Online Mentoring


This wiki does not provide a list of organizations engaged in virtual volunteering, because such a list would be too vast to compile or maintain; there are many, many thousands of organizations involving online volunteers.

There is one kind of online volunteering that is highly sought after but, unlike other virtual volunteering, quite hard to find: online mentoring, and that's why we are maintaining this list of such programs on the Virtual Volunteering wiki.

This subset of virtual volunteering takes MANY forms, everything from one youth or person matched with one mentor, to a group of students from one class matched with a group of mentors from one company for a specific curriculum-based activity. It can be a program of just a few weeks or one that lasts an entire school or program year. It may mean an online volunteer sending one or two e-mails a week, or spending several hours a week reviewing a student's project for class. It can be school-based and curriculum-focused, or conducted through a nonprofit organization that serves young professionals.

The authors of The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook and this wiki are frequently asked about where to find online mentoring programs - from media outlets, from organizations wanting to set up an online mentoring program, and from individuals wanting to participate in such. That's why we provide this list.

The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, has detailed information on how to set up, sustain, grow and evaluate an online mentoring program.

Note: programs come and go frequently. Programs that still have information online (not just through archive.org) are also provided. Also, we in no way endorse or can speak to the quality of these programs merely because they are listed here.

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Ability OnLine Support Network
An online community that connects young people with disabilities or chronic illness to disabled and non-disabled peers and mentors.

Bpeace
a USA-based nonprofit that recruits business professionals to help entrepreneurs in countries emerging from war, like Rwanda and Afghanistan, to create and expand businesses and employment (particularly for women). You will need a particular area of expertise regarding business development or project management, or know where to recruit American-based businesses who will host entrepreneurs who travel to the USA for the program, and pay the annual membership fee, in order to volunteer with BPEACE online. The work and experience of Bpeace with online volunteers is noted in The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.

CricketTogether
Cricket Media, an education media company, launched CricketTogether, an online mentoring platform, in 2017. "Students are paired with employees of partner companies to read intriguing articles and exchange thoughts about the content, and life, building one-on-one Virtual Learning Friendships in a safe, collaborative environment that promotes education equity... Mentors, especially those who come from the business community, provide the catalyst to build student literacy, critical thinking, and real world problem-solving skills, as well as increase student understanding of careers and the world beyond their classroom." A pilot program to test the platform was recently completed. Regarding that pilot, "Employees remark that their student pen pals help them be better parents, friends, and aunts and uncles. They are more aware of what kids think and how they express themselves. Employees see their own communications skills enhanced as they think more deeply about what they’re reading and how to best to communicate their ideas... " Students in the CricketTogether pilot said they felt empowered and motivated to push their communication skills to higher levels in order to engage with the program. One student said, “I love that I can be honest with my pen pal and tell him my dreams.” Another commented on the access to remote experts and role models, remarking, “I like that you get to talk to other people, not just classmates, friends or family. Sometimes they are even in other states.” Here is the press release they released about the program in June 2017.

Cherie Blair Foundation's Mentoring Women in Business Programme
"We match women in developing and emerging countries with male and female mentors around the world. Using our online platform, they spend 12 months working one-on-one to achieve key business goals. Participants build their business skills and digital literacy through our trainings, and become part of a global community of committed, ambitious entrepreneurs who are invested in each other’s success."

Distance Teaching and Mobile Learning (DTML) is a nonprofit organization that recruits online volunteer mentors and tutors to help students around the world. The organization pairs students with pre-vetted mentors for a long-term partnership and collaborative relationship meant to support students through adolescence and into adulthood. "The program is designed to deliver more than just an educational service – mentors and tutors are equipped to provide personal support when any student is in need." DTML partners with local institutions and schools for its online mentoring and tutoring program. As of July 2017, they have just expanded their work into Uganda and Ethiopia.

Educurious
"We want to make sure that every student benefits from this kind of connection so they can build networks for the future. The Educurious Expert Network provides an effective way for professionals to share their expertise and form online mentoring relationships that engage students in authentic work and inspire them to stay in school... Experts are professionals who guide and advise students in their career paths to help them succeed. A expert's role is to inspire, encourage, and support their students."

Endapt, Electronic Networking to Develop Accomplished Professional Teachers.
For experienced teachers working in a U.S. elementary, middle, and/or secondary school to mentor the next generation of teachers.

icouldbe.org
Meant to connect the energy and expertise of mentors from various professions with the most vulnerable students in the US educational system - those that are most at-risk or most in need.

Infinite Family
Brings together South African teens with mentors in the USA for intensive, long-term, very supportive relationships. The work and experience of Infinite Family with online volunteers is noted in The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.

IntoBooks
An online mentoring program where students and their adult mentors read the same books and then discuss them online. It's part of the ePals program.

MicroMentor
Matches small business owners with business mentors. If you want to be a volunteer mentor, you should have three years of business ownership experience, or five years of management experience, or several years of professional experience in a specialized skill, such as marketing, web site development, accounting, financial planning, etc. The program is part of MercyCorps.

Service Corps Of Retired Executives (SCORE)
A resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration, dedicated to aiding in the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. SCORE offers an online and face-to-face counseling at no cost (for U.S. citizens and resident aliens only).


