As the incoming President of the RI Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and a teacher of a Philanthropy class at Rhode Island College (RIC), I get lots of questions and comments about mentoring.

How can I get a mentor?”

“…we had a mentoring program, it didn’t work.”

“…the mentor I want is way too busy for me.”

The reality is if you really want a mentor the opportunity is there for the taking.  Here are some suggestions made easy to remember with the acronym PASS:

  1. Keep it Positive – Who are the professionals or people that you admire?  Who are the people that you aspire to be like?  Chose those people to be your mentors.
  2. Keep it Anonymous –Most of my mentors don’t even know they are my mentors!  I follow them on twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.  I read their suggested articles.  I engage with them at educational seminars and on an individual basis via email, phone and social media.  But, for the most part, they don’t know that they are my mentors.  Think of it like choosing positive professional role models.
  3. Keep it Simple – The mentoring relationship does not need to be something uber-formal with regular meetings and homework (note: that is coaching, not mentoring).  Email or call a specific question to someone you have chosen to be a mentor.
  4. Keep it Small – A mentor is someone who can help you with one or many two specific challenges.  For example, “learning how to be more assertive with your Executive Director of Board Chair”.  They are not a resource for all of your professional education.  Keeping it small will ensure a positive mentoring relationship and will keep you coming back for more!

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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