When Lucy met Nancy
Mentoring can be an excellent way to develop new skills, talk about career progression and share ideas with like-minded professionals.
The IoF’s London region mentoring scheme is a unique opportunity for mentees to access fundraising expertise tailored to their individual development needs, and for mentors to develop their management and leadership qualities. Here we hear the experience of Lucy Scanlon and Nancy Gray, brought together through the London Mentoring Scheme.
I participated as a mentee in the 2012 scheme and really enjoyed the experience. My mentor helped me enormously both with fundraising and with moving to a new organisation. He encouraged me to apply to be a mentor this year, but I was very nervous at first. I’m only in my mid-twenties, with less than 5 years fundraising experience – I could just imagine the disappointed look on my future mentee’s face when they got matched with me.
However, I decided to be brave and go for it. I found the mentoring training very useful, both in building my skills (must remember to listen more and talk less!) and in building my confidence. At the end of the training I felt much more prepared and less like an imposter.
The matching day really helped – getting to know several potential mentees and thinking about what I could offer them as a mentor. I think I was matched very well and have really enjoyed getting to know my mentee and I think she has found our first few sessions useful.
One of my career goals is to gain line management experience, and the mentoring scheme is a really good first step in that direction. I’m so pleased I challenged myself – my advice to anyone thinking about applying would be ‘just do it’!
When my manager first suggested I take part in a mentor programme I hadn't really heard of the concept before, I mean, what would I ask them? Where would I begin? After a bit of searching I realised it was very lucky to have an existing programme specifically for fundraisers right on my doorstep.
I quickly signed up and wrote a long list of what I wanted to get out of the mentoring programme before going along to the matching day, extremely nervous about how I'd sell myself to my potential mentor (eased when I realised the nerves are from both sides!). I work in Community Fundraising and admittedly my initial thoughts were 'I want a successful Head of Community' so I could follow their career path… As the speed dating style matching began I realised there was so much more to gain from having a mentor. The day to day elements like relationships with your team, feedback on a project or how to deal with a difficult supporter, as well as those big career questions and decisions, these answers come from all walks of fundraising.
After an exhausting day of matching and my first few sessions in, I can honestly say I am really chuffed with who I was matched with. They are a couple of steps ahead of me in the career game and brilliant at frank support and coaching me in the right direction. I would recommend the mentoring programme no matter where you are in your career, there's someone for everyone. I look forward to the rest of our mentoring year (and maybe beyond) and I hope my mentor does too!
The London Mentoring Scheme is generously funded by the City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation's Charity
If you would like to become a mentor, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP