Do you want to: boost engagement with mentoring, spread the word about your mentoring program, and celebrate your wins? Well, you might just want to run a mentoring event.
We all know the benefits of mentoring. From 87% of mentors and mentees developing greater confidence to 67% of businesses reporting an increase in productivity due to mentoring, starting a mentoring program is a no-brainer.
At Guider, we support hundreds of mentoring programs across a range of industries and audiences through our innovative mentoring software, so we know the key to running a successful mentoring scheme. This is where factoring in mentoring events can help you to level up. A successful event will build excitement around your mentoring program and can help prevent program fatigue down the line.
So, with National Mentoring Month (January 2023) on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to get planning! Find out the Why, When and How of running a mentoring event below.
Why should I run a mentoring event?
There are a number of reasons why you should run a mentoring event. Whether it’s to promote your mentoring program or to celebrate your mentor and mentees, there are a number of benefits to mentoring events. Remember: these benefits apply to mentoring events for any of the types of mentoring.
- Increasing awareness of mentoring and your program
- Answering questions and recruiting mentors and mentees
- Creating a mentoring community
- Creating content for PR and comms campaigns
- Generating buzz and excitement for the program
Ultimately, the reason to run an event will depend on your program goals. It’s important to weigh up the benefits of the event with how much time and resources you have to ensure it’s a success. To do this, we recommend starting by identifying why you want to run an event.
We’ve identified three key times to run events and the reasons why below to help:
Awareness and launch
Before you launch your program, it’s a good idea to raise awareness of mentoring and how people can get involved.
If you’re running a program for the first time, your ‘why’ might be that you want to build excitement around your program. To do this, running an awareness or launch event is a great way to bring people together and spread the word about mentoring.
You can also use this opportunity to answer questions, gauge interest in the program and gather photos and quotes to use in your promotional materials.
This is a great time to educate your audience on the benefits of mentoring, what’s expected of them, and break down any common misconceptions associated with mentoring. You want to get people excited about mentoring so the moment the program launches, they are itching to sign up!
During the program, mentoring events can help boost engagement and participation. By bringing people together to celebrate mentoring or to recruit new participants, you can re-invigorate your program and keep up momentum.
If you find that, after the initial excitement, program sign-ups have decreased or session numbers are slowing down, then an engagement mentoring event could be the answer! This is a good time to strategically inject some new energy into your program, whether it’s from new participants or from incentivising your existing ones.
For programs with no end date, this is particularly important. It helps to add a little fuel to the fire during your program to prevent drop-offs.
Finally, a wrap-up or end-of-program event can be a great way to close a program – especially if you’re planning to run another mentoring program after.
Wrap-up events can be used to reward participation in mentoring, celebrate wins and spread the word about the next program. It’s important to recognise endings and give people the chance to properly thank their mentor or mentee.
They’re also a great way to gather photos and quotes for next time too! Here you can identify the next mentoring champions that will help you to scale or replicate your mentoring program.
You don’t need to run mentoring events at every milestone! It’s a good idea to assess your resources and program goals and think about why you might need an event and which one is the best fit.
Top tip: Set a goal for your mentoring event to help you to measure its success
How do I make the most out of a mentoring event?
Events are an excellent way to launch, promote and re-engage participants. However, there’s no one-size fits all way to utilise mentoring events in promoting your program. To make the most out of your event we recommend tying it into an awareness day or wider comms campaign.
Key awareness days throughout the year are an ideal opportunity to run an event on mentoring. Make the most of wider interest and promotion of mentoring by scheduling your event around:
- National Mentoring Day, 27th October 2022
- National Mentoring Month, January 2023
- Thank Your Mentor Day, 31st January 2023
If you are running a diversity and inclusion mentoring program, then look out for awareness days that support your community. For example:
- International Women’s Day, 8th March 2023
- Menopause Awareness Day, 18th October 2022
- World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2022
Alternatively, you can sync up with Employee Resource Groups or your wider company events and comms strategy. Getting more people on board with promoting your event will help generate interest.
Further top tips:
- Get senior leaders on board to champion your mentoring program and mentoring event!
- Spread the word through managers and team leaders
- Factor in seasonality to make sure the most people are able to attend
- Take photos and get quotes to promote your program after the mentoring event
How do I run a mentoring event?
Running an event takes some careful planning and promotion, but it is possible to do it right. Once you have set your event goals and chosen when to host it, it’s time to get creative!
Below we outline three mentoring event ideas that you can run in your organisation. There’s one for kick-off, another for mid-program engagement and an end-of-program celebration.
Awareness mentoring event: National Mentoring Day speed mentoring
National Mentoring Day runs annually in October. It aims to spread the word about the benefits of mentoring and is the perfect time to promote your program.
Mentoring event idea: Run a speed mentoring event for your target program participants. Bring together a group of potential mentors and mentees to try out mentoring. Arrange mentors and mentees in pairs at small tables and set a timer for 2 minutes. At the end of the time, mentees must move to the next table and chat with someone new.
Benefits: Give people a taster of what mentoring is all about and introduce them to potential mentors or mentees. Use this time to let everyone know about your program and how to join, as well as offer the chance to ask questions and chat.
Things to think about: Remember to take photos and gather feedback to use in promotional campaigns later on. You can also ask senior leaders or mentoring champions to introduce the event and show they’re committed to the program.
Engagement mentoring event: mentor coffee morning
At the midway point, an engagement event will help you to re-invigorate your program and remind people of the benefits of participation.
Mentoring event idea: Bring together the mentors in your program for a coffee and chat event. Whether in person or virtual, mentors can swap stories, share tips and get advice on how to be a great mentor.
Benefits: Your mentors will benefit from networking with like-minded people and gaining insight into how to mentor effectively. These events are all about building community and making sure your mentors know how much they’re appreciated.
Things to think about: Take this as a chance to get insight into how your program is going and whether mentors need more support. Don’t forget to thank your mentors too and make sure they feel valued for their time.
Wrap-up mentoring event: end of program party
Ending your program on a high is important, especially if you’re planning another program. A good end-of-program event will leave people feeling valued and rewarded for their participation in mentoring.
Mentoring event idea: Plan an end-of-program party for all participants. As part of the event, you can hand out awards for most sessions and ask participants to publicly thank their mentor or mentee.
Benefits: If the budget allows, giving small tokens of appreciation for participants to keep is a great way to give people lasting rewards that remind them of mentoring. You can also use this event to identify new mentoring champions, encourage mentees to become mentors next time around, take photos and gather testimonials, build your mentoring community and announce your next program.
Things to think about: For an ongoing program with no end date, you can still run a celebration event. This will help re-invigorate your program, particularly if it’s followed by a re-launch campaign.
As you can see, running a mentoring event has plenty of benefits. It’s a great way to promote, invigorate and celebrate your mentoring program. It needn’t be a hassle either! If you need more advice on how to set yourself up for success, including advice on program timelines, events and promotion, then get in touch with our mentoring experts today.
Need help designing your mentoring program? Chat with our mentoring guides and find out how Guider’s mentoring platform can help you to get mentoring right in your organisation.