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E-Mentoring Materials

Group Administration Manual - for administrators of E-Mentoring programs

Group Monitor Manual - for monitors of E-Mentoring programs

Iowa Mentoring Partnership E-Mentoring Guide - quick overview of E-Mentoring services

Iowa Mentoring Partnership E-Mentoring Manual - detailed descriptions of the benefits and uses of E-Mentoring

E-Mentoring Elements of Effective PracticeTM

As developed by MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, the Elements of Effective PracticeTM for E-Mentoring program policies and practices have served as an effective model for a number of successful E-Mentoring programs. The guidelines are applicable for new or established mentoring programs that are interested in developing, operating, participating in or funding an E-Mentoring program.   

Quality E-Mentoring programs will meet the following twelve Elements of Effective PracticeTM :

1.  A statement of purpose and long range plan that includes:

  • Who, what where, when, why and how activities will be performed
  • Input from originators, staff, funders, potential volunteers and young people
  • Assessment of the organization’s capacity to create and sustain a high-quality program
  • Assessment of young people’s needs
  • Realistic, adaptable and easy to understand operational plan
  • Goals, objectives and accountability for all aspects of the plan
  • Funding and resource development plan
  • Staffing and accountability plan
  • Annual assessment of operations plan

2.  A technology implementation strategy that includes:

  • Communication system appropriate to the goals of the program and its participants
  • Communication system that is safe and reliable for the participants
  • Determination of technology requirements, roles and responsibilities of partner organizations and program participants
  • Policies regarding privacy and security of program participants’ data and communication.
  • Method for archiving e-mails to meet the safety and/or evaluation needs of the program.

3.  Safety measures for young people and mentors that include:

  • Established code of online conduct guided by common sense, basic etiquette and mutual respect
  • Adherence to rules and laws that apply in fact-to-face mentoring, as well as those unique to online mentoring, such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 * (information regarding this act can be found on the National E-Mentoring Clearinghouse, www.mentoring.org/emc)
  • Creation of guidelines, including necessary parental permissions, to govern young people’s appropriate and safe access to the Internet
  • Comprehensive background checks, screening and training of mentors
  • Confidentiality of program participants’ personal information
  • Regular oversight and support of program participants and their relationships
  • Established process for raising and addressing concerns with program staff and participants

4.  A recruitment plan for both mentors and young people that includes:

  • Strategies that reflect accurate expectations and benefits
  • Year-around marketing and public relations plans
  • Targeted mentor outreach based on young people’s needs and interests
  • Volunteer opportunities beyond mentoring

5.  A separate orientation for mentors and young people that includes:

  • Program overview, including mission and goals
  • Expectations and restrictions (accountability)
  • Description of eligibility, screening process, logistics and suitability requirements
  • Description of technology and required equipment
  • Level of commitment expected (time, energy, flexibility, frequency)
  • Benefits and rewards of participation
  • Summary of program policies, including those governing privacy, reporting, communications and evaluation
  • Safety and security, especially around use of Internet

6. Eligibility screening for mentors and young people that includes:

  • Application process and review
  • Reference checks for mentors, which may include character references, child abuse registry check, sexual abuse registry check and criminal background check where legally permissible
  • Suitability criteria that satisfy the program statement of purpose and needs of the target population. Could include some or all of the following: personality profile; skill identification; gender; age; geography; language and racial requirements; level of education; career interests; motivation for volunteering; previous volunteer experience; access to and experience with technology; and academic standing
  • Successful completion of training and orientation

7. A readiness and training curriculum for all mentors and young people that includes:

  • Qualified program trainers
  • Activities that promote program commitment
  • Orientation to the program and available resources
  • Skills and competency development as appropriate, especially for communication
  • Code of conduct
  • Cultural/heritage sensitivity and appreciation training
  • Guidelines for program participants on how to get the most out of the mentoring relationship
  • Do’s and Don’ts of managing the relationships
  • "Job" and/or role descriptions
  • Crisis management/problem-solving resources
  • Support materials and ongoing sessions as necessary
  • Suggestions for how to get started

8. Strategy for matching mentors and young people that includes:

  • Appropriate criteria for matches, including some or all of the following: gender; age; language requirements; availability; needs; interests; geography; preferences for mentors and young people; life experience; temperament
  • Commitment by all participants to the conditions of the match and the mentoring relationship

9. A monitoring process that includes:

  • Consistent and regular communications with staff, mentors; and young people
  • Tracking system for ongoing assessment 
  • Written records
  • Input from stakeholders such as – community partners and/or family members
  • Rationale for utilizing selected monitoring strategy(ies)

10. A support, recognition and retention component that includes:

  • Formal kick-off
  • Process for managing grievances, re-matching, interpersonal problem solving, handling crises and bringing closure to relationships that end prematurely
  • Ongoing peer support for volunteers, young people and others
  • Ongoing training and development
  • Social gatherings, if appropriate 
  • Ongoing recognition and appreciation events 
  • Newsletters or others communications to young people, mentors, supporters and funders

11. Closure steps that include:

  • Private and confidential exit interviews to debrief the mentoring relationship between:
    • Young people and staff
    • Mentors and staff
    • Mentors and young people
  • Clearly stated policies for future communication between mentors and young people
  • Assistance for young people in defining next steps for achieving personal goals

12. An evaluation and information dissemination process that includes:

  • Strategy for ongoing evaluation of the program and application of lessons learned
  • Consideration of the information needed by program board members, funders, communication partners and other supporters
  • Sharing program information and lessons learned with program stakeholders and broader mentoring community

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