PLEASE NOTE: The CharityComms mentoring scheme is currently closed for new applications. We are working on an exciting new development, so please do keep an eye out on CharityComms eNews for updates.
Mentoring is a development partnership through which one person shares knowledge, experience, skills or information to support the development of someone else. We match comms professionals from our organisational members in mentoring relationships with external comms colleagues to help them with their professional development or a specific comms issue.
“There are so many great people in this sector, all wrestling with complex problems as they try to make the world a better place. Mentoring is a critical way to share knowledge, uncover new ideas and build connections.”
"Mentoring is a wonderful opportunity to share your experiences with others and the lessons you’ve learned. I have also learnt so much during the process and find it invaluable."
How it works
We look for mentors across all comms disciplines and at all levels and you don’t have to be a CharityComms member to become a mentor! Our mentors create an online profile with information on their job role, career experience and what they’re looking to get out of the scheme.
Mentees can look through our mentor directory and send a direct request to whoever they think can support them best. Our matches last for six months and we provide you with lots of guidance along the way.
Benefits of being a mentor
- Share your knowledge and experience and help others progress in their career
- Develop and build on your coaching and managerial skills
- Get insight into the working world at different organisations
- Be introduced to new ideas and ways of doing things
- Engage with someone in a different job role from your own
Who can become a mentor?
You don’t have to have 20 years of experience to be a mentor for us. People from different sized charities and job levels apply for mentors on our scheme, from comms assistants to associate directors of communications. So we’re looking to recruit a broad range of mentors.
What does a mentor do?
- Acts as a sounding board for a mentee to talk through decisions and ideas
- Passes on useful know-how and experience
- Acts as a gateway to other people and sources of knowledge
- Helps a mentee to establish realistic career goals and decide how they might achieve them
- Challenges a mentee to face up to opportunities and problems, personal strengths and weaknesses
- Different people will have different issues they’d like to address. Some people will be working on a specific project that they might want the expertise of a mentor to bounce ideas around with, for example refreshing their website or putting together a comms strategy. Others might have just taken on a new role with more responsibility than they are used to and want to have a senior colleague to be able to share the experience with, while others might want inspiration on how to move forward in their career.
Who makes a good mentor?
Someone who is:
- Interested and willing to help others
- Prepared to give time and mental energy to a mentee
- Able to challenge assumptions and statements a mentee makes
- Experienced and can offer a broad perspective
- Competent in listening, questioning and facilitating
What mentees might need help with
- 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.
"It’s an opportunity to share your own career journey to support and encourage someone else, and act as a sounding board when they often have the answers themselves! I’d really encourage anyone to consider becoming a mentor. It’s definitely been a mutually beneficial relationship - I’ve enjoyed learning from my mentee as much as I have supporting them."
"I was looking forward to the catch-ups with my mentee, hearing about how they had been getting on and outcomes from approaches we’d discussed and helping them talk through next steps. Hearing positive feedback from my mentee about my support and seeing my mentee achieve their goals has felt incredibly rewarding."
“Being honest with each other is so important in the first meeting. To introduce myself, I talk a bit about my background as it helps potential mentees consider if I’m the right mentor for them.”
Keeping on track
“We keep track of how we're doing against our schedule. I don't like to impose structure but will mention actions we set at the end of a session at the beginning of our next meeting.”
Wrapping things up
“For me, talking about the end of a mentoring relationship starts in your very first meeting. With my three mentees, we agreed a timescale in the first session.”