NPI Evaluation of iMentor NPI Rating: BUY Rating as of 10/7/2011 Analyst: Jonathan Tran www.nonprofitinvestor.org
NPI Rating: BUYIn the last 10 years, iMentor has affected over 20,000lives by cultivating relationships between youngmentees and volunteer adult mentors through aninnovative combination of e-mail correspondence andin-person meetings. To-date, iMentor has matched over10,000 mentor-mentee pairs, partnering with 30 NYCschools and after school programs in four of New YorkCitys five boroughs and programs all over the countrythrough iMi. www.nonprofitinvestor.org
iMentor: Strengths▲ iMentor program successfully attracts more mentors because of its flexible online and in-person model. Many potential mentors are excluded in a traditional model because 1x1 meetings are often set at inflexible after-school times and are typically in-person. iMentor’s program provides more flexibility: mentors email mentee once a week, pairs meet in person once a month, mentors devote 6-8 hours a month to mentee on their own schedule.▲ Mentors are carefully screened, matched, and trained. Mentors must apply via an online application process, undergo criminal background and reference checks, and a phone interview. It seems like the application process is more of a way to screen out obviously egregious applicants vs. “qualified” candidates. Selected mentors attend an initial 2 hour training session and are provided a specific curriculum/checklist to adhere to during mentoring process. The entire process takes 2-4 weeks in total to complete. www.nonprofitinvestor.org
iMentor: Strengths (Cont’d)▲ Partnerships with corporations and schools are designed to be long- lasting and heavily involved. For whole-school partnerships, iMentor partners with the entire school by enrolling every single student, eliminating self-selection among students. This creates a long term relationship between mentor/mentee/school with the common end goal of high school graduation and college attendance. This partnership addresses the problem of under-resourced in-house guidance programs. For corporate partnerships, iMentor targets leading companies’ employees to build positive and lasting impacts on their communities. 100% of the current 16 corporate partners renewed with iMentor last year, which demonstrates powerful participation stickiness.▲ iMentor fundraising programs are diverse and community engaging. Events seem to be well-planned out, diverse, and fun. A few event examples include Twestival NYC, 4 Under 40 guest speakers, wine tastings, galas, happy hours, workshops. iMentor has done a good job building its brand and reputation, especially in the New York City community. www.nonprofitinvestor.org
iMentor: Strengths (Cont’d)▲ Recent statistics demonstrates directional effectiveness of iMentor. During 2009-2010 program year, 83% of mentees in NYC graduated from high school while citywide graduation rate was just 63% (65% for 2010 per Mike Bloomberg). 75% of teachers say students benefited academically from participation in iMentor, while 92% of teachers witnessed mentees becoming more confident in talking with adults and building relationships.▲ Online interactive mentoring program (“iMi”) helps to address the sizable mentoring gap and is scalable. Of the 17.6mm youth considered in high need of mentoring, only 2.5mm adult mentors exist, leaving ~15mm young people still waiting for mentors. To address this, iMentor created iMi, a multi-year, structured research-informed mentoring curriculum on an online platform for managing all aspects of the mentoring program. Currently, there are 50 iMi partnerships in 20 states across the country. iMi’s technological infrastructure allows for the monitoring of mentor- mentee relationships and provides an easier way to track participation statistics, which may help with competing for government grants. www.nonprofitinvestor.org
iMentor: Strengths (Cont’d)▲ Funding sources are diverse and help provide free program services to all mentors, mentees and partnering schools. iMentor receives its funding from 5 sources: 1) corporate partners, 2) individual donations, 3) government grants, 4) online donor drives and 5) fundraising events. The majority of iMentor’s funding comes from contributions, gifts and grants. For a more detailed analysis, please see “Financial Overview”. www.nonprofitinvestor.org
iMentor: Cautions● Quality of mentoring is difficult to gauge and current monitoring controls may not be very effective. iMentors volunteers are not youth development experts, so the level of impact will vary significantly across each mentor-mentee pair. The background, education and qualifications of the individuals who developed iMentor NYC and iMi’s programs are undisclosed. Although all mentor-mentee emails are logged and can be searched, it seems difficult to accurately grade how effective mentor-mentee conversations are progressing. Some statistics are released on website to summarize results, but much more details are needed in order to gauge and validate effectiveness. Some important metrics and data releases that would be helpful to know from company may include: 1) % mentees who graduate high school, 2) % mentees who get accepted into college, 3) % of mentees who graduate from college, 4) parent/teacher/counsellor testimonies and 5) level of improvement of average grades. www.nonprofitinvestor.org
iMentor: Cautions● Financials and program data points are very limited. Company has only made available their financials for select years (2007, 2008 and 2009) and details are limited. Financial information before 2007 would be helpful to more accurately assess growth and efficiency of corporation. The release of 2010 financials will provide extremely important data in judging how effective iMentor has been in deploying the company’s rapidly expanding level of funds.● Inconsistencies exist between iMentor’s NYC based program and iMi interactive model. Mentor screening standards are different between these two programs, which questions how the company will control quality of mentoring. iMentor NYC has the burden of responsibility to screen their mentors, while iMi outsources the screening and employment background checks to the partner organizations. www.nonprofitinvestor.org
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