Hear what other people say about us
Hear what other people say about us
I have benefitted hugely from your mentoring support – it has emboldened me to focus on aspects of strategy and governance that I felt needed addressing but lacked the conviction and confidence to do. So all in all it feels like a successful outcome and one which I would very much like to thank you for – your time, consideration and wealth of experience have been welcomed and valued and I have no doubt that many other professionals like myself will benefit from your support in the future.
It is very useful to take time to step back from the operational work, to speak to someone outside the organisation, particularly if, like me, you are new to the role. Not only have the meetings with my mentor been useful, but I also looked forward to them: they always left me feeling more positive and reassured.
It was useful to be able to speak to a mentor who has experience of working with a number of charities. Our meetings were an opportunity for me to use my mentor as a sounding board for ideas and thoughts that I had. The meetings gave me the confidence to try new ways of working with trustees and helped me to get their buy-in and increase their involvement with the charity. It was a great opportunity to benefit from the experience and knowledge of others who are delivering in the charitable sector.
We all need challenging sometimes. Charity CEO’s don’t have shareholders to answer to or shareholder value to create. Trustees can perform this role but, as a trusted outsider, a charity mentor can help by enabling you to rise to these challenges in your own way and enable you to focus on what is important. 3-6 months with a Charity Mentor is the perfect antidote for a stressed-out over-burdened Charity CEO.
The opportunity to discuss the work of our charity with someone outside the organisation but with relevant experience and understanding was a great help with prioritising and preparing an achievable development strategy. Our mentor helped us develop a clear plan and focus on the areas that were important in a coherent way. We now know what we need to achieve and how we may do this. Before we had ideas but nobody to bring them all together and highlight the priorities for our vision. The service was so personalised to our needs – I think this was what helped us the most. Some courses, advice are more generalist. I found it so helpful to have that tailored 1:1 support.
I would whole-heartedly recommend Charity Mentors. It has been a great support, offering tailored mentoring to enable reflection and helping me to have a clearer focus of my role within the organisation: how best to prioritise my time and effort to support the charity; being clear about the role of Chair of Trustees and how that differs from the CEO’s roles and responsibilities; considering the current governance arrangements and support for the CEO; and, considering risks and opportunities for the charity.
You would have to be a little bit crazy, as the leader of a small charity, not to want to take advantage of the free input of someone with this level of experience and skill. Even if your charity is working brilliantly, a fresh pair of eyes might help you see what you have missed. All leaders need to be open to learning and growth; this will benefit both your charity and you as a leader. If you’re too busy to consider it, you need it even more!
Before working with my mentor, I often felt that we lacked momentum and that the same issues kept coming up with no sustained strategy for dealing with them. The Project is constantly evolving, and while some of the major issues have not been entirely resolved, I feel that we now have a better sense of direction. I would particularly emphasise the opportunity mentoring gives to discuss your aims and objectives in a thoroughly exploratory way, and how much confidence it gives you to have someone reflect back to you what you have actually achieved.
I would definitely recommend Charity Mentors. Working with a Charity Mentor will give you the opportunity to challenge your own ideas and find the best way forward as a result, and give you an external perspective from someone with expertise, and who really cares about your project.
My mentor had tremendous experience in the charitable sector and a very good knowledge of my sector. However, most of all, it was his coaching experience, skilful questions and his encouraging and sometimes challenging manner that drew out some great new ideas and ways of looking at things. We now have wider horizons and some lovely big ambitions that are both inspiring and possible!
It was really helpful to step back and get independent support to reflect and plan. My mentor used his mentoring skills to help bring clarity to my thinking and his previous experience of being a CEO as well as chair of trustees was very helpful. He helped me see the necessity of prioritising to reduce/avoid being overwhelmed and I am now being much more boundaried in my approach to the work.
Working with Charity Mentors has enabled a step change in how we approach our charity. With fresh perspective and broad experience the mentor has supported us in recognising our value in the local community and how we can best articulate it to our partners, parents and individuals we support.
The mentors approach was careful, supportive and forward thinking and enabled me to take a step back and see a bigger picture and in turn given me more clarity about our Charity direction. In addition I feel more empowered and confident in driving the Charity forward.
Charity Mentors are able to provide a sounding board, provide feedback, give you the confidence to ensure that your organisation can be sustainable and financially viable. They are friendly with the ability to share their skills with you in such a way that becomes second nature.
Having a mentor allows you time to think, develop and lead with confidence. I wanted to regain focus in my role and to plan the future strategically at a time when the voluntary sector is under considerable strain. Working with a Charity Mentor has supported me in achieving these things and I feel more in control (although time management is a work in progress!).
Giving leaders the opportunity to take the space and time to reflect in a safe and confidential environment is an invaluable investment of time. It enabled me to look at the ‘big picture’ of our work as well as the detail. Perhaps, more important to me, was the opportunity to think deeply about personal attributes that were holding me back both in terms of professional relationships but also in making effective decisions. There are several conversations professionally that I would not have had without the mentoring, and these conversations have taken me further in my understanding of both what I and the organisation needs.
