The Youth Mentoring Network


Develop a programme

Programme Planning

Plans will help address key variables such as what resources will be required to deliver a sustainable programme? How will the programme be funded? How will the programme be evaluated?

The Planning phase comprises three core components:

  • develop plans to support the programme
  • develop a policies and procedures manual
  • consider relevant legislative requirements

Refer to pages 29 - 31 of the Guide NZYMN Effective Practice Guide_Programme Development

You may also find this checklist useful: NZYMN Effective and Safe Practice in Youth Mentoring_Programme Planning Checklist

Further advice

Develop a financial plan: 

  • Develop a program budget;
  • Determine the amount of funding needed to start and sustain the programme;
  • Identify and secure a diversified funding stream needed to start and sustain the programme;
  • Determine the amount of time each funding source can be expected to provide resources;
  • Establish internal controls and auditing requirements; and
  • Establish a system for managing programme finances. 

Plan how to evaluate the program:

  • Decide on the evaluation design;
  • Determine what data will be collected, how it will be collected and the sources of data;
  • Determine the effectiveness of the programme process;
  • Determine the outcomes for mentors and mentees; and
  • Reflect on and disseminate findings.

Policies and Procedure - A Sample Checklist

Please note that the following information has been generously provided by Project K, (section 12 of their manual).

Some of it may not apply to your programme. It is intended as a guide only.

  1. Selection and Training of Mentors
  2. Screening
  3. The Interview
  4. Criminal Record Check
  5. Contracting Mentors
  6. Students and Mentors Meeting
  7. Student and Mentor Gender Matching
  8. Delayed Mentor Matching
  9. Codes and Standards of Behaviour
  10. Relating with the Student's family
  11. The role of the Mentor
  12. In Loco-parentis
  13. Mentor Portfolio:
  14. Assisting students achieve their goals
  15. Student disclosure and confidentiality
  16. Respecting student privacy
  17. Communications with students
  18. Student/Mentor overnight stays
  19. Dealing with suspected substance/physical abuse or harassment of students
  20. Dealing with harassment or abuse by the student
  21. Dealing with difficult student behaviour and negative attitudes
  22. Student smoking and substance abuse
  23. Student dishonesty
  24. Reporting and Meeting attendance
  25. Reporting Incidents and Accidents
  26. Committing Project K to any expense
  27. Money and Gifts from Mentors
  28. Acknowledgement of mentors
  29. Ongoing Training
  30. Performance Review
  31. Mentor smoking and substance abuse
  32. Dealing with Mentor complaints

Source Project K, Foundation For Youth Development, 2006

Also see "The 16 Steps to Effective Youth Mentoring - Dr Susan Weinberger" (42k pdf) for more information on this topic.

Risk Management

When two strangers are brought together, as is the case when a volunteer adult mentor is matched with a young person, there are bound to be risks involved, especially if the young person comes from a high risk environment.

A mentor is often spending time alone with the young person and there is also a strong focus on developing a close, meaningful relationship. Many young people are facing challenging circumstances and are often vulnerable.

Youth mentoring programmes should have policies and procedures in place to reduce risks to a minimum. This requires careful planning, thorough screening, orientation and training of programme staff, mentors and young people and acceptable safety procedures. Topics that need to be considered would include:

  • Processes to deal with conflict or grievance of some sort
  • Confidentiality
  • Transport
  • Safety and security issues

Programme staff should discuss possible issues that may arise during a mentoring partnership and how best to prepare for potential risk factors.

Risks are considerably reduced when there is effective ongoing training and supervision of the mentoring partnership by programme staff.

Effective record-keeping is a vitally important part of a risk management strategy.