Strategies for Recruiting Male Mentors

 
  • Evidence Rating for this Practice:

    Insufficient Research

    The one study reviewed was designated Insufficient Evidence because the methodology used for assessing effects of the practice did not meet criteria for rigor. The practice as a whole thus is designated as Insufficient Research. This rating is based on currently available research and may change as new research becomes available.

    Description of Practice:

    This practice involves intentional efforts within mentoring programs for youth to increase the number or proportion of males who are available to serve as mentors. These efforts can take several forms. Possibilities include staff training to enhance skills for communicating with potential male mentors, designing recruitment material to be appealing to male mentors, holding recruitment activities at traditional male gathering “places” (e.g., sporting events), and using current or former male mentors as recruitment ambassadors (Mentor Michigan, 2016; National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, 2009; Williams, 2015). This practice can also take the form of gearing recruitment messaging to the potential interests and motivations of prospective male mentors, such as by highlighting activities that may be attractive to them or resources and support that are available to support them in their roles as mentors. Strategies for recruiting male mentors may be tailored to specific populations of males as well, such as members of a particular age or racial or ethnic group. This practice is distinguished from mentor training, support, and retention strategies by its focus on recruitment of new mentors. It is also distinct from recruitment strategies that do not focus exclusively on male mentors. This practice and the strategies outlined above are germane to recommended benchmarks for Recruitment in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring,TM (Garringer, Kupersmidt, Rhodes, Stelter, & Tai, 2015), including the aim of targeting efforts to recruit mentors “whose skills, motivations, and backgrounds best match the goals and structure of the program.”

    Goals:

    The primary goal of the practice is to recruit more male mentors.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    This practice is potentially applicable to all forms of mentoring as well as the full range of youth who may be served by programs, although most likely to be especially relevant to mentoring of male youth.

    Theory and Background Research:

    Factors contributing to interest in male mentor recruitment. A variety of theoretical perspectives, such as relational-cultural theory, attachment theory, similarity and attraction theory, as well as those pertaining to relationship development and help-seeking, suggest that boys and girls may approach or respond to mentoring in differing ways (Liang, Bogat, & Duffy, 2014). One implication of such differences is that youth could tend to benefit more from same-gender mentors who mirror their relationship styles and preferences. Social learning theory, furthermore, suggests that same-gender mentors could be particularly salient role models for youth. Research evidence provides only limited support for the differential benefits of same-sex mentoring relationships (Liang et al., 2014). For example, Bryant & Zimmerman (2003) found that having a male familial role model was linked to fewer problem behaviors for African American boys but not girls. On the other hand, Kanchewa and colleagues (2014) found no significant differences between boys in same-gender and cross-gender mentoring relationships within U.S. Department of Education-funded and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) school-based mentoring programs on a number of school related outcomes. Separate from issues of effectiveness, however, same-gender matches may also be favored based on other considerations, such as youth, parent, or mentor preferences and perceptions of reduced risk. Perhaps for these reasons, the practice of matching youth to same-sex mentors is common among mentoring programs. This reality, in tandem with evidence that ensuring an adequate supply of same-gender mentors for boys often proves especially challenging for programs (DeWit, et al., 2016; DuBois, Felner, & O’Neal, 2014; Garringer, McQuillin, & McDaniel, 2017; MENTOR, 2005; Raposa, Dietz, & Rhodes, 2017; Tierney, Grossman, & Resch, 1995; The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, n.d.), motivates interest in identifying strategies that may be effective specifically for recruiting males as mentors.

    Research with potential to inform strategies for male mentor recruitment. In a qualitative study of motivations and barriers for volunteering among 14 current male BBBS mentors, participants indicated that factors that played a significant role in their decision to become mentors were “hearing the real experiences Bigs have, knowing that organization provides the opportunity and structure to support a one-on-one relationship with a youth, and understanding the direct impact of time spent volunteering” (Williams, 2015). Another study of perceived barriers of non-volunteers to volunteering in formal organizations, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey (n=71,312), found that whereas men were less likely than women to report time, health, child care, and transportation as barriers to volunteering, they were more likely than women to believe that a greater match between skills and activity would encourage them to volunteer (Sundeen et al., 2007). A survey among a representative national sample of 4,216 adult Americans 21 years of age or older found evidence that being asked to volunteer may be a motivator for volunteering; specifically, volunteers were significantly more likely than non-volunteers to have been asked to volunteer, 70 percent versus 30 percent, respectively (Independent Sector, 2001). In line with this finding, most participants in the Williams (2015) study indicated their willingness to assist in recruiting other male mentors.

