Guide to Recruiting Black Men as Mentors for Black Boys

by Eric K. Grimes

Apr 1, 2014

Black men are uniquely positioned to help guide black male youth to educational success and a productive future and through the barriers that stand in their way. But there are almost always more black boys to be mentored than black men to mentor them in formal mentoring programs. This guide helps mentoring programs engage in a productive and inclusive recruitment campaign by: 1) addressing program readiness; and 2) providing guidance on an effective social marketing campaign.
  • One of the key shortcomings in many initiatives designed to work with black males is the presumption that a general or universal model applies to the specific needs and challenges they face.
  • Negative mentoring experiences can have negative effects on the youth mentored; therefore, mentor recruitment, matching, and relationship quality are essential.
  • The "Is This Work for You? Readiness to Engage Report Card" is a helpful tool to assess a program's readiness before launching a recruitment and outreach campaign for black men to serve as mentors for black boys.
  • To effectively recruit and retain black men as mentors, programs must consider who to recruit (target segmentation and population identification), what to say (key message strategy), who is best to say it (positive deviance, opinion leaders, and message ambassadors), and where (multi-channel targeted outreach).