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Mentor Recruitment Strategies

Mentor recruitment is a significant piece of preparing for a successful program. In this article, you’ll find best practices and tactics to implement for year-round recruitment efforts. 

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Best Practices 

  • Drive attendance to orientation sessions, even if the prospective volunteers have not yet completed the mentor application. Learn more about this strategy by clicking through this presentation.
  • Ask current mentors to ask one person they know to apply. 
  • Reach out to applicants who weren’t able to commit to BBBS’ traditional programs, who may now be able to commit to mentor2.0. 
  • If there are events that the site's CEO will be speaking at, request that a piece of the presentation cover program recruitment. 
  • Ask if the school partner has an alumni network they can reach out to and/or build build recruitment support into the school partner MOU- i.e “School is responsible for recruiting X number of mentors.” 
  • Use the Nextdoor app to post the opportunity to apply to be a mentor within the app's page for their community.  
  • Host lunch & learns at local businesses. 
  • Participate in events at local universities. 
  • If there's a local television or radio station, pitch their editorial team for an interview with a Program lead to discuss the program. 
  • Social media posts on the BBBS site and school accounts can also be helpful for extending recruitment efforts. 
  • Hand out newsletters/flyers to members of the school community and to small businesses in town.  

Marketing Tactics

  • When asking mentors, school staff and others to reach out to their networks, share ready-to-post content or email templates written in English and another common language spoken in the community. 
  • For messaging language, create urgency and competition– i.e. “We only have X number of spots for mentors, apply now! OR we have X number of students left to match by  <date>, help us meet our goal!” 
  • Recruiting efforts can also be successful when campaigning with themes, such as “this month we’re looking for mentors in tech and next month we’re looking for mentors in health care.” 

Additional Incentives

  • Raffle activities for mentor referrals are also a great idea. Have mentors write down 2+ referrals, and for every referral that attends orientation, a mentor will then get a ticket entered into a raffle. After several orientations, the Program Manager draws a winner for prize such as Amazon gift card, restaurant gift certificate, etc.   

Year-round Recruiting Strategies 

  • If focusing on year-round recruiting, host 1-2 orientations per month and try to host sessions at different days and times of the week. 
  • If a lead has only completed part of their application, host a virtual info session for 30 minutes where potential mentors have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have that’s preventing them from moving forward. During the beginning of the session, share a recruitment video to get mentors emotionally engaged and at the end of the session share the application link.
  • Research organizations that don’t have volunteer opportunities in place and pitch them for presentation and tabling opportunities. 
  • Attend volunteer fairs and follow-up with contacts to get them to sign up for orientation. It is easier to get someone to fill out an application when they are already in the room for orientation.  

Maintaining Mentor Engagement 

  • During the off-season, if a mentor hasn't been approved and not matched yet, it's important to keep them as engaged as possible. Email mentors to share a monthly newsletter, pair story, opportunities to engage, and invitations to fundraisers. 
  • Host a "Day of Service" or a pair expedition so that mentors in waiting can meet other mentors, mentees, and program staff.  
  • Host, with a willing Program Manager, a mentor/mentee panel event for mentors that are waiting to be matched or who are undecided about committing to the program. Ask mentors to bring a friend to the panel event who might also be interested in mentoring.  A Program Manager or Program Lead would facilitate the panel and schedule several strong mentor/mentee pairs to talk about their experience, including time at the end of the session for Q&A.