Three Ways to Build Awareness of Your Mentoring Program

Evans_awareness of mentoring program August 25, 2022 By: Valerie M. Evans, CAE

You may have developed an excellent mentoring program, but it won’t be successful without active participation. Here’s a look at how to sell the benefits to both prospective mentors and mentees.

The success of your mentoring program stems from your ability to engage and excite your members about its benefits. Whether you're implementing a senior to junior, professional, reverse, or peer-to-peer mentoring format, a successful program facilitates knowledge sharing and allows members to learn from each other. It also helps to bridge the gap between different generations, giving younger professionals an opportunity to gain knowledge from senior-level professionals.

For the program to be successful, you must sell the benefits to both prospective mentors and mentees by communicating its value, which begins with attracting the right mix of participants, followed by an effective measuring and reporting strategy.

Find Program Champions

Implementing an ongoing strategy to identify internal champions who will be able to serve as mentors and dedicated supporters is a key first step in developing a successful program. Internal champions are members who can influence, encourage, and motivate others to get involved. The role of champions is vital to helping potential participants understand the program’s benefits by sharing information about their own career path and by providing guidance, motivation, emotional support, and even role modeling.

To grab prospective mentees’ attention, send the invitation from a senior champion leader to signal that this is an important initiative for the growth of the organization's early career members.
Since your board is already sold on the program, begin by recruiting them as your champions. Also look to local chapter and special interest group leaders, as well as committee and council members, who can fulfill needs of your program, such as expanding specific areas of expertise. These members have a stake in the future growth of the industry and the organization and can help guarantee not only that your program will hit its targets but also that the types of individuals you recruit will also be up to the task.

Engage Mentees

The next step is to announce the mentoring program to prospective mentees. Explain to them how participating in your mentorship program benefits their professional growth. While early career and new members are excellent prospects, members transitioning between careers is another group to consider when growing your program. Your membership database should contain useful demographic information, so start by sending out a personal invitation that draws a clear picture of how this will benefit them.

To grab prospective mentees’ attention, send the invitation from a senior champion leader to signal that this is an important initiative for the growth of the organization's early career members. Market your program in waves using your website, email, social media, and newsletters. Each recruitment effort should look different for your different audiences, so get your marketing team on board to communicate your message across various platforms.

No matter how you decide to match mentors and mentees, a good rule of thumb is to have all participants complete a profile. Profile questions should include a range of information to aid in making meaningful matches such as:

  • mutual areas of professional interest
  • schedules/availability
  • geographical proximity

A good rule of thumb is to limit questions to 10 to 12 and include a question that asks what the participants want to give and gain from the program. 

Measure Success

Having profile information about your participants will also be helpful in measuring the effectiveness of your program. Deciding on what those metrics are should have been built into the program from the start and tie closely with the overall goals of the program. When setting metrics, remember if you can't measure it, you can’t improve it.

Start off with having a goal around recruitment, making sure to always have a good balance between mentors and mentees: Track the number of active mentoring relationships and engage separately with mentors and mentees to get their honest feedback and concerns.

Other ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your program is by conducting surveys to determine if mentees achieved the goals that were identified in their mentee profile.

Drawing connections between interested mentors and mentees can result in long-lasting professional relationships, so start off with clearly communicating what each participant can potentially gain from the program.

This is the final article in a three-part series on mentoring. Part one discussed strategies for starting a mentoring program, while part two looked at different formats.

Valerie M. Evans, CAE

Valerie M. Evans, CAE, is vice president, governance and membership, at the American Society of Addiction Medicine in Rockville, Maryland.