Do I Need Mentoring Software for My Small Program?

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Spreadsheets are great if you’ve got a small mentoring program and plan to keep it small; but if you plan to eventually scale, we don’t recommend manual administration management. That’s because it’s extremely difficult (read: impossible) to scale a mentoring program using manual matching methods—and you should be looking to scale your mentoring program. 

Why? Because mentoring programs work best when they span large departments or your entire organisation, ensuring everyone is learning and feeling sponsored and supported, all while helping you build a culture of mentoring.

3 Questions to Ask When Deciding if Mentoring Software is Right for You

To help you get started, let’s explore a few things you should consider before launching a small mentoring program or pilot program.

1. How Many Participants Are We Hoping To Have?

While 50 participants might sound like a small program—just 25 mentoring pairs—remember, you have to match every single one of those 50 people based on several criteria (like location, department, goals, interests, skills, etc.).

Not to mention, after you’ve matched them, you’ll also have to contact each of them to inform them of their match—and this is just the beginning! As mentoring relationships develop and your organisation’s headcount increases, so will the time you spend on the admin side of things. Thankfully, having a designated program coordinator can help.

A program coordinator guides the overall Mentoring Program’s journey, informing the program architecture by making decisions on things like the program’s purpose, population, and timeline. Most of this person’s heavy lifting is done during the launch and beginning stages of the program and tends to become more of a maintenance and check-in role as the program matures.

2. How Much Time Are We Willing To Put Aside For Program Management?

Seeing as you or a teammate would probably be doing this program management work on top of your other daily functions, it’s important to ask yourself: How much time do you have allocated/will you allocate to manage this program? 

Remember, it doesn’t stop with matching—which is already a big job in itself—the program will need continuous support, measurement, and reporting (if you’re doing a pilot), among other things. And keep in mind: the more participants you have, the more time you’ll need for this initiative.

3. Are We Launching This Program With A Long-Term Plan To Scale?

If the pilot goes well and you decide to scale a 20-person program to a 100-person program, admin and matching will become unmanageable. That’s because it’s hard to match pairs given how many variables each individual and their interests represent, a spreadsheet is simply not a tool that easily integrates with other functions of a mentoring program, and, honestly, it just takes a lot of time and effort.

If you’re doing a pilot program, having some data—even for a small program—will be useful going forward. In other words, if you start out your program as you mean to continue it, scaling will be much less of a pain.

The Takeaway

A mentoring program can be managed with spreadsheets and email if the program is small—we’re talking 20-30 participants max — however, if you plan to scale, then the right mentoring software is an investment that’s well worth the price.  

For more about the benefits of forgoing the spreadsheet + email combo for mentoring program management, check out how our software works, as well as the pricing structure that’s right for you.

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Grace Winstanely
Grace Winstanely
Content Marketing Manager at Mentorloop - dedicated to making content that helps make mentoring more accessible to all and helping Program Coordinators deliver the best mentoring experience for their participants. She's also a keen cook, amateur wine connoisseur, Aussie rules football fanatic, and lover of all things tropical.

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