Mentorship is a practice that educational institutions and organizations can use to grow strong relationships within your community, facilitate learning and career development, and build personal and professional networks amongst alumni, students and members. A strong mentorship program is a powerful tool in the engagement world, resulting in positive sentiment and lifelong support and passion for your organization. The best part? It’s pretty simple to set up and even easier to maintain with the right tools. Here, we break down seven steps to achieving your mentorship program goals.
1. Set goals and assign a program lead
One of the most important—and often overlooked—keys to a successful mentorship program is goal setting and ownership. Before initiating a program, establish and discuss your goals both internally and with your platform partner if you have one. What does success look like for you?
Here are some common measures of success for mentorship programs:
- Number of mentor/mentee matches
- Alumni and student engagement
- Messages between mentor matches
- Participant retention
- Internship or job achievements
It’s also critical to assign a program owner, with accountability to achieving your mentorship program goals. A mentorship program will be set up for success with a clear plan and manager responsible for carrying out the plan.
2. Facilitate contact between mentors and mentees, but don’t become overbearing
One of the best parts about mentorship is that it opens the door to authentic relationships that benefit both the mentor and mentee. Use your mentorship software to facilitate matching, conversation prompts and engagement, but don’t overstep—let the relationships grow organically.
3. Gamify and make it fun
In a digital world where attention is a priceless currency, making your mentorship program fun and engaging encourages your participants to return to your platform time and time again. Things like groups, chat, badges and robust resources can drive excitement and engagement.
Milestones can encourage engagement and celebration, creating a sense of excitement and pride when mentors and mentees achieve a new milestone. Milestones might include things like new mentor/mentee pair matches, attending workshops or career fairs, and getting a job or internship. Some fun ways to make your mentorship program engaging and interactive include:
- Badges and recognition
- Milestone celebrations
- Success stories
- Video chatting
4. Share real-life success stories
A powerful way to drive more mentorship relationship success? Showing examples of ones that have already done it. Sometimes, it can be hard for a mentee or mentor to visualize real-world outcomes their relationship can bring. Use your platform to showcase tangible, measurable and inspiring success stories from mentor/mentee relationships that have led to success outside the walls of your school or organization.
Some success story ideas to consider:
- A relationship that resulted in an internship at a world-renowned company
- How a mentor trained their mentee on interview skills resulting in a dream job
- A mentor match that opened up highly relevant networking opportunities
5. Lean on your team
A truly successful and scalable mentorship program can’t run in a silo. Lean on your team, both internal and with your platform provider partner. For example, many higher education alumni teams work closely with the career services team to create a comprehensive support system for students and alumni. This, of course, includes your mentorship program. The role of the career services team in your mentorship program might include things like career advice, industry insights and guidance to current students on interview preparation.
With a mentorship platform that features a job directory, it makes it easy to connect alumni with relevant job opportunities in their chosen field and pair them with a mentor in that field to prepare them for the role.
You’ll also want to lean on your mentorship platform partner. A partner that shares accountability and works with you to:
- outline goals
- implement and onboard you to the platform
- analyze your progress
- help make adjustments when things aren’t performing as expected
…is critical to reaching mentorship success.
Strike gold and achieve your mentorship program goals
A school or nonprofit’s main mission is to guide their students or members to lifelong success. Facilitating a robust, meaningful mentorship program is one key to ensure your community gets the guidance and support they need to discover the right career path, find job opportunities and build employment skills. Gravyty is your partner in facilitating a meaningful, scalable mentorship program with proven results. Learn more.