May 13, 2021 – “Small” Mentoring Organizations – a deeper conversation on managing a mentoring program with a small staff

Breakout Room Notes:

What efficiencies have you found that work well? How have you maximized your resources?

  • An all-hands on deck approach to mentor recruitment
  • We get teachers & staff (who aren’t a part of the mentoring program in our school) to recruit their friends and family members to serve as potential mentors
  • We hired someone explicitly to tackle recruiting and managing events (we have a small team of 5, and now 6 employees). 
  • We host 2-3 match events a month and it’s really taxing on our staff of 2. So, we have partnered with other youth serving and community organizations to co-host match events in our community. 
  • We have partnered with our municipality and had them pay for our match events and incorporate our matches into their parks/rec activities for free/cheap. 
  • I’m the sole person in my large organization who is working on mentoring. It has been really useful to ask colleagues in other departments or programs for their feedback as I’m making changes to the program design. 
  • We have 2 staff but each of is only part time. So at the beginning we talked about each other’s strengths and weaknesses – and then we divided and conquered. Each time something new comes up – we analyze strengths/weakness/capacity again and make a decision as to who will take it on. 
  • Staff working from home, working well together (built trust)
  • Amount of time not spent in the car; finding balance of what can be done via zoom and when to prioritize seeing people
  • Microsoft Teams Chat

What do you need help with? What resources do you need? (If you are able to help with any of these, please share in the comments or contact MC staff)

  • Would like shared resources on mentor training specific to immigrant and refugee populations (please share these here in the comments if you have them!)
  • Interested in sharing and maximizing resources in mentor recruitment
  • Working on expanding awareness in other communities
  • Cross race matching
  • DEI resources
  • Parent mentor groups (peer or group)
  • Mentor training specific to generational gap
  • Group mentoring supplement
  • Special needs parent groups
  • Latino mentor recruitment
  • We have had some great success in mentor recruitment…but during COVID our youth referrals and youth recruitment has done poorly…any ideas
    • Colleagues recommended partnering with schools, therapists, community health, and case/social workers at child-welfare to get referrals
  • Mentor Recruitment was the biggest need
    • Colleagues shared some solutions
      • Volunteer match was successful for one organization
      • Word of mouth
      • Requiring board members, staff and others to bring a name of a potential mentor each month to the staff person responsible for recruitment. 
      • Social Media has been more productive than it was before the pandemic in finding potential mentors
      • More potential mentors are looking for volunteer opportunities now that things are ‘reopening’ after covid. 
      • We have partnered with our local colleges’ sports teams to recruit mentors
      • We’ve had success going door-to-door on our main street with door clings (transparent stickers) to see if they would be willing to advertise as one of our partners to get the word out. 
  • Does anyone share mentors?
  • How do you get in schools?
    • Colleagues shared ideas around meeting with school counselors and talking to the PTSA first
  • DEI is the biggest challenge right now

Did any of the ideas shared in the Mentimeter interest you? What are the pros/cons of those ideas considered?

  • AmeriCorps VISTAs
  • Interested in finding in kind support
  • It’s helpful to see options, see other ways to help achieve the vision
  • Interested in learning more about sharing staff (more schools who want school based mentors) – Erin Miller from Partners in Routt County wants to connect with anyone who shares staff!
    • Colleagues wondered if school staff could be utilized

April 15, 2021 – Virtual Mentor Training

Resources from the Virtual Coffee:

  • Video recording of Audrey Reyes and Jan Maggard (Denver Kids) – LINK
  • Quick tips handout for virtual mentor training – LINK
  • Denver Kids’ training deck PDF – LINK
  • No cost Technical Assistance – LINK (email

Thank you to Denver Kids for sharing all of these great resources!

Breakout Room Notes:

What practices will you keep post-pandemic?

