Emma Smallwood, Development Manager at The Lowry, answers five questions about her experiences of being a mentor for the RAISE programme, and says why she would recommend others to get involved.
I was keen to take on the role to support a young professional in a similar role to the one I started my fundraising career in over seven years ago. But I was also keen to take on a project which would help me grow personally in this current phase of my career as a manager, developing my skills in coaching and mentoring.
It has been a really great opportunity for self-reflection, thinking about my experiences and career to date, and then thinking and talking about my team’s approaches and best practice. You rarely get the opportunity to just think and talk about what you do, and how you do it.
It has also been great for my professional confidence and self-esteem, through having really constructive conversations that my mentee has found interesting and valuable. It has also been a real pleasure getting to know my mentee and learning about the activities and approaches she takes and the challenges she faces in her role.
It’s very difficult to pick out a particular highlight! Some of our conversations have clearly armed my mentee with lots of new and useful information, and to see her really galvanised and excited about taking information or suggestions away and acting on it is hugely rewarding.
I would definitely recommend others to become a mentor if they would like to make a real difference to the emerging careers of fundraisers, perhaps supporting someone in a similar place to where they were a few years ago. It’s a great feeling to think that you are really going to help someone get the confidence, make the contacts and grow the ideas they need to take the next steps and become a real success. It’s also such a great opportunity professionally to reflect on your own career, and develop some really important management skills.
Just go for it! Don’t worry about whether you are experienced or ‘senior’ enough to do it, all of your experience and advice is so valuable and your mentee will be so excited to hear what you have to say!
Think about all the things you wish someone had told you when you were starting out in your fundraising career, or advice you’ve found really useful along the way, but also be sure to let the mentee set the agenda so they can come away from each meeting or conversation energised and full of answers and ideas.
For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our cookies page.
Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.
We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. We’d also like to set Dotdigital website behaviour cookies to improve the email communications you receive from us by collecting information on the content you view on our website.