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Mentoring and one-off meetings

A bit more detail about the mentoring experience for those interested in giving it a try.

Having a mentor to talk to outside of your workplace provides an invaluable reflective space, to talk through an objective, be listened to by an experienced comms professional in your field, sound out new ideas and learn about different approaches and professional experiences.

CharityComms sets up virtual mentoring relationships and one-off meetings between members in our network. Applicants can apply with a specific objective and we then review our extensive network of contacts to find an appropriate match with someone we think will be able to help. The scheme is a personal matching service that we run exclusively for our organisational members, although anyone is welcome to apply as a mentor.

Before you apply

What is your objective for being matched with a mentor?

It’s important to be clear on one objective that you’d like to work on before we can match you with a mentor:

  • New role / step-up: Recently moved into a new or more senior role, would like someone neutral who has experienced a similar transition to talk to while finding my feet
  • Working on stepping up to the next level: Aiming to move up to a more senior role – would like to brainstorm ideas with a mentor about what to be doing to move in this direction
  • Specific comms challenge: Help with a specific comms challenge. Eg how to deal with a re-brand / writing a comms strategy / getting to grips with social media/ advice on a PR project etc.
  • Support with management / leadership: Learn / share ideas / get inspiration about managing / leading a charity communications team
  • Career inspiration: A one-off chat to find out more about a particular charity comms role / what it’s like working for a specific kind of charity / ideas for future career moves.

Do you want to a one-off meeting or a longer term mentoring relationship?
Longer term mentoring relationships tend to go on for around 6 months and is a good way of tracking progression with a certain project or settling-in time with a new job. A one-off meeting can also be a good opportunity to get a quick fix of inspiration and have some questions answered about a particular job role or comms query. Have a think before applying which you’d prefer.

Who can apply for the scheme

The scheme is a personal matching service that we run exclusively for our organisational members, although anyone is welcome to apply as a mentor.

Our Mentoring Scheme is open for applications until 1 December 2020 (the application process then closes until February 2021).

How the scheme works

We ask you to fill out our online application form. It’s important that you have one clear objective to explore before applying for the scheme. You can preview the questions here. We then review our extensive network of contacts to find an appropriate match. Once we’ve made a mentoring match, an introductory email is sent to mentor and mentee, so you can arrange your first meeting. You can read how the mentoring relationships work from start to finish here.

Questions about the scheme?

If you have any questions about the Scheme or any applications you might have already made, please contact Lally Wentworth, our mentoring manager, who will be happy to help.

I applied for a mentor to talk to as I worked through the process of putting a digital vision and roadmap in place for my charity. I was matched with Neil, head of digital at Independent Age. It's been really reassuring to have someone more experienced to soundboard my thoughts and ideas with from start to finish. Each mentoring session helped to reignite and reinspire my passion for developing and completing my digital strategy.

Samantha Doe

digital manager, Action Against Hunger

When I took on a new senior role as director of media in a large charity, I applied for a mentor to help me with this transition. CharityComms matched me with a very experienced communications leader in the sector. Our meetings every month were invaluable, as they allowed me to work through some of the challenges of starting a new role and think about what kind of leader I wanted to be. Having this ‘time out’ from the pressures of the busy day-to-day parts of my job and to talk to someone with a lot of experience and a neutral perspective helped me to settle into my role with confidence.

Pasca Lane

director of media, British Red Cross

I got loads of great ideas out of my one-off meeting, which lasted about an hour. I wanted to brainstorm with someone about the challenges I was facing putting together a programme of messaging training. It was so reassuring to talk to a more experienced professional outside my own charity who could provide some real perspective.

Anna Pietrowski

senior content manager, Age UK

I had a specific objective to build my consumer media skills in order to make better use of Teach First’s case studies and explore new angles for coverage. I was matched with Catherine, head of media at Asthma UK. We met about once every six weeks. I hugely appreciated her sharing examples and best practice, while asking all the right questions to get me thinking more strategically about my plans and next steps. Our meetings provided a welcome opportunity to bounce around ideas and review my efforts to adapt consumer themes to Teach First.

Joe Sparks

senior media adviser, Teach First

When I was promoted to communications manager, this was my first experience of a senior role, I wanted to find a head of comms who I could talk through the challenges of promoting communications within an international NGO and ask for guidance on developing an organisational comms strategy. CharityComms found a great match within the same sector. We met every couple of months. I got feedback on my draft strategy, tips for rolling it out internationally, and also was able to contact my mentor for one-off questions if I wanted to chat something through. It was fantastic to be able to step outside the organisation and get the advice of someone more experienced.

Elizabeth Bourne

communications manager, Saferworld