In a December 2022 MENTOR New York poll, 79% of responders reported that they were not recruiting enough new mentors to sustain their mentoring programs.
To tackle this critical issue, we surveyed program leaders, current mentors, and prospective mentors to explore how we can increase the number of volunteers throughout New York State. Findings will allow us to develop stronger, data-informed recruitment practices that can be leveraged by the whole mentoring movement.
Do you have the resources to recruit effectively?
Effective communication is crucial for attracting, recruiting, vetting, and sustaining volunteer mentors to serve in long-term meaningful relationships with mentees. Clear communication of program goals, expectations, and requirements is essential.
Tools such as online applications and mentor-matching platforms can help streamline the recruitment process and ensure potential mentors are vetted thoroughly.
Communication also helps establish trust and build strong mentor-mentee relationships. Ongoing support and training, such as conflict resolution and effective communication skills, help sustain these relationships and enhance the quality of the mentoring experience. Useful links:
Have you seen a change in mentor recruitment since COVID-19?
Many mentoring programs have observed a shift in volunteer-mentor attitudes over the past three years. Volunteers may be less likely to give time and more focused on what they can gain through volunteering, in part due to increased uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic.
Volunteer programs must adapt to these changing attitudes and tailor their approaches, to better address potential volunteers' concerns and motivations. This could include offering more flexible mentoring options, emphasizing the impact of mentoring, and highlighting the benefits of giving back to their community.
Do the demographics of your recruiters match the volunteers you want to engage?
What role do you believe demographics and culture competencies play in driving inclusive recruitment practices? How are you centering community in your recruitment efforts?
Check out MENTOR New York’s Amplify Equity Kit to explore how to implement racially inclusive practices and ensure you have culturally competent mentors and employees.
What motivated you to want to become a mentor?
Case study: Michael is seeking mentoring opportunities in NYC
"I recently used the Mentor Connector to try and connect to mentoring opportunities in my area. I reached out to programs over two months ago and have not heard anything back.
This has not necessarily deterred me or diminished my desire to be a mentor, but with my busy schedule, pursuing this again has taken somewhat of a back seat. In the future, I think quicker response times from these programs might help prospective mentors see the process through to completion, rather than lose a bit of momentum like I did.”
Inspired by the findings?
Connect with the MENTOR New York Team to receive customized consultation and explore how the recruitment research can be leveraged to strengthen your volunteer mentor strategies.
Ready to dive deeper into the results? Join the discussion on the Network Hub forum. The Hub is a community space to exchange perspectives, ask questions, and share insights—and explore how these can inform your work. By participating in the conversation, you'll have the chance to connect with like-minded individuals and enrich your knowledge of mentoring across New York State.