Current mentors can make the best recruiters

Most mentoring programs are in constant need of new mentors. Current and past mentors can be incredibly successful recruiters: find out how to make the most of this often untapped resource.

In the field of youth mentoring, mentor recruitment is one of the most difficult tasks for programs. Youth often spend months or longer on waiting lists as staff attend recruitment fairs, speak to groups, post ads and spend time on social media trying to find great volunteers. But by building a strong recruitment team, programs can save staff time and lead to more success.

An often overlooked resource for the recruitment team is current and past mentors. These volunteers have a personal story to tell and since they are not paid to recruit, their message is often received in a different way. This is also a great way to show a volunteer they are valuable in many ways. In addition, for past mentors, it provides a way they can continue to impact young people even when they do not have the time or ability to take on a new match.

Looking for ways to bring current and past mentors onto your recruitment team? Here are some tips to engage mentors in recruiting new volunteers:

  1. Educate mentors on program needs, including how many youth are on the waiting list. Let mentors know they are your best recruiters and ask for their help.
  2. Help them craft a recruitment message. This is their mentoring story they can share with friends, family and acquaintances.
  3. Provide mentors with brochures or other print media to share with people. An easy and effective tool is a business card with the program logo that says “I think you would be a great mentor and (name) Mentoring Program needs mentors like you.” Provide program contact information and a place for the mentor to include their name as well.
  4. Provide mentors with some simple talking points about your program.
  5. Consider holding a contest. This allows you to set a recruitment period. You can bring mentors together for a kick-off event and share resources.

Michigan State University Extension believes every young person needs multiple mentors in their lives. Engaging mentors in the recruitment process is one way to help increase the number of additional mentors available to help meet this need.

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