Mentorship is the sharing of your expertise, experiences and advice with someone who does not have them. They are key to business success. Seventy-five percent of corporate managers believe mentorship was crucial to their own success.
Mentorship is less common in the nonprofit world, but there are ways to change that. For example, two advice-oriented groups — the Center for Nonprofit Development and the SCORE Mentors Group on LinkedIn — can link seasoned business and nonprofit professionals with those looking for mentoring.
Being a mentor can be good for your own career in addition to those of the people you mentor. It can be an experience in which you must reflect on your own experience. The best moves you made, the best tactics you employed, who your own best mentors were: All of these become occasions for reflection in ways they don’t when you simply thinking about day-to-day business.
So how do you become a rock star nonprofit mentor? Here are six ideas.
Work in Multiple Ways
Mentorships come in all shapes and sizes. Some are informal lunches or coffees, in which you’re asked specific questions. They’re one-time-only meetings. Others are formal worksite relationships where you and your mentee will meet once a week to discuss success in the organization.
Increasingly, organizations are offering reverse mentorships, where a younger person offers their skills in technology. The best mentors offer their experience and counsel in a variety of formats. Be flexible and willing to meet your mentees in a way that works best for both of you.
Find Out What Your Mentee Needs
The people you mentor may not all need the same thing. Some may need counseling on developing large projects. Others may need to know when career growth is best served by moving on. This is especially true in a sector where most employees stay at a job for less than five years. Other mentees may need to be introduced to someone in a field they need to know more about.