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Buyer's Guideby Brian Westfall,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: July 13, 2018
Would Rocky still become the boxing legend we know and love without Apollo Creed in his corner? Would Daniel “Karate Kid” LaRusso have been able to defeat the Cobra Kai without the wisdom of Mr. Miyagi? Without Ra’s al Ghul, does Bruce Wayne ever become Batman?
Yes, those are all fictional characters, but the point still stands: mentors, in work and life, play an important role in the growth and success of individuals.
You know this, of course, but you also know managing a multitude of mentorships manually (say that 10 times fast) tends to be a time-consuming chore that can seem like more trouble than it’s worth.
That’s why if mentorships are an important priority in your organization, you should consider investing in mentoring software—systems designed to help users manage their various mentorship programs.
If you’ve never purchased mentoring software before, that’s OK. Consider us your mentoring software mentors. In this Buyer’s Guide, we’ll go over definitions, common functionality, pricing and more to help you choose a system that will best fit your needs.
Click a link below to jump to that section:
What is Mentoring Software?
Mentoring software allows users to start, manage and measure the effectiveness of mentoring programs. Whether you’re a business trying to foster developmental relationships between workers, a school attempting to connect alumni with future graduates or a community activist organization keen on steering the next generation in the right direction, mentoring software can help.
Besides getting your program off the ground and finding ideal matches between mentors and mentees, mentoring software can also help you facilitate collaboration, stay on top of compliance and goal tracking needs and gather data to measure the success of your program.
Types of Mentoring Software
Mentoring software can be broken down into two types of systems aimed at two different types of users:
- Corporate (or employee) mentoring software. These platforms allow businesses to manage mentorships between employees. Using these products, your company can pair up experienced workers with new hires to show them the ropes in your organization, or match older GenXers and Baby Boomers with younger Millennial workers to mentor them on technology.
- Mentoring program software. These systems are typically geared toward youth mentoring organizations so they can better manage relationships with mentors, mentees, guardians, donors and more. Colleges and universities can also use mentoring program software to manage mentorships between undergrads and alumni.
There are also mentoring platforms that cater to both audiences, if that interests you.
Common Mentoring Software Functionality
Many mentoring software products share the same features, regardless of what type of buyer you are. Here are some common ones to look out for:
|Enrollment||Create a custom workflow for users to self-enroll in your mentoring program.|
|Mentor matching||Set up criteria so the software automatically matches mentors and mentees together or allow users to select their partner on their own.|
|Collaboration||Mentors and mentees can exchange messages and share resources with each other in private or participate in public discussion forums.|
|Knowledge base||Create a shared repository with resources to support mentorship activities.|
|Activity tracking||Ensure participants have turned in necessary forms and completed steps towards predetermined goals with task lists and automated alerts.|
|Analytics & reporting||Collect results from satisfaction surveys and track outcomes to gain insight into mentoring program success (or lackthereof).|
How Much Does Mentoring Software Cost?
A big concern with any new software purchase is going to be the price tag. The fact that many mentoring software vendors won’t reveal their cost outright on their website can complicate matters further. You need not worry though. Many leading products are surprisingly affordable as long as you know what you’re getting into and budget accordingly.
Most mentoring software products are subscription-based, which means you pay either a flat monthly fee or a per-user monthly fee to use the system. It’s common for vendors to offer different packages, so you can choose to pay less for basic functionality or more for advanced features and additional users.
That’s just the license cost, by the way. There may also be additional one-time fees for things like setup and data migration or recurring fees for things like support and training.
All in all, you can expect to pay anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to upwards of $30,000 or more a year for your mentoring software, depending on your size and needs.
Mentoring Software Tips for New Buyers
That doesn’t mean you should pick a mentoring system at random though, or purchase a product just because everyone else uses it. Choosing the wrong software for your needs or implementing a platform poorly can end up doing more harm than good.
With that in mind, here are some last-minute tips to help new mentoring software buyers:
- Assess your “needs,” and differentiate them from your “wants.” What are the biggest headaches with your mentoring program today? Focus on the pain points or areas of improvement you need your new software to address, and ignore any nifty features that will bloat your costs without adding any value.
- Do your due diligence. Don’t just talk to a few vendors, pick a system and sign on the dotted line. Research different offerings thoroughly and demo software products you like multiple times to better understand what they can and can’t offer. Ask a ton of questions too, because vendors like to steer the conversation towards what they do well and gloss over shortcomings.
- Read reviews! No one knows how good or bad a certain mentoring software system is more than real users. Read reviews from organizations similar to yours to better understand if a system is a good fit or not.
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