  • Challenge Foundation: 2 2-hour pre-match virtual training. Facilitated by a psychologist. 1 post-match training (6mos post-match). Sent out Mentor Binder & P&P in advance and asked questions/highlighted critical components in the virtual training. They have shortened their training during the pandemic – used to be a full-day in person training. They also do a 1-1 follow-up after training to check-in on the concepts & takeaways. Doing a youth-panel for the 2nd pre-match training. 
    • The most important thing to do is to host a student panel to share their experiences as mentees for the mentors to hear feedback from youth, especially about initiation. 
  • Links in Washington State: 2 hour pre-match training. Loves the idea of sending the content in advance and then quizzing them!!!
  • BBBS of CO – Prematch & Post-match training. Feeling confident that virtual does have value and CAN work! And in fact virtual does really support accessibility.
  • Sally Stoker – Concern about the breakout room – can you ‘see and hear’ all of the responses of mentors to ensure that mentors’ responses are appropriate? If you don’t have lots of staff available to monitor all breakout rooms – how can you ‘catch’ things?
    • Thoughts: 
      • Limit the number of participants and don’t do breakout rooms.
      • Have 2 trainers and have ONLY 2 breakout rooms.
      • Also worried that you’re missing the observations – but is trying to balance skills and relationship-building. 

What has worked well for your organization?

  • BBBS: Training modules are centralized in one place; Interactive – videos; Self-directed and self-paced
  • Ability to check for understanding (ask questions in the chat)
  • Poll at beginning and end of the training
  • Producer role – have people focus on different aspects of the training
  • Practice
  • Think through potential challenges within each platform
    • Send tutorial for technology beforehand
  • Be ready for zoom bombs! Have a plan in place
  • Bringing in experts/panelists for trainees – easier accessibility
  • Group sizes much smaller now (4-12); varied on how engaged they are
    • Hard with small group and quiet people

April 1, 2021 – Rural Mentoring Issues & Solutions

Resources from the Virtual Coffee:

  • Video recording with Tina McGuinness (Gunnison Valley Mentors) – LINK
  • Mentimeter slides and results – LINK

Breakout Room Notes:

Mentor Recruitment Ideas:

  • Word of mouth, work to make the experience so positive for existing mentors that they share this with friends, co-workers
  • Events in the community (Mentor and Mingle) and just getting out in the community to spread the word
  • Use local Craig’s List and community Facebook page to put out the word
  • Saw a lot of challenges with mentor recruitment during Covid, fear of having contact with youth, uses bi-monthly mentee spotlights in their newsletter, presentations to large employers
  • WOM, tap into the partners that they have for community service projects and use them to spread the word on their platforms
  • Designate Mentor Ambassadors who officially take on the job of recruiting friends, co-workers, Bi-lingual/bi-cultural staff person who can do recruitment in Latinx community, ask about potential interest when conducting mentor applicant phone references, we have lowered our expectation that applicants have lived in the community for 1 year because of how many new residents have moved to the area and want to get involved, more open to a mentor applicant who might not live full -time because of ability to have virtual contact.
  • Change messaging: We work with all kinds of kids for all kinds of reasons
  • Personal outreach – targeting individuals and getting referrals – stalking/flattery
  • Getting other mentors to reach out to their friends
  • Get them in as tutors first, then recruit them as mentors
  • Outreach events (pre-COVID)
  • Program Directors pump up program to parents/students (get parents or someone who is interested)
  • On recruiting diverse mentors: be in the communities you’re targeting to recruit from, plant seeds (it’s not always a fast process)
  • Hired people from the communities they’re targeting for mentors
  • Young people recruiting mentors
  • Board members have to bring names of people in community to meetings
  • Word of mouth – organic to formalized mentor ambassador program
  • Networking events
  • Virtual platform (Craigslist, FB, targeted newsletters)
  • Targeted presentations to employers in the area
  • Videos to highlight mentors

Transportation Challenges:

  • Set expectations early with mentors of how far they’ll need to travel
  • Clear mentors to drive
  • Offer a stipend/incentives
  • Centralized place to meet – either a building or get donations from businesses