    In other research, a qualitative study of volunteer coordinators and male volunteers in social service agencies found evidence that social expectations (e.g., that men should put more energy into earning income or the lack of positive reinforcement for men who volunteer) were noteworthy barriers to volunteering (Blackman, 1999). Also of note is research on other types of interventions in which recruitment activities conducted at traditional male gathering “places” have proven effective. Alexander (2003), for example, concluded based on ethnographic (observational) research that barbershops were significant venues for information exchange in African American communities. In another investigation, focus groups were conducted with African American men who either were a current mentor with BBBS (a “Big”), were contemplating becoming a Big and had contact with a BBBS affiliate, or had no contact with an affiliate (Keenan & O’Brien, 2007). Findings suggested that the biggest obstacles to successfully engaging African American men as mentors in this program was a lack of information regarding the amount of time and financial commitment involved, program rules and regulations, the nature of the relationship between a Big and a Little, the type of youth they would be matched with, and support available to mentors. Williams (2015) similarly found that current male mentors who identified as having disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g., from a single family home) expressed a desire to help youth from similar backgrounds.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    This practice is most relevant to the area of Recruitment within the Elements of Effective Practice.

    Key Personnel:

    Factors contributing to interest in male mentor recruitment. A variety of theoretical perspectives, such as relational-cultural theory, attachment theory, similarity and attraction theory, as well as those pertaining to relationship development and help-seeking, suggest that boys and girls may approach or respond to mentoring in differing ways (Liang, Bogat, & Duffy, 2014). One implication of such differences is that youth could tend to benefit more from same-gender mentors who mirror their relationship styles and preferences. Social learning theory, furthermore, suggests that same-gender mentors could be particularly salient role models for youth. Research evidence provides only limited support for the differential benefits of same-sex mentoring relationships (Liang et al., 2014). For example, Bryant & Zimmerman (2003) found that having a male familial role model was linked to fewer problem behaviors for African American boys but not girls. On the other hand, Kanchewa and colleagues (2014) found no significant differences between boys in same-gender and cross-gender mentoring relationships within U.S. Department of Education-funded and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) school-based mentoring programs on a number of school related outcomes. Separate from issues of effectiveness, however, same-gender matches may also be favored based on other considerations, such as youth, parent, or mentor preferences and perceptions of reduced risk. Perhaps for these reasons, the practice of matching youth to same-sex mentors is common among mentoring programs. This reality, in tandem with evidence that ensuring an adequate supply of same-gender mentors for boys often proves especially challenging for programs (DeWit, et al., 2016; DuBois, Felner, & O’Neal, 2014; Garringer, McQuillin, & McDaniel, 2017; MENTOR, 2005; Raposa, Dietz, & Rhodes, 2017; Tierney, Grossman, & Resch, 1995; The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, n.d.), motivates interest in identifying strategies that may be effective specifically for recruiting males as mentors. Research with potential to inform strategies for male mentor recruitment. In a qualitative study of motivations and barriers for volunteering among 14 current male BBBS mentors, participants indicated that factors that played a significant role in their decision to become mentors were “hearing the real experiences Bigs have, knowing that organization provides the opportunity and structure to support a one-on-one relationship with a youth, and understanding the direct impact of time spent volunteering” (Williams, 2015). Another study of perceived barriers of non-volunteers to volunteering in formal organizations, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey (n=71,312), found that whereas men were less likely than women to report time, health, child care, and transportation as barriers to volunteering, they were more likely than women to believe that a greater match between skills and activity would encourage them to volunteer (Sundeen et al., 2007). A survey among a representative national sample of 4,216 adult Americans 21 years of age or older found evidence that being asked to volunteer may be a motivator for volunteering; specifically, volunteers were significantly more likely than non-volunteers to have been asked to volunteer, 70 percent versus 30 percent, respectively (Independent Sector, 2001). In line with this finding, most participants in the Williams (2015) study indicated their willingness to assist in recruiting other male mentors. In other research, a qualitative study of volunteer coordinators and male volunteers in social service agencies found evidence that social expectations (e.g., that men should put more energy into earning income or the lack of positive reinforcement for men who volunteer) were noteworthy barriers to volunteering (Blackman, 1999). Also of note is research on other types of interventions in which recruitment activities conducted at traditional male gathering “places” have proven effective. Alexander (2003), for example, concluded based on ethnographic (observational) research that barbershops were significant venues for information exchange in African American communities. In another investigation, focus groups were conducted with African American men who either were a current mentor with BBBS (a “Big”), were contemplating becoming a Big and had contact with a BBBS affiliate, or had no contact with an affiliate (Keenan & O’Brien, 2007). Findings suggested that the biggest obstacles to successfully engaging African American men as mentors in this program was a lack of information regarding the amount of time and financial commitment involved, program rules and regulations, the nature of the relationship between a Big and a Little, the type of youth they would be matched with, and support available to mentors. Williams (2015) similarly found that current male mentors who identified as having disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g., from a single family home) expressed a desire to help youth from similar backgrounds.

