Whether it’s career guidance, emotional support or skill development, human connection within mentoring can significantly impact nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits serve a variety of missions, and these missions require a unique focus, whether that’s elevating women in the workplace, supporting cancer survivors, developing young people, advancing Hispanic STEM professionals or beyond.
Mentoring is an effective solution for providing a supportive space for members to share their challenges, give and receive advice and celebrate wins. An Olivet Nazarene University study found, 76 percent of people think mentors are important, however, only 37 percent of people currently have one.
Here are four reasons nonprofit organizations are turning to mentoring to drive human development.
1. Provides Wellbeing Support
Whether your members need help navigating a new job or empathetic support for what they’re going through personally, deploying a mentoring program provides the supportive connection they need. Having a strong support network is imperative when trying to reach goals or deal with one’s mental health and wellbeing. With mentoring, members are able to discuss challenges with their mentors in order to problem-solve and work through hurdles, whether personal or professional.
Mentoring helps build a greater sense of belonging, can enhance self-esteem, reduce stress and enable better decision making. When participants find the right support-partner to share experiences with and ask questions of, they’re better able to focus on their goals, tasks and actions. In return, members are far more likely to have a positive experience that can drive success for organizations.
2. Elevates Skill Building
A key ingredient of success for any organization is the ability to develop their own people. Mentoring is a great way to pair subject matter experts with those wanting to build those desired skills. By pairing members, volunteers, students or employees together in mentorship programs, organizations can effectively facilitate knowledge transfer and experiential learning in order to develop participants.
Mentoring ignites a continuous learning culture for professional development. The more people learn from each other, transferring their unique knowledge and guidance, the more they can enhance productivity and growth. With elevated skills and knowledge permeating throughout the organization, employees and members are better equipped to drive the nonprofit’s mission to reach organizational success.
3. Promotes Future-Ready Development
Many nonprofits aim to help a targeted group of people prepare for their next venture or phase in life. This may range from helping students get into college to supporting veterans in securing jobs. Sometimes, making these transitions can be difficult, but mentoring provides extra support that can help participants find their footing and build on their knowledge, while preparing themselves to be future-ready for what comes next.
With intentional action and the right structure, mentoring programs for future-ready development can build robust professional networks, guide careers, and provide access to people and networks that will serve members today and in the future. Mentors can be just the resource they need to give them that advocacy and motivation for their next venture.
4. Showcases Mission Impact
Communicating the impact of a nonprofit’s mission is crucial to enhancing brand awareness, attracting more members and winning over supporters. It’s important for nonprofits to show metrics that paint a clear picture of the change they’re producing. Simply reporting the number of people served and the dollars raised doesn’t showcase how programs are improving lives. Fortunately, running structured mentoring programs can be a lever for highlighting impact.
Mentoring program outcomes and feedback can help establish benchmarks and goals for the people in the organization, allowing nonprofits to highlight key “wins” and improvements that show success. By leveraging mentoring program KPIs (number of participants, number of matches), surveys and general participant feedback, nonprofits bring greater visibility to organizational efficacy. From showing the increase in job placement or graduation rates for mentees to improvements in members’ emotional wellbeing, mentoring can be used to highlight numbers critical to gain further awareness and nonprofit support.
How Mentoring Software Enables Impactful Results
Mentoring programs allow nonprofits to focus on member retention, skill development and valuable support systems. But only when done right. Unfortunately, manual or informal mentoring can lead to time-consuming work and cumbersome processes, resulting in ineffective efforts.
Mentoring software can remedy pain points and create more successful mentoring programs with ease and automation. Avoid ineffective mentor matching that requires too many sticky notes, spreadsheets and time. With mentoring software, program administrators are free to focus on strategically scaling the program and meeting organizational goals.