First Steps

Congratulations on taking the first step in starting a youth mentoring program.

Whether you are exploring the idea of starting a program, conducting a needs-assessment for a mentoring program in your community or in the process of establishing a program —you will find resources and tools that you need to develop and implement a quality-based mentoring program.


Step One: Review MENTOR's Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and Companion Toolkit

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the program components from our Elements of Effective Practicefor Mentoring™ Third Edition. The Elements are quality- and evidence-based standards which include the latest research and practice wisdom to help mentoring relationships thrive and endure. Structuring your mentoring program to adhere to the Elements will greatly increase your ability to ensure that the young people served by your program experience positive outcomes as a result of being mentored.

Another available resource is the companion toolkit to the Elements, How to Build a Successful Mentoring Program Using the Elements of Effective Practice which includes tools, templates and advice for implementing and adhering to the Elements.


Step Two: Find out if There is a Mentoring Partnership in your Area

MENTOR’s network of Mentoring Partnerships includes the leading state and local resources and capacity builders increasing the power of mentoring to benefit more young people. They work collaboratively to mobilize their communities to action by equipping program managers, training mentors, galvanizing leadership and promoting our national quality standards. Our Mentoring Partnerships stand ready to assist you with training and technical assistance as you work toward starting or strengthening your mentoring program.


Step Three: Register Your Program in MENTOR’s Volunteer Referral System (VRS)

After your program is established, register it in the Volunteer Referral System to help you recruit more mentors and increase visibility for your organization. Thousands of prospective mentors visit Mentoring.org each month to find mentoring opportunities in their community. Further, MENTOR works with many partners to promote mentoring opportunities in their volunteer databases, and registering your program with MENTOR will ensure that your mentoring opportunities are available to those who want to get involved as a result of various promotions and campaigns.