Program champions make a lasting impression
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has 57,000 members across North and South America. So, when its mentoring program was being developed, Kelsey Dashiell, ACOG Program Manager, District VII, knew that its success depended on finding effective ways to spread the word.
“Our MentorCity mentoring program is a way to drive engagement amongst our members, connect residents with more established physicians and help members address professional challenges,” Kelsey told MentorCity. “We believe that it is a valuable resource for our members and we want to reach as many as possible.”
Before launching the MentorCity mentoring program, Kelsey partnered with ACOG’s communications team to create a brand and logo for the program, and to identify trade publications and bulletins in which to best promote it. They also created grab-and-go postcards about the program for display tables at conferences and other member events.
Their marketing message now regularly appears in digital publications, in email newsletters, on their various Facebook pages and even on ACOG’s president’s blog.
“We’re taking an aggressive approach to marketing and we feel it’s working,” says Kelsey. “Being able to work with a communications or marketing team is key because this is their area of expertise — they know how to refine the message in such a way that people will respond to it.
“If you’re starting a mentoring program, ask around to see what internal resources are available to you.”
However, regardless of how aggressive a program is marketed, there’s always the risk of the message going unseen. To counter that, Kelsey and her project team recruited program champions to promote the benefits of mentoring.
“It helps to have people speak passionately about the program because you can’t glaze over that. That kind of personal marketing sets you up for success.”
Aside from marketing, Kelsey advises that program managers put the necessary time and effort into the initial software set up process. Being meticulous in customizing MentorCity to meet your organization’s needs makes the platform seamless and easy for members to use.
“Figure out which fields to include in the drop down menus rather than allow members to write in their own details. While it’s nice to be able to write in your own information, individual details won’t easily match up, making it difficult for members to make connections,” says Kelsey, adding that the MentorCity platform is easy for program managers to navigate and customize.
And, Kelsey adds, be open to periodically retooling the platform so that you’re always capturing members’ needs.
Since launching in early fall, Kelsey says that the response to their MentorCity mentoring program has been excellent. Their goal is to have 500 members in their mentoring community by September 2017.
“If all 57,000 members wanted to participate, we would welcome them! We are feeling really good about the response so far.”