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Step 1: Scope the programme

You will need to be very clear about what you’re trying to achieve, what resources you are prepared to invest and what outputs/impact you want your programme to deliver. The framework below shows a number of key questions to ask.  It can also help you to measure your programme and quantify its contribution to organisational strategy and goals. Communications and ongoing engagement of volunteers and stakeholders are critical throughout all of these stages

  • What need or set of needs will the programme address?
  • Will you aim your mentoring support at a specific group? 
  • What targets will you set?
  • Will you draw your volunteer mentors from a specific group of employees?
Employer need

  • Improved employee engagement
  • Enhance/strengthen supply chain
  • Build reputation
Employee need

  • Greater self confidence
  • Increased motivation


Community/small business owner need

Business growth – e.g. revenue, market share, employment, profit etc, amongst small, medium and micro businesses

  • What resources are you putting into the volunteer business mentoring programme – scale, budget, time etc?

  • £x investment to set up and manage the volunteer business mentoring programme
  • £x training of volunteers
  • Resources to manage and monitor the programme
Volunteer time

E.g. 100 volunteers for 1 day a month for one year = 1200 hours


Additional time commitment from others in the company, responding to requests for info/advice from volunteer mentors to support their mentees

  • What has the investment achieved?


Employer benefits

  • Media – positive press coverage
  • Improved reputation
  • Government recognition


Employee benefits

  • Improved morale/pride in working for organisation
  • Skills gain
  • Improved understanding of business issues
Community/Small business owner benefits

  • Number of small business owners/enterprises  helped


  • How will things be better in the longer term as a result of your programme?
Employer impacts

  • Improved sales
  • Stronger supply chain


Employee impacts

  • Promotion/career development


Community/small business owner impact

  • Number of SMEs reporting growth in sales/turnover/profit
  • Number of SMEs expanding and recruiting more staff

In scoping your programme you will also want to consider a range of risks and issues for example –

  • Are there any legal implications of your scheme either for your organisation or for the volunteer?   (for example contracts with mentoring organisation with whom you might partner, or professional indemnity for your employees),
  • How will you mitigate against potential conflicts of interest between volunteer mentor and mentee, especially if your target group of businesses are within your supply chain?
  • What time commitment from volunteers will you expect as a minimum, or support as a maximum?

You’ll also need to plan your communication strategy, to ensure you recruit sufficient volunteers to meet your goals.

Step Two