Mentoring Programs: Basic Internal Metrics

Keeping record of the basic internal metrics for a mentoring program is an important part of tracking the progress of a program.  These basic metrics help a mentoring program to identify which mentoring best practices are being done well and what adjustments may need to be made so that the program becomes more effective.  Let’s look at the metrics that mentoring programs need to track and why they are important.

  • Mentor Recruitment – Programs need to track when and how they recruited their mentors.  Evaluate this information to see what recruitment methods are most effective and productive.
  • Protégé Referrals – Programs need to track where they receive referrals of their protégés, the best time of year to recruit, and who is the best connection in that referral source.  Evaluate this information to see what recruitment methods are most effective and productive.
  • New Matches – Track the date that the new matches start.
  • Coaching Contact Rate – Track the monthly contacts that each mentoring coach makes with each mentor, protégé, and parent / guardian on their caseload.  Within one match there are three contacts that must be made (mentor, protégé, and parent).  It is important to contact all three within forty-eight hours of the match to assess how everyone feels about the first meeting. During the first three months of the match, the coach needs to contact all three every other week, so there would be a total of six contacts per month for a new match.  After the first three months it is one contact per month with mentor, protégé, and parent, so there would be a total of three contacts per month.  The method for calculating the contact rate is to divide the number of contacts made in the month by the total number of contacts required (60/68 = 88% contact rate).  Contacts are the key to assessing the health of the match.  This is a good area to set a goal.  A good contact rate is 90% and up.
  • Match Endings – Track the date the match ended and why it ended.  Document reasons that the match closed – (mentor ended, family ended, mentor moved, protégé moved, mentor instability, family instability, incompatible match, etc.). Evaluate why the match ended, especially for matches that did not fulfill their initial commitment.  Have a feedback loop for any changes or adjustments that might need to be made to prevent this from happening again.  For example, if a program is experiencing premature match endings, does more emphasis need to be put into the mentor training around mentor commitment or do expectations need to be communicated better during screening interviews, mentoring training, and the match meeting?
  • 1- and 2-Year Retention Rates – There are two ways to grow a mentoring program: recruiting new mentors and retaining existing mentors.  Also, mentoring research shows that longer mentoring matches yield better outcomes.  Let’s look at how a program measures the retention rates of mentoring matches, which is the percentage of mentoring matches continued after one, two, three years and beyond.  For newer mentoring programs it is helpful to track one and two-year retention numbers.  For mentoring programs that have existed many years it is helpful to figure their current retention rates by looking at numbers for the past two years. These one and two-year retention numbers will give a snapshot of your effectiveness in keeping mentoring matches engaged. For older programs, going back five years or more will give you a broader picture of program effectiveness.  These metrics help your program look at what adjustments might need to be made with coaching of matches, training, screening, and match-making procedures.  

Match retention data is easy to compile.  Keep track of all new matches and all match endings.  For a one-year retention rate, take a snapshot of all matches that have made it past one year, but have not exceeded two years. 

  • Pick a date — for example, March 1, 2020 – and then look at all the matches from the time period of March 1, 2018 – March 1, 2019 and determine how many are still going and how many ended. 
    • To get the retention rate, add all the new matches made from March 1, 2018 – March 1, 2019 and come up with a total (50). 
    • Then, look at the active matches as of March 1, 2020 and see how many of those matches are still going (40). 
    • Finally, take the number of matches still going and divide it by the total.  The percentage is your retention rate (40 /50 = 80%).  That means that 80% of the matches made over one year ago and less than two years ago are still going.  An average one-year retention rate is around 75-85%.  A good one-year retention rate is 85-90%. At CAYM many of the ministries we train have retentions of over 90%. 
    • The two-year retention is figured the same way, using the above example taking a snap shot from March 1, 2017 – March 1, 2018 and seeing how many are still going as of March 1, 2020.  A good two-year retention rate is 70-80%.  Most programs just look at one-and-two-year retention rates; they don’t go much higher than that.  If your program has low match retention rates, it would be important to identify why that is and make necessary adjustments.

Mentoring programs that track these basic metrics, evaluate them on a regular basis (at least yearly), and make necessary adjustments will find that their programs will continue to be more effective.

–Donnovan Karber, National Field Director

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