Mentor satisfaction and its impact on volunteerism: A study of volunteers working with at-risk high school students

Margaret M Minson, Fordham University


Research indicates that a significant number of mentors do not renew their mentoring commitments. This qualitative case study was designed to explore with a sample of mentors, their perceptions of why some individuals who decide to mentor an at-risk student are not sufficiently satisfied by the experience and, as a result, either do not complete their commitment or do not sign on to mentor another student. The rationale for this study emanated from the researcher's desire to uncover the most common reasons for successful mentoring experiences as well as the most common obstacles to mentor satisfaction. It was the researcher's assumption that an increased understanding of mentoring and the development of research related to this topic would reduce the number of mentors who were dissatisfied and increase the number of individuals who would have successful mentoring experiences. The purposefully selected sample was composed of eight mentors who were working with at-risk high school students who were attending parochial schools in New York. These mentors were all volunteering at the same mentoring organization. The primary data collection method was in-depth interviews. A supportive method of data collection was the use of a survey. The data were coded and organized according to the research questions. This research revealed that mentors indicated that training throughout the mentoring experience would have helped to make the mentoring experience more satisfying and that the mentors valued a personal relationship with their mentees. The mentors also expressed dissatisfaction with the mentoring experience when their students did not perform well academically. Finally, the satisfied mentors were able to identify specific positive experiences that they shared with their mentees. These findings were supported by the quantitative results of the interviews. Recommendations were offered for administrators and staff at mentoring organizations, youth who agree to participate in a mentoring program, mentors and the parents of at-risk youth who are being mentored. Given that there are multiple factors that influence mentor satisfaction, and there are a variety of mentoring organizations with different missions, the recommendations put forth should be considered for their appropriateness on an individual basis.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Minson, Margaret M, "Mentor satisfaction and its impact on volunteerism: A study of volunteers working with at-risk high school students" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3361359.