CHARITIES welcome the launch of the UK’s first nationwide mentoring scheme to connect people working across the charity sector and help them become more effective in their roles.
A new, charity-specific mentoring scheme is launching, connecting people, skills and organisations across the UK. The Charity Mentoring Network is the brainchild of Martin Baker, founder and CEO of The Charity Learning Consortium, who is partnering with mentoring platform PushFar. The scheme will be accessible to all 200,000 UK charities.
Under the new scheme, charities will be able to share mentors, drawing on the knowledge, skills and experience of others in the sector. The corporate world is also invited to participate in this skills and knowledge transfer, with private sector employees being able to use their charity and volunteering days to act as mentors.
Martin Baker said:
“The charity sector needs a way of upskilling people for maximum impact. This is a scalable, low-cost way of doing it. We are connecting all UK charities so that they can share mentors, making the sector more efficient and effective through the sharing of knowledge and experience.”
The Charity Mentoring Network has partnered with PushFar, to use their mentoring platform to facilitate the network. Charities can use the platform to sign up their people, where it will then use smart algorithms to match participants. PushFar’splatform also includes features for reporting, supporting hybrid communication and more.
Ed Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder of PushFar, commented on the partnership:
“We’re excited to be partnering to launch the Charity Mentoring Network, to help provide support to those working hard to give back. Working for a charity can be incredibly demanding and sometimes an isolating experience. I am hopeful that our network will help not only upskill people but connect them at the same time.”
Launching on National Mentoring Day (October 27, 2023), the platform will go live on January 22 2024. Small charities (under 50 employees) will be able to use the service free of charge, while medium-sized charities will pay £500 a year, big charities £1000 a year and huge charities £2000 a year. The cost of small charities joining will be covered by corporate sponsorship of the network.
Thirty charities have already signed up for the initiative, including the Royal Voluntary Service, St John Ambulance, Shelter, Alzheimer’s Society and Epilepsy Action.
Mary-Anne Fiorini, director of people and culture at Quo Vadis Trust, a provider of social housing, care and support for people living with mental health needs, says the initiative will help the charity sector as a whole.
“Having someone you can turn to for guidance and support is essential for acquiring confidence in your own abilities and encouraging leadership skills to grow. Developing a network within our charitable community can only help strengthen our sector as a whole, as the collective knowledge and experience shared from mentor to mentee helps underpin new ideas and decisions whilst forming alliances and sharing best practices.”
Tania Hummel is director of people and engagement at Whizz Kidz, the UK’s leading charity for young wheelchair users, the network provides an opportunity for smaller charities with limited training budgets to access much broader skills and expertise.
“Mentoring is important to the charity sector as it connects experienced professionals with those who are new or less experienced, transferring knowledge, skills and experience – especially important to smaller charities with limited training budgets, and where lack of expertise within the organisation limits potential. Mentoring ultimately leads to better and more impactful programmes and services.”
Martin Botting, human resources business partner at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Force’s leading welfare charity, added:
“The RAF Benevolent Fund sees mentoring as a way to develop professionals in their roles to tackle real-life challenges with the support and guidance of an industry expert.”
The idea for the network grew out of conversations with members of the Charity Learning Consortium. A group of charities had set up a mentoring group which met once a year to allocate mentors to people.
Martin Baker added:
“However, the process took too long and took up too much time. We needed a way to scale the idea so that it could reach all charities.”
Early adopters say that the network will help charity workers access a broad range of mentors who share, or have experienced, similar challenges to the ones they face in their current role.
Rich Broadway, Organisational Development and Learning Specialist at the Alzheimer’s Society said:
“Organisations across the charity sector share similar values and exist to make a difference in the lives of many people but we also face similar challenges. Mentoring is the perfect vehicle for sharing knowledge, skills and experience across the sector to help maximise our impact, build our workforce and overcome some of those challenges.”
Heather Blanchard, learning and development business partner at housing association CHP, the network provides a way to support graduates and apprentices, she said:
“Having the Charity Mentoring Network available to our employees gives us a greater range of experience that our employees can tap into, both for growing in their own careers but also sharing their wealth of knowledge with others. We aim to use the CMN platform in particular to support our apprentices and graduates, as well as employees who are progressing into new roles internally.”
To find out more about the Charity Mentoring Network visit www.charitymentoring.net. The network also runs monthly virtual coffee mornings for charities wanting to find out more.