Defunct online mentoring / ementoring programs:
For any web site that no longer works, cut and paste the URL into archive.org, and you can usually find the complete archived web sites.

Sanchez Elementary School Online Mentoring Program
This program brought together online mentors from all over the U.S. with fourth graders at this elementary school in Austin, Texas. Online activities focused primarily on reading and writing, and on establishing a positive, trusting relationship between online adult volunteers and the students. The program also hoped to increase positive feelings about technology from the point of view of all participants -- students, teachers, mentors and parents. The project was designed adhering to the suggestions in the Virtual Volunteering Project. The work and experience of this program with online volunteers is noted in The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.

Telementoring Young Women in Science, Engineering, and Computing
This was a three-year project in the 1990s by EDC/Center for Children & Technology and was funded by the National Science Foundation, Directorate of Education and Human Resources. This project has been discontinued, but the Web site is still up and includes extensive online resources for both mentors and teachers.

LifeWorks E-mentoring
Was an National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored mentoring program for high school and college students who are interested in behavioral and social science, biomedical research, and healthcare careers. Through this program, students are linked via e-mail communication with e-mentors who provide them with relevant information, guidance and support. A continuous mentoring commitment of at least eight months is expected from all participants. Undergraduate and graduate students, university professors, postdoctoral fellows, independent researchers, and healthcare personnel are encouraged to consider volunteering to serve as mentors in this program.

Electronic Emissary
One of the best known and most respected online tutoring programs, where adult volunteers helped students in a variety of complex academic-based projects. The Emissary preferred professionals or retired professionals as online volunteers, because this was an academically-focused tutoring program, not a feel-good mentoring program. The work and experience of this program with online volunteers is noted in The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.

MentorPlace
Brings employees of IBM and students together in online relationships focused on academics. You must be an IBM employee to participate.

Also see this list of online mentoring programs compiled by the archive of the Virtual Volunteering Project in the 1990s; most of these programs are now defunct, but the information is an excellent record of online mentoring programs over the years. For any web site that no longer works, cut and paste the URL into archive.org, and you can usually find the complete archived web sites.

The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook has complete, detailed information on how to create and manage all kinds of online volunteers, including online mentors. The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook is available for purchase as a paperback and an ebook from Energize, Inc.

In addition to the guidebook, other sources for guidelines on online mentoring:
  • the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ , from the National Mentoring Partnership. Although not focused on online mentoring, and although this is from 2005, all of the suggestions and principles should be considered for any online mentoring program.
  • Protocol: E-Mentoring for Improving the Career Planning of Youth (15-24): A Systematic Review. Robyn M. O’Connor, David L. DuBois, Lucy Bowes publication pending
  • Bierema, L. L., & Merriam, S. B. (2002). E-mentoring: Using computer mediated communication to enhance the mentoring process. Innovative Higher Education, 26, 211-227. doi: 10.1023/A:1017921023103
  • Brightside Trust. Retrieved May 2014, from http://www.thebrightsidetrust.org/what-we-do/online-mentoring/
  • Cravens, J. (2003). Online mentoring: Programs and suggested practices as of February 2001. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 21, 85-109. doi: 10.1300/J017v21n01_05
  • Ensher, E. A., Heun, C., & Blanchard, A. (2003). Online mentoring and computer-mediated communication: New directions in research. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 264-288. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0001-8791(03)00044-7
  • Hamilton, B. A., & Scandura, T. A. (2003). E-mentoring: Implications for organizational learning and development in a wired world. Organizational Dynamics, 31, 388-402. doi: 10.1016/S0090-2616(02)00128-6
  • MentorNet. http://mentornet.org/
  • Rhodes, J. E. (2003). Online mentoring: The promise and pitfalls of an emerging approach. Retrieved May 2014, from http://www.mentoring.org/downloads/mentoring_1316.pdf
  • Shpigelman, C-N. (2014). Electronic mentoring and media. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (2nd ed., pp. 259-272). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Shpigelman, C-N., Reiter, S., & Weiss, P. L. (2009a). A conceptual framework for electronic socio-emotional support for people with special needs. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 32, 301-308. doi: 10.1097/MRR.0b013e32831e4519
  • Shpigelman, C-N., Weiss, P. L., & Reiter, S. (2009b). E-mentoring for all. Computers in Human Behavior, 25, 919-928. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2009.03.007
  • Single, P. B., & Muller, C. B. (2001). When e-mail and mentoring unite: The implementation of a nationwide electronic mentoring program. In L. K. Stromei (Ed.), Creating mentoring and coaching programs (pp.107-122). Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training and Development.
  • Single, P. B., Muller, C. B., & Carlsen, W. S. (2000). "Electronic mentoring: Testing the features of a structured program." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. Retrieved May 2014, from http://www.pegboylesingle.com/pdf/2000Single3.pdf
  • Single, P. B., & Single, R. M. (2005). E-mentoring for social equity: review of research to inform program development. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 13, 301-320. doi: 10.1080/13611260500107481

This wiki is a collaborative space for sharing resources regarding virtual volunteering. Jayne and Susan would like to maintain this wiki in partnership with a nonprofit or university.

E-mentoring