Mentor Program

The goal of the CARA Mentor Program is to provide CARA members the opportunity to partner with experienced research professionals who can offer guidance on topics such as:

  • Setting up and managing a research office

  • Research techniques and resources

  • Prospect management and tracking

  • Preparing for a campaign

  • Proactive research

  • Choosing and managing technology

Every effort will be made to match individuals with a mentor from a similar organization who is also experienced in the area(s) of need. Matches will also be made based on geographic proximity, where possible.

The frequency of contact, type of contact (phone, email, face-to-face meetings), and length of contact will be up to the mentoring partners who are encouraged to jointly formalize expectations and define goals as they begin their relationship.

If you are a CARA member and are interested in being assigned a mentor or if you wish to become a mentor, click on the link below and complete an online application.

Mentor Online Application


Why should I get involved in the mentorship program? What are the benefits?

Becoming a mentor provides:

  • A great way to assist a colleague or fellow researcher, especially one just starting out in the profession

  • Great networking opportunities -- it allows you to find out what other people are doing and to raise the profile of the profession in the fundraising industry

  • An opportunity to give something back to the prospect research community

For mentees, the program provides:

  • An opportunity to learn about the profession from those more experienced

  • A great way to develop research skills and network with the research community

  • An opportunity to brainstorm and bounce ideas off others with different perspectives and experience.

How much of a time commitment will I be required to make?

This is the most common concern of those considering getting involved in the program and is based on the needs of the mentoring pair. We're all busy and time is at a premium. According to surveys done by other prospect research organizations, those involved in the program said they discovered this concern was unfounded. Many mentors found that mentees require someone they can contact occasionally for advice and to answer questions -- on an as needed basis -- which consumes little time. In the early stages of the mentoring, the process is a bit more intensive due to setting up the program with their partner. After the initial phase, most found that they spent about a half an hour per week with their partner, usually via phone or email.

Will there be a conflict of interest or confidentiality concerns in sharing information?

It is a good idea to establish at the beginning that no confidential information regarding specific prospects will be shared.

How much experience do I need before I can volunteer to be a mentor?

Although everyone has something to offer, it's recommended that you have at least 2 years experience before becoming a mentor. And it's an expectation of mentees that they volunteer to be mentors after 2 years or once they feel ready to give back to the program.