    Additional Information:

    None.

  • Study 1

    Evidence Classification: Inconclusive Evidence

    Evaluation Methodology:

    Hawkins and colleagues (2015) examined using stipends to recruit male mentors as a predictor of mentoring experience among a probability sample of men aged 18 to 65 from across the United States who participated in a telephone survey and reported previous mentoring experience (n=196). More specifically, the study examined whether respondents who reported having received a stipend to become a mentor at some point in their lives reported having had a higher number of mentees overall.

    Approximately two-thirds of the respondents in the sample were between 36 and 64 years old (68 percent; 11 percent were 18-25 years old, 18 percent were 26-35 years old, and 3 percent were older than 65) and a similar proportion were non-Hispanic White (67 percent; 14 percent were Black, 12 percent were Hispanic). Nearly all reported having completed high school or higher (93 percent) and majorities also reported an income of $50,000 or more per year (65 percent) and being married (73 percent). About 16 percent of mentors reported that they had received a stipend in association with being a mentor.

    Regression analysis was used to test if reported stipend receipt predicted reported number of mentees in mentors’ lifetime, adjusting for age, race, education, income, and marital status.

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Number of Mentees in Lifetime
    Hawkins and colleagues (2015) found that the reported number of mentees in a mentor’s lifetime was significantly higher among those who had received a stipend to mentor in comparison to those who had not.

    Additional Findings
    Hawkins and colleagues (2015) also examined the extent to which the use of stipends could help to recruit men from the general population to serve as mentors among men with no prior mentoring experience (n=391). About eighteen percent of these respondents reported that they did not believe the use of stipends would help to recruit more men to mentor, 34 percent believed that the use of stipends would help to recruit men generally and would work to recruit them personally, and 48 percent reported that although they believed men from the general population could be recruited with the use of stipends, they reported that the use of stipends would not work for recruiting them personally. Regression analyses found that non-Hispanic Blacks were significantly more likely than White respondents to report that a stipend would help to recruit them as mentors. Additionally, unmarried respondents were significantly more like than married respondents to report that a stipend would help to recruit them as mentors.

  • External Validity Evidence:

    Variations in the Practice
    There was only one study reviewed for this practice and it considered only one form of potential strategy for recruiting male mentors (i.e., use of stipends). Information is thus lacking on either the overall or relative effectiveness of other strategies for male mentor recruitment.

    Youth
    Data on youth was not collected in the single available study. Therefore, available findings do not provide an understanding of the implications of this practice based on characteristics of the youth being mentored.

    Mentors
    In the single available study, mentors were from the general population. A significant proportion of these mentors in the sample were between 36 and 64 years old, non-Hispanic White, had completed high school or higher, had an income of $50,000 or more per year, and were married. The study, however, did not test for possible differences in outcome in relation to mentor characteristics.

    Program Settings/Structures
    The single available study was not conducted within a defined program setting or structure nor was information about program setting or structure collected from study respondents. Therefore, an understanding of the implications of this practice across varying program settings and structures is lacking.

    Outcomes
    The single available study focused on whether receiving a stipend was predictive of have had more mentees in one’s lifetime. This study does not report outcomes related to youth or the mentoring relationships involved. Therefore, available findings do not provide a basis for understanding potential effects of this practice on the range of outcomes of potential interest.

  • Resources Available to Support Implementation:

    Resources to support recruitment of male mentors can be found under the Resources section of this website. These resources include:

    Men in Mentoring Toolkit – The Men in Mentoring Toolkit offers a collection of talking points, targeted messages, and strategies for getting men interested in serving as mentors. The materials are organized around several key themes and messages men may benefit from hearing.

    Effective Mentor Recruitment: Getting Organized, Getting Results – This resource combines strategies for identifying and recruiting potential mentors with planning worksheets that can help organize and manage a full recruitment campaign.



















