Many volunteers in Berlin found the project online and were interested in a general way but were not sure how the things would actually happen and if it was the right task for them. As we also saw a risk in bringing together TCNs with volunteers that we have not known before we established a procedure to have individual phone calls or online meetings with every interested mentor to find out a bit about him/her as a person, about the motivation and expectation to become a mentor and whether the person had made similar experiences so far. These phone calls usually lasted about 15 minutes and started with a project presentation and then the interested person introducing him-/herself. Then there was space to ask open questions or share doubts of the participants about the involvement of the project. If both had a good feeling next opportunity to join the project were evaluated and agreed.
With those being involved in the project since the mingling experiences additional phonecalls were organised to see whether during the months that had passed other questions or concerns came up and how they would see their commitment in mentoring.
Aim of the best practice:
The general aim of this best practice was to assure a good experience of the mentors and even more of the TCNs during the project activities and make sure that the interested person has a genuine interest in becoming mentor and that expectations meet what the project offers.
Objectives of the best practice:
The objective of this best practice is to get to know the participants personally, as being a mentor and building a relationship with a person who is new in its environment and has eventually lived through many challenges recently is baring a big responsibility and need for empathy and sensitivity in it, which not every person has. As already said during these conversations a reality check of expectations of the potential mentors was done and explored how they see their commitment in the project. Furthermore is was very helpful to get to know the persons individually to be able to do a good matching based on a bit more information than the matching questionnaire which was certainly helpful, but sometimes a good match also depends from the type of personality whether someone is extra- or introvert, which can’t be very well assessed by a questionnaire.
Metropolis.Net staff working for mingle
Two persons on the phone
The first individual phone calls were held in November 2020 when the first participants reacted to online posts advertising mingle on GoVolunteer and vostel.de and in facebook groups (two online platforms bringing together people interested in volunteering and projects looking for volunteers). Until June 30 phone calls with different persons were held. Some of them only took part in the mingling experiences and some came into the project shortly before the mentoring started. That’s why we had two phone calls with some people, especially with those being involved in the project from the beginning, to see if they were still interested.
– Time to organise and hold telephone calls
This best practice helped to offer a good and personal support to the mentors
It helped to find good matches
Besides time not many resources are needed
To organise these calls needed a lot of time and flexibility which was not foreseen in the project. But after all mentors really appreciated this offer so we consider it as really well spent time
Have some standardised questions but also have a strategy what to do when you have the feeling that someone does not fit in the project.