Charity Mentors has enabled me to reflect on the very purpose One-Eighty was set up, and think about the motivations and aims we wanted to achieve in addition to acknowledging how far we have come in a short period of time. That has supported me, as the CEO, to be re-fuelled with enthusiasm and motivation to inspire my growing team in order to achieve our goals and ultimately change the lives of more young people and families we work with through our services. Having a Charity Mentor is a great way to help you to re-focus on the priorities of your organisation, and help you to plan and organise your ambitions for your organisation in an inspirational and structured way from a perspective of someone who has experience and the understanding of a growing organisation.
Most CEOs recognise the need/value of developing and reviewing such things as their organisation’s strategic plan but often struggle to find the time. Charity Mentors provides the catalyst, expertise and the opportunity to put specific time aside for this important activity. I found the whole process to be time well spent.
Charity Mentors provides a combination of expertise that can provide ‘ the answer’ to issues experienced and also a sounding board for ideas, issues, problems. A safe environment away from the staff and clients to be able to explore things in a different way. My mentor was excellent. His expert and thoughtful approach brought clarity to our discussions and enabled us to focus on what was important.
I entered the mentoring process slightly hesitantly as it seemed it would be difficult to find time when my workload was already so overloaded. But in reality this enforced pause from ‘daily tasks’ has allowed me to look constructively, with the aid of a critical friend, at our organisation’s medium and long term vision. Reaching a good strategy, with the aid of the mentor, now allows me to focus my time better, and gives something concrete to work towards. A definite win.
Charity Mentor gives an opportunity, in a confidential setting, to explore issues and challenges, strengths and issues for you personally and for your charity with a sympathetic and knowledgeable person who won’t solve the issues for you but enable you to take an essential step back to review and refresh. Gives a structure and a discipline to a process of defining priorities and focusing on these – and provides support and challenge through the process.
For someone new to a manager’s position, such as myself, it helps to focus and prioritise what has to be done. It is also good to know that Charity Mentors have mentors from all backgrounds who can advise on a variety of specific business issues. I like the fact that the dialogue between you and your mentor remains confidential. This enables frank and open discussion that may not be possible within the organisation.
Having the support of the mentor enabled me to look at things from the outside in. The issues still exist but with the process and advice provided by my mentor they are being addressed and will be resolved in time. It is a tremendous and valuable opportunity to receive support from someone neutral, someone with a wealth of experience and knowledge, whilst setting your own agenda and pace.
Carol Richards. Director, Dovecote Centre
I felt a little lost with the direction I was going in. The fact that my mentor had experience in a charity she set up herself helped her to understand my background and charity a lot more. Working with her gave me a space to think, goals to work towards and a new focus.
The exercise was very beneficial to me personally for professional growth, and to the organisation as a whole. Setting up a 5-year business plan for the first time seemed like a very daunting task, but with the help of my mentor it seemed very achievable and it was even enjoyable to be able to spend time taking a look at the bigger picture. I used to find it hard to keep the overview when my head was buried in the day-to-day work of the organisation, and now I see the huge value in taking a step back to look at the organisation as a whole and how necessary this is to the future of Clear Sky.
I wanted the opportunity to test my thinking outside of the organisation. We required a new strategic income generation focus and to be able to respond to changes in the sector creatively and innovatively. For me it was about talking to someone who filled a gap in my area of knowledge or experience. As a business person with charity experience my mentor allowed me to check my thinking and look for solutions. It was a very positive experience. The mentoring enabled creative and positive time to step back, think and test important decisions. Non-judgemental but challenging support.
We wanted to talk through long term development plans and create better awareness of our charity in the Witney area (we’re new in Oxfordshire). It has been hugely beneficial to be able to talk openly about plans for the future. As a small charity we are always thinking of the ‘here and now’ and so it was good to look at the bigger picture and identify challenges ahead. We now feel more secure in our focus for the future and have a plan for better awareness and communication.
It’s a great chance to look up from your day-to-day job and think about leadership and long term direction. There’s never going to be a moment when you’ve got time to do this, so having a set of meetings gives you motivation and MAKES you look up to see what’s coming and how you can direct the organisation. If you don’t do this, months and years go by and you’ll still be waiting to write that business plan or diversify your services….it was a realisation that you have to act now. I now have a plan to work towards and am clear on what I need to do and how to get there. Issues are still there but are now identified, named and have a plan to improve so they are less daunting, and that’s immeasurably beneficial.
The service given by Charity Mentors was excellent. Our mentor was very professional, knowledgeable and well connected and asked some very interesting, challenging and thought provoking questions. Through a long and successful business career I had never had a mentor before, so was a little sceptical, but I felt very comfortable after our first meeting that our mentor could be very helpful and she was! It was very helpful to have an extremely capable and experienced person to help guide you through the challenges that an organisation faces.
Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) is delighted to have been involved with Charity Mentors, since its inception in 2013. Charity Mentors provides a valuable service in helping charities clarify and strengthen their strategies and we are delighted to be working with them and with OCVA to offer a charity triage service to Oxfordshire charities. This service provides confidential support to charities that find themselves facing an uncertain future. The initiative will help clarify problems and pinpoint the right support in terms of training, leadership or funding.