  • Evidence Base:

    Hawkins, S., Trudeau, J., Williams, J., and Hendrix, J. (2015). Insights into recruiting male mentors: Motivations, concerns, and the role of payment. Research Triangle, N.C.: RTI International. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/grants/251465.pdf

    Additional References:

    Alexander, B. K. (2003). Fading, twisting, and weaving: An interpretive ethnography of the Black barbershop as cultural space. Qualitative Inquiry, 9, 105–128. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800402239343

    Blackman, S. (1999). Recruiting male volunteers: A guide based on exploratory research. Washington, DC: Corporation for National and Community Service. Retrieved from https://www.energizeinc.com/sites/default/files/blackman.pdf

    Bryant, A. L., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2003). Role models and psychosocial outcomes among African American adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 18, 36–67. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558402238276

    DeWit, D. J., Lipman, E. L., da Costa, J., Graham, K., Larose, S., Pepler, D., . . . Ferro, A. (2016). Predictors of early versus late match relationship beginnings in Big Brothers Big Sisters community programs. Children and Youth Services Review, 61, 281–287. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.01.004

    DuBois, D. L., Felner, J., & O’Neal, B. (2014). State of mentoring in Illinois. Chicago, IL: Illinois Mentoring Partnership. Retrieved from http://www.ilmentoring.org/index.php/research

    Garringer, M. (2004). Putting the “men” back in mentoring. National Mentoring Center Bulletin, 2, 1–16. Retrieved from http://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/resources/bulletin_male_recruitment.pdf

    Garringer, M., Kupersmidt, J., Rhodes, J., Stelter, R., & Tai, T. (2015). Elements of effective practice for mentoring (4th ed.). Boston, MA: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. Retrieved from http://www.mentoring.org/images/uploads/Final_Elements_Publication_Fourth.pdf

    Garringer, M., McQuillin, S., & McDaniel, H. (2017). Examining youth mentoring services across America: Findings from the 2016 National Mentoring Program Survey. Boston, MA: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. Retrieved from http://www.mentoring.org/new-site/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Mentor-Survey-Report_FINAL_small.pdf

    Independent Sector. (2001). Giving and volunteering in the United States: Findings from a national survey. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.cpanda.org/pdfs/gv/GV01Report.pdf

    Jekielek, S., Moore, K., and Hair, E. (2002). Mentoring programs and youth development: A synthesis. Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED465457.pdf

    Kanchewa, S. S., Rhodes, J. E., Schwartz, S. E. O., & Olsho, L. E. W. (20114). An investigation of same- versus cross-gender matching for boys in formal school-based mentoring programs. Applied Developmental Science, 18, 31–45. http://doi.org/10.1080/10888691.2014.876251

    Keenan, K., & O’Brien, J. (2007). Big Brothers Big Sisters Increasing African American Male Mentoring Project: Focus group report. Philadelphia, PA: MEE Productions, Inc.

    Liang, B., Bogat, A., & Duffy, N. (2014). Gender in mentoring relationships. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (2nd ed., pp. 159–173). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

    Mentor Michigan (2016). Messaging for male mentor recruitment: A brief introduction. Lansing, MI: Author. Retrieved from http://www.mentoring.org/new-site/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Men-in-Mentoring-Toolkit.pdf

    MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (2005). Mentoring in America 2005: A snapshot of the current state of mentoring. Boston, MA: Author. Retrieved from http://www.mentoring.org/old-downloads/mentoring_523.pdf

    National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention (2009). Recruiting and retaining mentors. National Center Brief. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2x2lp59

    Raposa, E. B., Dietz, N., & Rhodes, J. E. (2017) Trends in volunteer mentoring in the United States: Analysis of a decade of census survey data. American Journal of Community Psychology, 0, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12117

    Sundeen, R. A., Raskoff, S. A., & Garcia, M. C. (2007). Differences in perceived barriers to volunteering to formal organizations: Lack of time versus lack of interest. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 17, 279–300. https://doi.org/10.1002/nml.150

    Tierney, J. P., Grossman, J. B., & Resch, N. L. (1995). Making a difference. An impact study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures. Retrieved from http://ppv.issuelab.org/resource/making-a-difference-an-impact-study-of-big-brothers-big-sisters-re-issue-of-1995-study.html

    The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota (n.d.), State of mentoring in Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN: Author. Retrieved from http://www.mpmn.org/Files/2011StateofMentoring_ExecSummary_FINALFINAL.pdf

    Williams, K. R. (2015). Males as mentors: A qualitative assessment of volunteer recruitment. Masters Thesis. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved from http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/25018/

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