I was in London a couple of weeks ago for a mentor/mentee matching day as part of the Institute of Fundraising London mentoring scheme. I’ve been chosen to mentor a fundraiser from a small charity and we’ll be meeting up every four weeks or so over the next 12 months.
There are many definitions of the role of mentoring. I like this one from the National Mentoring Partnership. “Mentoring is a structured and trusting relationship that brings people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of the mentee.”
Mentoring requires a range of skills including coaching, training, facilitation as well as general interpersonal qualities such as active listening, empathy and shared understanding. Skills needed vary for each mentee and indeed each mentoring session. The overriding principle is that the mentee is in control of the relationship, setting the agenda which will help them ultimately achieve their development goals.
My experience of mentoring fundraising staff has shown the need for mentees to be able to discuss specific fundraising issues, particularly if they are employed as the sole fundraiser in a charity. I know from my own experience this can be an isolating role when other staff don’t really understand what fundraising is all about!
A key benefit for the mentee is an external perspective whether related to their job responsibilities or to broader issues such as work relationships with peers, line manager, volunteers or trustees.
Mentoring can also be an opportunity to explore personal issues, if the mentee wishes to do so, which may well be impacting both on work performance and their lives in general.
I’m really looking forward to this mentoring role and see it as a chance to offer ongoing guidance whilst learning about fundraising in a different type of charity. I mentored a fundraiser on a previous delivery of this scheme and found it a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
I’m also available to undertake mentoring on a paid basis, to fundraising staff as well as charity managers, so do get in touch if such external and impartial support would be beneficial.