Leveraging National Mentoring Month

NateThis post was submitted by Nate Baum, manager of training and technical assistance, in recognition of the events that many programs in our network are doing in celebration of National Mentoring Month.

One of the amazing things about working at Mass Mentoring is the ability to learn about all the great things our partnering organizations do on a regular basis. There are some cool things our 200+ members engage in and National Mentoring Month is an especially exciting time.

[caption id="attachment_1463" align="alignright" width="300"]Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll at the Mayors for Mentoring event Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll at the Mayors for Mentoring event[/caption]

National Mentoring Month provides a multitude of opportunities to recognize and better position mentoring across the Commonwealth. In December, we hosted a conference call with representatives from nine of our National Mentoring Month partnering programs. We discussed National Mentoring Month activities each organization was engaging in and shared strategies to better enhance our collective efforts. Some of the events and marketing strategies include:

  • Utilizing cable access and sports shows to highlight a mentee and mentor of the month
  • Hosting a combined gala between a few mentoring programs
  • Creative PR activities like delivering balloons to mentors at their office to thank the mentor (and raise awareness)
  • Highlighting mentees in a local newspaper
  • Running events that include fun activities like Bingo, where mentors are encouraged to bring friends who also might be interested in becoming mentors
  • Community breakfasts, galas and a range of other celebrations
  • Working to get public officials, mayors and representatives to speak to the power or mentoring

During this call, we brainstormed strategies to enhance our practices during National Mentoring Month. Some examples revolved around ensuring better attendance at National Mentoring Month events and generally promoting the month as a whole. This included:

  • Surveying your community on best times and dates prior to hosting an event. Doodle.com was a resource that was mentioned as a great scheduling tool to use for e-mails
  • Picking a location that is well-known to your community
  • Contacting your volunteers to attend with a few mediums (e-mails, phone-calls, texting, in-person invites when possible)
  • Creating leadership organizations within your volunteer community that can take initiative during your National Mentoring Month activities
  • Leveraging connections with volunteers (and volunteers other than mentors) that might have connections with restaurants, meeting space or other potential event locations

Some of the many amazing events that our National Mentoring Month partner programs are hosting this month include:

  • The 6th Annual Mentor Recruitment Rally held by Brockton’s Promise Caring Adult Team
  • A mentor appreciation brunch hosted by Girls Inc. Lynn on Jan. 25
  • A Mayors for Mentors event held in Salem on Jan. 16 hosted by Children's Friend and Family Services
  • The 2014 Mentoring Rally hosted by SMILES, Big Friends Little Friends and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Child and Family Services
  • Trivia Night hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County with guest caller Rep. Paul Mark on Jan. 25
  • A recruitment mixer hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County; a BIG Thank You event hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, and Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, and countless other events

There is a tremendous amount of excellent activity going on during National Mentoring Month. Best of all, there is still time during January to start or build upon your efforts. Hopefully these tips from other dedicated programs as well as the National Mentoring Month tool-kit can be of use.

For mentoring as a whole, the efforts we put in now will pay off tremendously for the rest of the year in more awareness and recognition to the field, more capable adults answering the call to become mentors, and ultimately more young people having the guidance, care and support of a caring adult in their lives. Have a great month everyone!