Tutor/Mentor Connection

Connect knowledge, volunteers, youth and make a difference.

T/MC launched a small survey of Chicago tutor/mentor programs in August 09 and Nicole White has summarized the results on her blog.

We launched a broader survey in August 2008 to understand what we have in common and how we differ. You can still take it at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Fc0avXYOPKbbkwDnIQi38A_3d_3d

Editor note, Feb. 2014: The results of this survey no longer are showing on the SurveyMonkey page. Here is the blog article showing results, as of Sept. 2009.

I created this image to illustrate the infrastructure needed in a non profit tutor/mentor program. Is this true for your organization? Do you have all of this in place? What ways can we work together to make such support available to more of the organizations providing tutoring/mentoring?

I encourage new people to take the survey, and to encourage people in your own networks to participate. Then, I'd also like to find people will will lead discussions to help us all gain meaning from the responses, and to look for areas of common need where we can work together to solve those challenges.

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If you're a tutor/mentor program and would like to fill out the survey, it's still up and live at:
We have been doing surveys of Chicago area programs since 1999. Here's another discussion on Nng with discussion of an earlier survey.

Here's a "strengthening non profits" white paper that shows common needs of non profit organizations and strategies to help overcome these challenges.
Here's a link to an article on the T/MC web site, titled "Youth Mentoring: A good thing?" This is important reading for leaders of tutor/mentor programs, policy makers, and donors. If we don't understand what population of youth can best benefit from tutor/mentor programs (or what kind of program has most impact on what category of young people), we won't build strategies that assure that good programs are in the places where they are most needed.

If you know of other research that would be added to this discussion, or if you have created your own set of "tipping points" please share your ideas here.
I think it was stated best that the results are not horribly surprising.  I would agree that the technology part being so low is a little surprising, but when stacked up against dollars (which is one thing that the websites could be used for) or recruiting volunteers (yet another thing that websites can do for you) I can see it falling short on the list.  I guess the tech part is more of a means to an end, the ends being more important of course.  I would be interested to know how many of these organizations utilize the web to draw in volunteers and operating dollars as opposed to word of mouth.

Joe, you make a good point. At Cabrini Connections, I'd say 95% of our volunteers find out about us on the web (a lot of our students do, too). We have a lot of information on our web site which attracts them, along with clear ways to contact us. We also get a lot of referrals from idealist.org. Then, in turn, over time, a lot of our volunteers are the ones who contribute to or put us in touch with fundraising opportunities. I guess it's part a "chicken or the egg" situation, but I think there is great value in investing in technology, specifically a web site, for nonprofits.

I think that's a really good point, Bradley and Joe. It's always interesting speaking to parents who call us looking for a tutoring or mentoring program for their child. Parents often call us simply because we have a good website and come up near the top in the search engines NOT because we are located near them or would be the best fit for their child. We oftentimes get calls from parents of elementary-aged students, for instance. I think this highlight both the importance of technology, and also the value of the Program Locator and Tutor/Mentor Connection. Although TMC's information is not as up-to-date as we would like, it is still the most comprehensive inventory of programs in the city, so it can be of tremendous help to parents, students, and volunteers struggling to navigate the often archaic websites of various programs.

Illinois Mentoring Partnership "State of Mentoring In Illinois, 2014" report shows funding greatest need of Illinois mentoring programs.  Tutor/Mentor Connection surveys and feed back from program leaders have identified this as an urgent need since the mid 1990s.

What's needed is consistent leadership from business, philanthropy, elected officials, faith leaders and others to draw volunteers and donors to all tutor/mentor programs on a consistent basis, just the way corporate office teams of big companies use advertising to draw customers to stores, or web sites,  on a regular basis.


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