By Therese Umerlik | September 27, 2022
Associations can build their membership through dynamic mentorship programs, but the success of these efforts depends, in part, on the association’s ability to excite their current and potential members.
Whether your association is offering a peer-to-peer, senior professional-to-junior professional or reverse, or an intergenerational format, the value of the knowledge they exchange and the camaraderie they share can—and should—be communicated.
Promoting the benefits of your mentorship program may involve a strategy in which the advantages and the means of building these relationships are set forth. Here are some ideas for your association to publicize your efforts to create a supportive community among your members.
Energize Your Mentees and Mentors
Sometimes, the most effective promoters of your mentorship program are the mentors and mentees themselves, the actual participants who can champion this opportunity.
They are uniquely positioned to motivate others to participate, because they have benefited from the relationships they have cultivated. In particular, mentorships can help promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, because they have been found to increase the retention and promotion of minorities and underrepresented groups in the workplace.
They can share their stories of how, as a mentee, they achieved success in their career paths or how, as a mentor, they provided much-needed guidance and emotional support. These accounts can be put forward through interviews on video, on podcasts, in articles, or presented in virtual town halls. Your mentors and mentees have a vested interest in not only their own personal and professional growth but the future of the industry and your association.
Meeting people anywhere they are has never been easier. This comfort with engaging in digital environments can make your association’s virtual mentorship opportunities an attractive option for members.
Surveys distributed through email or by other digital means can help your association discern your members’ expectations for a virtual mentorship program.
As the program takes shape, your association can explore various ways to bring mentors and mentees together and share their insights with other members. Your association could explore webinars on topics related to professional or personal development led by a mentor for a specific group of individuals. Or you could transcribe a virtual roundtable discussion with mentors and mentees and include the article in your publication, enewsletter, or on your website—or all three.
Virtual mentorship programs can help strengthen your association by allowing its members to nurture connections and broaden their outlook globally.
Market Your Program
Promoting your mentorship program may involve targeting certain demographics in your membership. Through periodic surveys distributed in emails and articles, you can discover where your members are in their careers and what they want. A questionnaire completed by new members is also a helpful tool.
Are some looking into a promotion at their company? Are some considering a new job at another business? Are others seeking support, or are they eager to provide it? Are others wanting to connect with people from diverse backgrounds for camaraderie and advancement opportunities?
Based on your members’ expressed needs, campaigns can be tailored to the different groups as they emerge. This approach can allow your association to personalize eblasts and create social media posts, articles, and other content focused on the benefits of mentoring for them.
As such, each recruitment effort—from including the mentorship program in new member onboarding materials to reaching out to established members at various points in their careers—may be different but relevant.
Celebrate Your Program’s Success
Publicizing the positive outcomes of your mentoring program can be accomplished in several ways. Your members can take to social media and spread the word of their favorable experiences (consider coming up with a unique hashtag to rally around). Or a mentor and mentee can co-author an article or blog or join a podcast, if you have one, to share how they supported each other.
In addition, your association can survey participants in your mentorship program about its efficacy in their personal lives and professional goals. These results can be shared with association leadership to spearhead improvements and expansion efforts and with members to boost retention and recruitment.
If your team is busy with running your mentorship program and needs help communicating its value, reach out to us. YGS can partner with you to create a content strategy to help promote your program’s success.