with this passionate group of volunteers.
With a background in Public Relations, Mungar Lumley started her career working in sponsorship and event planning. Working closely with volunteers for almost five years, she began to develop a passion for the work volunteers do and soon found herself on a new career path as a manager of volunteers.
Mungar Lumley’s passion for working with volunteers and RMHSA’s structured volunteer program helped her ease into her new role. The House has a volunteer manual which contains policies and various pieces of information necessary to ensure a successful and meaningful experience for volunteers.
“I had a role in making changes and updates to the information available, as well as policies,” says Mungar Lumley. “I learned very quickly that in order to have a successful, progressive volunteer program we need to be able to change and adapt to the needs of the organization and the volunteers.”
Mungar Lumley stresses the importance of volunteer recognition especially in an organization that is dependent on volunteers. On a day-to-day basis, she ensures that there is ongoing volunteer recognition throughout the House in the form of thank you cards, chocolates and small tokens of appreciation. Every year, they hold a volunteer appreciation event to celebrate everyone’s contributions.
Another way they ensure that volunteers feel valued is by asking for their input on recognition through surveys and in person feedback. “Making sure that volunteers feel supported, appreciated and listened to is vital to an effective and successful volunteer program,” says Mungar Lumley.
Mungar Lumley finds the most challenging aspect of her job to be balancing the many different hats that she wears: from providing support to volunteers and families, responding to email to managing statistics and building programs.
“On the upside, I never quite know which direction my day will go and that is an exciting aspect to my job,” says Mungar Lumley.
“I love working with the dynamic volunteer team and seeing all the volunteers grow. Every day I get to come in to a meaningful workplace and work alongside people from all walks of life, while making a difference to families going through a hard time.”
Tips from Michelle Mungar Lumley:
- Listen to the volunteers, ask for their feedback. We have made some amazing changes to the volunteer program because of volunteer feedback.
- Giving volunteers an outlet to network with the many other volunteers they rarely get to see has contributed greatly to the level of satisfaction in the volunteer program.
- Read, network and soak up as much information as possible. There are many resources and tons of information available on the internet.
- Ask questions. When I started managing volunteers, it was a relief to know I could go to other managers of volunteers to ask questions and get feedback.
- Volunteer Calgary has also been a great resource through their training programs and availability when I have a question.
Check out the Volunteer Calgary website to find out how you can volunteer with Ronald McDonald House of Southern Alberta.