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E-Mentoring Advice from CASE Mentees

A good mentor can be a sounding board for ideas, an encouraging support system and a valuable career guide. But finding a mentor is just the first step.

When Heather Bellamy, regular giving officer at the University of Sheffield, was searching for a mentor through CASE's e-mentoring platform, she wasn't just looking for advice about the educational advancement career path, she says.

"I was also looking for someone who could help me with applications and interviews as I was actively looking for a new role," says Bellamy.

Working with her mentor, Bellamy received valuable advice about her career path and had the opportunity to reflect on her own personal development and professional planning. This eventually helped Bellamy move to the next level of her career.

Bellamy and other current mentees linked through the CASE e-mentoring platform give their advice and lessons learned from their mentor relationships.

Know what you're looking for. New to the position? Looking to change jobs? It helps to know what you want to get out of the mentor relationship as you search for someone to be your mentor, says Jessica Loftus, development manager at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

"As an early-career fundraiser, I was looking for a mentor that would not only help me work through challenges with managing my relationships with prospects but also help me navigate potentially tricky inter-office relationships," says Loftus.

Be flexible. While many people have mentors within their office or in nearby organizations, virtual tools like the CASE e-mentoring platform can allow professionals to connect with mentors with different experience in faraway cities.

"I don't think mentoring is just for early-career fundraisers. You can learn something from other people at any stage in your career," says Loftus. "It's really beneficial to have the advice of someone not in your own office. It means that they have an objective perspective on your work."

Set expectations. With busy schedules, it's important to not only be respectful of time spent as a mentor and mentee, but also when the relationship should come to an end.

"We both agreed that after my mentor had successfully coached me through a promotion that we would leave it there. Of course we've both said we would love to meet up in the future and would be happy to keep in touch," says Bellamy.

Keep an open mind. Not every mentor and mentee relationship is the same.

"There is so much knowledge and experience out there in the industry so it's great to expand your professional network," says Bellamy. "My mentor really helped to boost my confidence and the advice and coaching I received when I was applying for a job was fantastic, it definitely helped me to get a promotion."

Give back. After you complete your mentor relationship, consider becoming a mentor to another advancement professional.

"I would like to become a mentor myself as I progress through my career. Seeing how passionate my mentor was about helping others really inspired me and I know firsthand what a difference it can make to speak to someone who has been in your shoes," says Bellamy.

This article is from the October 2017 BriefCASE issue of BriefCASE.