Developing Partners and Program Policies

Building Community Partnerships

One of the most important tasks for the mentoring coordinator is the creation and maintenance of community partnerships that enhance the mentoring program and the experience of mentors and mentees. Partnerships can be formed with:

  • Businesses and business associations
  • Cultural and faith groups
  • Community organizations and nonprofits
  • Higher education institutions (including associated fraternities and sororities and campus groups)
  • Civic groups
  • Law enforcement, juvenile justice, and other public agencies
  • Unions and workers’ rights organizations
  • Other local mentoring programs and state-level mentoring organizations (such as State Mentoring Partnerships)

Some of your partnerships may be rather informal, while others may involve roles and responsibilities that warrant a formal partnership agreement, especially if program funds or staff time are involved. Use a written memorandum of understanding (DOC) for any formal partners that will be assisting with your National Mentoring Alliance work.

Aligning Policies and Procedures

Your YouthBuild program is already operating under an established set of policies and procedures, but you may need to create new policies specific to the mentoring program or rewrite current procedures to work effectively with the mentoring component.

  • Policies provide guidance on overarching aspects of your program, such as how mentors are screened, rules for program participation, and what information is collected during evaluations.
  • Procedures are the step-by-step instructions that govern program functions. They support and operationalize policies by explicitly showing how things are done. For example, your screening policy will explain the requirements of the screening checks potential mentors must go through; the screening procedure will explain how to administer all the screening forms and conduct all the specific background checks.

When developing formal mentoring policies, it is critical to get the approval of your parent agency’s board or governing body. In some cases, policies will need the review and approval of legal counsel.

You may want to use this template (DOC) for developing your own policies and procedure manual.