Mentorship programs

Professional associations: Improving membership experience through mentorship

Mentorship likely already happens within your professional association. Why not formalize it so that the benefits of mentorship can be available to all? Here are five ways mentoring improve the experience of joining a professional association.

Ryan Carruthers

Published on 

April 11, 2022

Updated on 

Mentorships bring various benefits to participants, including career advancement, strong relationships, and even an increase in health and wellness. Many of these benefits are similar to those that people gain from membership in a professional association. So what happens if you combine the two experiences so that professional associations offer mentoring experiences for members? 

Why do people join professional associations?

Joining an association is a choice, and it requires the member to dedicate time and money to being involved. There are several different reasons why people choose to join an association, such as:

  • Advocacy - there is power in numbers and for those looking to make a change in the world, joining an association allows them to connect with others for a common cause. 
  • Networking - professional associations are built on a shared interest or background. Joining one allows people to connect with others in your industry or who have similar interests. This can expand one’s network and be a boon to their career. 
  • Learning - for those who are dedicated to lifelong learning, associations provide educational or training opportunities at relatively little cost. 
  • Job searching - most associations have a job board where members can find out about job openings in their field. 
  • Status - belonging to a professional association gives members more status. It’s often the hard-working and trustworthy professionals that join an association. 

5 ways that mentoring improves the experience of joining a professional association

Joining a professional association allows members to meet others with similar interests. These relationships have the potential to develop into meaningful mentorship. When that happens, it enhances the experience of being part of a professional association. When professional associations thrive, employees bring that energy back to their work and their performance speaks for itself. It's no wonder enterprise mentorship is championed by so many People Leaders.

Let's unpack the specific benefits professional association mentoring holds.  

1. Career development

Mentoring is mainly about helping the mentee develop their skills and capabilities to prepare for career advancement. When a mentee connects with professional association mentors, they can expand their development beyond their current employment. It can also be challenging for professionals to find and connect with mentors at their workplace or elsewhere. Professional association mentoring programs can be an attraction for people to join. 

2. Learning opportunities

People who join professional associations often look to be involved and are open to learning opportunities. These learning opportunities go beyond training or educational courses with a professional association mentorship. A mentoring experience can help mentees navigate the real world while a class or workshop focuses on theory or best practices. 

3. Support and guidance

A mentor offers encouragement, advice and guidance to a mentee. A professional association mentor can be a source of support that a mentee seeks out outside of their workplace but knows the industry. 

4. Finding role models and good influences

Those who join professional associations are often upstanding individuals. They are trustworthy and reliable. When these people mentor members, it puts them in touch with great role models. Professional association mentors can be good influences on their mentees, encouraging them to live out their careers to a high standard. 

5. Mentorship often leads to sponsorship

Mentorships in professional associations can also lead to sponsorship. When this happens, the mentor takes a more active role in helping their mentee connect with career opportunities and advancement. 

Examples of professional associations with mentoring programs

Several professional associations have already started offering mentoring programs for their members.

And they’ve used Together’s platform to pair members. The platform has a pairing algorithm that considers participant profiles and recommends the most relevant mentors for each person. 

With our mentoring software, professional associations can start, run, and manage a mentoring program with ease. Here are some of the professional associations that have developed successful mentorships with Together. 

  • Product Marketing Alliance - Product marketers have an opportunity to advance their skills and learn from some of the leaders in their industry with mentorship in the Product Marketing Alliance. 
  • All Raise - Helping women in the tech industry thrive and advocate change for their industry, members of All Raise can find support and encouragement with their mentoring program. 
  • The Forum - With the help of Together, The Forum was able to scale up its mentoring program for female entrepreneurs. Now, over four times the number of women business owners can learn and grow through mentorship. 
  • Iranian Women in Computing - Iranian women who immigrate to the U.S. and work in the computing industry often face unique challenges. They can find support and advice from other women who have made the same choices. 

How to start a mentoring program within your professional association

Starting a professional association mentoring program is not difficult. And it is so enriching for members. Moreover, a mentoring program can be a key selling point to potential members. Here is how to get started. 

Align on a goal for the program

A successful mentoring program requires some planning. Set objectives for the mentoring program. The more specific, the better. Choose goals that can be measured to help gauge the mentoring program's success. 

Promote the program

Consider how to spread the word to members and encourage involvement in the mentoring program. Some channels can include email, social media, membership pages, and the association website. If the professional association has a regular meeting space, put up flyers or notices letting members know about the program. 

Pair mentors and mentees

The matching process is one of the most crucial aspects of mentorship, which is why Together offers users a customizable algorithm to help ensure a good pairing. Everything else can fall into place when the mentor and mentee are well-matched. 

Provide meeting agendas and suggested discussion topics

Breaking the ice for mentors and mentees can be as easy as offering them meeting agendas or discussion topics. Together provides these resources, so our users can get the most from the mentoring experience. 

Check in with members

It’s essential to check in with members of the mentoring program. Ask them for feedback on their experience. This will let them know that the professional association genuinely cares about them and their mentorship. It can also provide critical information about what works and what doesn’t. 

Track results

Measure the success of the professional association mentoring program by tracking results. Using your KPIs, determine if the mentoring program meets the objectives outlined in step one or if there needs to be some adjustment or change. Our platform allows users to easily track and report on mentorships to see how successful the experience has been. 

Ready to start a mentoring program that runs itself?

With Together, a professional association mentoring program is easy to start and simple to run. We allow program administrators to decide how much control they want over the matching process. Together’s pairing algorithm can be adjusted to meet the needs of any mentoring program. Whether the association wants our platform to manage the matching process or enable the administrator to have control over the pairing process, Together is fully customizable. 

Together also includes resources for mentoring participants and program administrators. We have online content to help guide mentorships through the relationship. Users can also access other material, including session agendas and suggested discussion topics. 

Tracking the progress and success of a professional association mentoring program is made easy with Together’s reporting features. We allow administrators to decide what information is essential for the reporting and tracking process. 

Find out how easy and rewarding it can be to start a professional association mentoring program. Contact Together for a free demo today.

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