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Success Story I Mercoledì della Mansardina

I Mercoledì della Mansardina Supports Small Business Owners with Mentorship Tools from Facebook

“I needed to fix some technical issues on my website, so I looked for a mentor with WordPress skills and I found Margherita. I checked her website and portfolio before contacting her. We interacted via videochat and I got all the help I needed to fix my website by myself, just as I wanted. Mentoring is a unique opportunity to have access to a professional who generously gives her time and skills.”
— Carolina, Mentee, Graphic Designer

Mission

I Mercoledì della Mansardina (IMdM) supports current and future small business owners in Italy by providing free resources, education, networking and connections. The main goals of the community are to share knowledge, find business partners, pitch ideas, get support, and interact with peers. The Facebook Group is open to everyone. IMdM has over 6,000 community members, 96% are women, many of whom are mothers.

“Having a mentor who was able to just give some feedback and help, really made a difference. So you can see this is strengthening people’s business and therefore financial independence which is very important, especially for women in Italy.”
— Gioia Gottini, founder of IMdM

Key Takeaway

Having access to a more seasoned small business owner is very important to the community of IMdM, because it’s the best way to learn, grow and get feedback. Instead of simply inviting the members of the community to volunteer for the role of Mentor/Mentee, the Facebook Group relies on Facebook Mentorship tools to access the knowledge, skills and resources that will help members achieve their goals. Facebook Mentorship provides an easy, convenient way for people looking for support to connect with those who have the unique skills and experiences to help.

Impact

“The pilot has been highly successful: the community has really appreciated the pay-it-forward environment with the Mentorship tool and finds great value in it. Since April 2019, over 500 pairs of mentors and mentees have successfully completed the program. The general level of satisfaction with the tool (based on an internal survey taken by more than 100 members) is 4 out of 5.”
— Gioia Gottini, founder of IMdM

30%

increase in meaningful connections*

+500

Pairs completed

4/5

Satisfaction rating

*Meaningful connections: a user-group pair meeting the following criteria:

  • Spends 5 minutes in the group in at least one of the last two weeks
    AND meets at least one of the following 3 criteria:
  • Takes at least 5 actions (posts, comments, likes) in the group in the past week
  • Spends at least 10 minutes in the group mall in the past week
  • The group has less than 5k members in it, and they are friends with at least 5% of members OR have 20+ friends in the group.
IMdM Goal

To give over 6,000 small business owners access to resources to strengthen their businesses and achieve financial independence.

IMdM Approach

IMdM first announced the news of the Mentorship tool via a weekly video series it does on Wednesdays.

Tool Adoption

Using weekly reminders, showcasing success stories, posting how the program works helped get the IMdM community using the tool and engaged on the platform.

IMdM Lessons
  • Post frequently about your Mentorship program, but make the content relevant to your community (eg. articles about mentorship for your audience, tips, etc)
  • Identify and reward your Mentorship superstars (Mentors/Mentees)
  • Involve the community in the process (not just in the final outcome)
    • IMdM created a poll to determine if the tool would be useful to its community and then launched a survey after running the program for a while to learn how community members were using the tool, collected feedback and identified pain-points.
  • Collect and amplify stories: they inspire
    • Share your Mentorship success stories within the Group. Highlight successful pairs and impact by posting Stories to the Group.
    • “Every time we have a successful story to share between a mentor and a mentee we see a spike in new people actually using the tool. Stories help because you can identify either with a mentor or the mentee and know there is someone within the Group who can support you and help you reach your goal.”
      — Gioia Gottini, founder of IMdM
  • Don’t assume: ask for feedback
    When IMdM shared a survey asking whether the community was interested in Mentorship, the response was a resounding Yes. This is one of the reasons the community responded so eagerly and enthusiastically upon rollout. However, they also received a lot of ideas for improving the tool which they then collected and passed along to Facebook. The takeaway for IMdM was to ask questions, ask for feedback, get everyone on board with the idea before introducing something new.
  • Remember, we all crave human interaction
    Within the community, IMdM saw personal interactions flourish. When mentors and mentees interacted on a 1:1 basic, they quickly built rapport. Friendships were forged and IRL meetings occurred. As a result, for IMdM, the major positive impact was the increased level of trust within the community.
Best Practices
Mentor
  • Set expectations: Discuss goals, timeline and follow-up on advice or tasks
  • Be open: As you build rapport with your mentee, be willing to share your stories of success and failure
  • Ask for feedback: Develop your Mentorship skills by asking for feedback. It’s important to ensure the format of your mentorship has been helpful for the Mentee
Mentee
  • Come prepared: Have an agenda of topics, questions, and examples you would like to talk about
  • Follow through: Try to keep your scheduled meetings and be consistent about following up and updating your mentor on your journey.
  • Take notes: Keep a notebook to track the lessons you’ve learned. End your Mentorship session with actionable items that you can implement