What do we do?
We enable Charities in Kent and the Medway Unitary Authority to meet Mentors for pro-bono strategic advice.
What inspired us?
In 2013 a charity in Oxfordshire ran into difficulty and faced closure. The charity sought advice from an independent experienced business leader who helped it to see and explore different options and come up with solutions that meant the charity survived. This inspired the birth of Charity Mentors Oxfordshire, which has gone on to establish an excellent reputation helpingthe Oxfordshire voluntary sector. Charity Mentors East Sussex was formed in 2016, adopting the same template. Charity Mentors Kent Medway, an independent organisation, is the latest to follow the examples of these other successful ones.
What’s it about?
Running a charity or social enterprise can be a challenging and sometimes lonely job! Do you find managing daily operational and financial issues allows limited scope to consider the strategic direction of an organisation? Or maybe you have lots of ideas, but which is the best one to take your organisation to where you want to go, and how do you get there?
Speaking to somebody with top level management experience in the business or charity sectors can help you to get fresh perspectives and helps to release time your time so you can look beyond immediate service delivery and focus on future challenges.
Our mentors can make a real difference. They have been carefully selected to ensure that that they add value to you, the mentee, and ultimately to your organisation.
How does it work?
Contact Charity Mentors and arrange a telephone conversation with the coordinator to establish whether your project is suitable and, if so, outline what your objectives might be.
If you are the CEO / Manager of the organisation, we ask that you share the fact that you are thinking of working with us with your trustees / board. If you are a trustee / chair, share with your other trustees. It makes sense in an organisation with collective responsibility that everyone is aware of support at a strategic level. We ask your permission to contact your chair, or other trustees, to explain our role. We need email confirmation from them that they are on-board before we move forward.
We will then help you find the best mentor for your needs so that you can arrange a meeting. The aim of this first meeting is for you and the mentor to decide if you would like to work together on a project and to clarify your goals. You are not committed to working with Charity Mentors until after you have had this meeting.
If you both feel that you can work together productively, you then have a period of around 4-months in which to complete the mentoring project. This might entail just a couple more meetings, or five or six. The whole project is designed around you, your organisation and your needs. The important thing is that you use your mentor whilst you have them!
At the end of the project we ask you to complete a feedback form and we arrange to check-back with you after a period of around 6-months
The service is free-of-charge and completely confidential between yourself and Charity Mentors although we do ask if you would help us to spread the word and, at a minimum, you summarise the project outcomes to report back to trustees.
What sort of issues might be covered?
- Supporting and encouraging managers in clarifying options and priorities.
- Decisions about the development and direction of the organisation. Managing change and how to articulate it.
- Decisions concerning structure and staffing.
- Exploring how an organisation might move to the “next step” in terms of growth and sustainability.
- Positioning and purpose of an organisation to enable strategic focus and better funding applications.
- Identifying resource requirements
- Working through trustees and governance issues.
- Help with being new in role as a manager or CEO.
Who might benefit?
We work with anyone who has a leadership role within a charity, community group or not-for-profit public interest business, including trustees, managers and directors. We can focus on a specific issue or on general strategic direction.
Our mentors will help a mentee think through issues and help them to come to their own solutions and conclusions. We always seek the permission of trustees before becoming involved.
Charity Mentors offer short term support (usually 3-4 months) and it costs nothing apart from energy and commitment from the mentee.