There is no one-size-fits-all mentorship program. This is good because it means you are free to design whatever you need to work for you and your community. But it is a challenge because you have to put the work into creating something that works and there is no out-of-the-box solution. Your assessment should investigate two key questions:
These two questions are closely related. When you can answer these questions, it will be much easier to plan your program and make the right decisions for the program design.
Whether you are implementing a new mentorship program or building on an existing program, it is always helpful to start with a review of the needs and resources in your community. Even within smaller communities, there are likely existing people and resources who will be helpful with creating or building your mentorship program. This assessment can confirm that your program is needed and that it will address the needs of your potential stakeholders, mentors, and mentees.
You can gather data for your needs assessment formally or informally:
Formal Data Gathering
Informal Data Gathering
The following questions will help you conduct a simple assessment to determine the size of your program.
Questions to Consider & Where to Look
Who are the most likely to be mentor and mentee participants for the program?
Are there participants from a particular industry or region who are likely to participate as mentees? Knowing this can help you recruit potential mentors who best support their needs.
Which organizations might be partners or champions for our mentorship program?
Often businesses, business associations, local government, or schools are looking for supports for their employees or clients. These types of partners can help you build the program and provide participants or resources.
What size or level of mentorship program is required now?
There is no definitive size of program that is successful. Start with a pilot test of your program, then grow at a pace that matches your ability to administer it.
What programs existing within your organization or community can support your mentorship program?
Likely there are training programs, networking events, or other programs that can help you recruit participants or provide extra training or connections for your participants.
Want to Learn More?
Learn more about conducting a needs assessment in Mentoring Programs that Work by Jenn Labine (book): Visit Website