For this month’s “Mentoring in the News”, we wanted to highlight one our Expert Partners that received quite a bit of coverage in the news recently. While I was up north visiting family the first weekend of March, I noticed that I was hearing Mentor Duluth’s name at the top of every newscast. Naturally, it caught my attention, and I was thrilled to see one of our quality partners receiving positive attention for one of their recruiting initiatives.
In March 2016, Mentor Duluth kicked off their 9th annual recruitment effort: March into Mentoring. Each year, Mentor Duluth seeks to recruit 31 new mentors in the 31 days of March to match with some of the over 200 youth on their waiting list. During this year’s March, Mentor Duluth received coverage for their campaign that went beyond typical attention for mentor recruitment. WDIO/WIRT (an ABC affiliate), Fox 21 News (a FOX Broadcast Network affiliate), WDSE (a PBS affiliate), B105 (a country music station), Duluth News Tribune, and The Woman Today magazine all featured the March campaign either on the air, in print, and/or on their websites. Callie Ronstrom, Mentor Duluth Director, mentioned in one of the news stories that their program usually sees 100 new mentors in a given year so a goal of 31 in one month is quite ambitious. Current mentors, Matt and Anne, shared how simple mentoring can be—that it’s time to have fun with a young person, give back to your community, and connect with a positive, stable adult outside of a young person’s family. Matt even stated, “Kids are great and we should invest in them.” Here are some links to the news pieces:
“Mentor Duluth Seeks 31 Volunteers for March into Mentoring Campaign” – WDIO/WIRT (interview with a Mentor Duluth staff member and mentor)
“March into Mentoring Looks to Recruit 31 Mentors” – Fox 21 News (interview with a Mentor Duluth staff member and mentor)
“March into Mentoring Campaign Hopes to Recruit 31 Mentors in 31 Days in March” B105 Radio
“Almanac North – Mar 4, 2016” – WDSE (interview with a Mentor Duluth staff member and mentor)
“Make a Difference for March 6, 2016” – Duluth News Tribune
Now, I know what you’re wondering: did Mentor Duluth succeed in their effort? “It’s been a fun month,” Josh Nonnemacher, Mentor Duluth’s Marketing and Recruitment Specialist, stated in an email following the March campaign. Josh noted: as a small program without a ton of financial resources for advertising, the extra attention to their mentoring recruitment campaign was a huge bonus this year. Typically, they rely on word of mouth and stories from current mentors to help them recruit throughout the year and during the March campaign. Social media also played an integral part to the month’s recruitment effort. They featured matches and youth on the waiting list in Facebook and Twitter posts which drew extra traffic and shares. They also placed a sponsored ad on Facebook which drew over 5,000 impressions and prompted nearly 200 clicks to the mentor information page on their website.
“Yeah, but did they make it?” – I can hear you asking. Yes, Mentor Duluth was successful in their recruitment of 31 mentors in the 31 days in March. Was it the extra media attention in the news or the extra effort on social media? Did current mentors share their stories and experiences to the right people in their networks? I don’t know the answers. However, after nine years of planning “March into Mentoring”, it’s clear that Mentor Duluth isn’t afraid to try new strategies or to re-energize current efforts to recruit new mentors.
What recruitment efforts has your program tried? What worked? What didn’t? Share your strategies in the comments!