What is stopping you from fulfilling your potential?
In the ideal world, where Alumni Relations and Career Services fully collaborate, there are still other barriers that can stifle the functioning of a successful mentoring program.
- Cultivate the love
A study conducted by Alumni Monitor in 2015, polled more than 1000 Alumni of U.S higher education institutions. It looked at the correlation between fundraising efforts at schools and alumni sentiments. The results confirmed what we would have suspected – that the emotional connection needs to take priority; we need to engage first and ask second.
If you do not first cultivate “the love” for the alma mater, chances of success with your mentoring program are slim. You can have all the resources there for your mentors, but this will go untapped if there is no desire to engage.
Institutions needs to get students and alumni thinking they are part of a continuum – that older and younger graduates and students are all connected and in sync. The expecatation should be that if you need help, you can get it, and if you can give it, you do.
As with any program implementation and also a successful mentoring program, monetary concerns are at the heart of the discussion. While technology can be costly, it can also save a lot of time and resources.
The true question is how much is your institutions willing to invest in their alumni, and how much of an investment does the institutions believe they are worth?
The simple calculation is: Value – Price = Cost
Your institution may not always have the available resources to implement a mentoring program. There are several factors to consider such as: The amount of staff, the percentage of graduating students and the full-time employees in the career services or alumni office. A program like this requires a team who are willing to work towards the institutional goals and these staff may not exist on the campus. There are many resources available online outlining best practices for mentoring which are easy to follow.
The issue of timing and planning a mentoring is a double-edged sword as a barrier to the success of a mentoring program. If an institution decides to micro-manage each facet of the mentoring relationship, this can hinder the scalability of the program and is not best practice. That said, if an institution invested the planning stage of their mentoring program with technology, the facilitation and the manual period it would have taken is reduced.
I hope this article helps to clarify and prepare you for the biggest challenges you will need to over-come to optimize your successful mentoring program.