Making the Most of Youth Mentoring: A Guide for Funders

Making the Most of Youth Mentoring: A Guide for Funders

14 Pages · 2012 · 220 KB · English

In this guide: 1. Tips for recognizing organizations with the capacity to implement strong mentoring programs. 2. Tips for recognizing high-quality mentoring . toward helping funders determine if the program is a good investment. Lacking one or systems or sets of services, is it logically and sens

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The mentoring field has grown tremendously over the last two decades There are now thousands of mentoring programs around the country, and many initiatives that incorporate elements of mentoring into larger sets of services Funders and policymakers who want to improve youth outcomes are faced with tough decisions about how to allocate their scarce resources in a crowded and complex field Mentoring has a rich research base, but a large variety of program models, including communitybased, schoolbased, group, email, peer and paid mentoring approaches Research across these programs is uneven: Some approaches have been studied rigorously at scale, while others have very limited evidence of effectiveness The research that does exist suggests that these programs are not always effective with the same groups of youth, nor can they be expected to achieve the same goals Each approach may require its own set of resources and capacities, with different “best practices” needed to yield benefits Funders and program leaders are left with a dizzying array of mentoring approaches to choose from and very little guidance about which one may be the best fit for the youth they hope to reach Making the Most of Youth Mentoring: A Guide for Funders In this guide: 1 Tips for recognizing organizations with the capacity to implement strong mentoring programs 2 Tips for recognizing highquality mentoring programs 3 Tips for making the most of different mentoring approaches: • Communitybased mentoring • Schoolbased mentoring • Group or team mentoring • Crossage peer mentoring • Ementoring • Paid mentoring Carla Herrera Making the Most of Youth Mentoring: A Guide for Funders 2 To address this need, The Pinkerton Foundation asked Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) to develop a brief guide, outlining which types of mentoring pr\ ograms work, for whom and under what circumstances To achieve this, we mined our own 25plus years of work in mentoring; reviewed key literature; and gathered input from leading experts in the field: Michael Garringer (National Mentoring Center, Education Northwest), Michael Karcher (University of Texas at San Antonio), and Jean Rhodes (University of Massachusetts, Boston)\ 1 Our goal was to help funders invest their limited resources where they can have the most impact by: (1) determining which organizations have the capacity to implement strong mentoring programs; (2) identifying the features that undergird highquality mentoring programs; and (3) understanding how to make the most of distinct mentoring approaches (including best practices, and red flags to avoid, for each type of mentoring reviewed) This guide is by no means conclusive, but it should help funders navigat\ e the existing research on mentoring and provide a starting framework for deciding which programs to support 1 Recognizing Organizations with the Capacity to Implement Strong Mentoring Programs As with all social programs, the stability and strength of a mentoring program is deter mined at least in part by the character of the organization implementing\ it There are a number of core organizational features that are crucial to ensure that a program is well managed and financially stable These broad organizational features are examined in more detail in other work, and we include them here essentially as a reminder When considering funding for an organization that provides mentoring services, grantmakers should start by asking 10 basic sets of questions: Does the organization have an institutional history or connection to mentoring (ie, expertise in mentoring or connection to an established mentoring program)? How central is mentoring to the organization’s mission and core capacities? Does the organization have a governing body (ie, a board)? Is the board invested in the mentoring program? Does the board offer significant help with fundrais ing for the program? Does the organization have partnerships (or plans for partnerships) that will help it recruit youth

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