Now that all of your background processes are in place, you will need to announce your programme to your prospective participants and tell them how to sign up.

Tools to communicate your programme

The tools you have for communicating to prospective participants will be unique to your organisation or network, but you could use tools like:

  • newsletters or personalised emails
  • articles and blogposts on your intranet or website
  • posters in a building you and your participants work in

Consider the participants you want to target, and build a communications plan around the tools and your participants.

Publish, don’t send

Regardless of the tools you are using, we recommend that you publish as much of your programme information as possible in an easily accessible place for your prospective participants. Don’t rely exclusively on email and email attachments.

Making information freely available in a single location – like an intranet or a website – means that if people have questions or are curious about your programme, they can find the information themselves. This means you can avoid responding to lots of repetitive questions or, even better, direct people asking repetitive questions to the published information.

Let the guidance do the talking

You don’t necessarily need to create lots of marketing material. In preparing to launch your programme you will have created lots of guidance documents and information; use that as part of your communications plan.

Do extra work to recruit mentors

You will likely find it easier to recruit mentees than mentors. You should consider how you can specifically target mentors in you communications activities.

Approach senior mentors more directly

Target mentors from small, harder-to-recruit cohorts like your organisation’s most senior leaders. Consider whether you will need to approach these cohorts personally and directly to get the best results.

Give something, get something

You can encourage people who have signed up as mentees to also take part as mentors; enticing them to “give something back”. This can reinforce the engagement with the programme and may increase your total number of mentors and mentees taking part.

Consider timing

You should consider how to time your communications. This might include deciding whether or not you:

  • announce your mentoring programme in advance of registrations opening
  • publish all of your materials and guidance up-front, or in phases
  • announce your induction sessions at the same time as other activities
  • send reminder emails about deadlines for participation

These decisions might also affect how long you leave your registration window open for.

Case study

Civil Service LGBT+ mentoring programme

The cross-government LGBT+ network announced all of the details of its mentoring programme at the same time.

A blog post was published to announce the programme, alongside the general programme information, mentor and mentee guidance documents, and schedule of induction sessions. This information was also sent out to the network’s mailing list was also used to advertise the opportunity. The registration window for the programme opened on the same date.

The programme was organically advertised by other networks and groups inside the Civil Service to drive further registrations to the programme.

Some limited social media activity was undertaken to advertise the programme, but given the nature of engagement with the network, it is unlikely that social media was a major source of participation in the programme.