Carolina Youth Coalition won the 2021 Mission Possible Award and recently completed their work with Apparo and Accenture volunteers. They are now well positioned to meet their 2024 goal of serving 67% more under-resourced high school seniors and setting them on a path to academic and career success.
Carolina Youth Coalition is a college-access nonprofit organization that prepares high-achieving, under-resourced high school students to get into, excel at, and graduate from college so they can become full participants in society. Winners of this award receive up to $50,000 in value of consulting services and $10,000 in cash to implement their technology solution to help address economic mobility in Charlotte.
A suboptimal mentor training process needed to be addressed.
Carolina Youth Coalition had growth goals that could not be met without improving their methods for training mentors. Before this project all mentors would trained synchronously via meetings led by CYC staff. This process was suboptimal for several reasons:
- Demanded huge amounts of staff time
- Scheduling trainings and sending reminders
- Running 3-4 of the same training to address mentor availability
- Answering mentors questions when they did not remember something from a training
- Difficult to track who had received which training
- Hard to customize trainings to the specific knowledge/experience or learning gaps of attendees
- Suboptimal experience for mentors – 15 hours in training calls and sometimes felt they were still missing information they needed
They worked with Apparo and Accenture volunteers to select and implement a new software solution to address these problems. They chose the learning management system (LMS) Relias and Course Creator.
Today, after implementation of their learning management system, they are experiencing many benefits.
- Significant time savings – Two staff members will save a total of approximately 10 hours a week (500 hours in total)
- Improved quality of training and overall experience, which also leads to easier mentor acquisition and improved retention
- Stronger pre-match curriculum
- Consistency and standardization
- Segmented, tailored training paths for mentors
- Ability for mentors to look up own answers to questions
- Decreased time commitment – 1 hour trainings are now 15 minutes
- Ability to identify and address learning gaps through data analytics
- Ability to onboard more remote volunteers – and results show that virtual mentoring relationship are equally, if not more effective than in person ones
- Positive impact on fundraising – more mentors means more $/volunteer hour programs, inroads into new corporate relationships and more advocates
Aaron Randolph shares that Relias will help support CYC growth goals:
- CYC’s goal for 2024 is a 67% increase in seniors in the program – growing from 60 to 100 seniors, means the same percent increase is needed for mentors
- Growth drives need for more volunteers of other types, and they will be able to use Relias to train them in the future
- CYC can now also grow to other counties without investing in a building
Most importantly, he explains, the student Fellows will benefit:
- “The more high quality support we can provide, the more likely our Fellows will reach all of their college and career goals.”
- Richer service from their mentors – drives more confidence in their mentors and also keeps Fellows engaged in the program
- More attention from staff, who do not need to spend as much time on training
- New mentor types can be launched, tailored to specific student tracks