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How to collect monitoring information for your mentoring or befriending project

This guide will help you choose and use different tools and techniques to collect information. It will help you monitor and evaluate your mentoring or befriending project. 

Things you'll need

  • Tools such as questionnaires for measuring progress and an assessment of resources you have for the project.

Focus on what you need to know

Before you embark on data collection you need to be clear on what your mentoring or befriending project does and what it wants to achieve.

For help thinking this through read our How to plan your monitoring and evaluation guide.

You will know the kind of information you are looking to collect from your indicators. These will help you to monitor and assess progress.

In the example of a mentoring project that supports young people at risk of offending two of the project outcome indicators are:

  • whether young people know where to look for work
  • the extent to which young people feel they belong in the community. 

The data collected will need to help assess change in these areas.

You will need to collect information on the work you do (outputs) and the changes resulting from your project (outcomes).


Decide when you should collect your information

Monitoring information should be collected regularly and systematically so you can check that your mentoring or befriending project is running as it should be.

For your outcome indicators you will need a baseline so you can measure progress. Collect information from your service users when you first meet them – you can use this as your baseline.

You can then gather information as frequently as you think best, however this should be at least twice.

Some mentoring and befriending projects find it useful to gather baseline information at the start of a project and then collect information at regular intervals to see how the mentee has progressed.

Bear in mind your resources and how much time you are able to spend on monitoring and evaluation. This needs to be proportionate to the time you need to spend on your project.


Choose tools that will work for you and your service users

Think through the type of information you need and which tools will provide this. For example, if you need detailed stories from mentees on how your project has helped them, a survey with tick boxes is unlikely to give you the information you need.

You must also be mindful of who you are collecting information from and what methods are appropriate. If you are collecting sensitive information from befriendees, for example, a group discussion probably won’t be appropriate.

Tools you can think about using include:

Some useful example of tools used in mentoring and befriending projects can be found here and Knowhow’s pages on measuring your impact.


Make the most of existing tools

Using and adapting tools that have already been developed can save you time and many have been tried and tested. You might want to ask other mentoring or befriending organisations about the tools they use.

However, you need to make sure that the tools are appropriate for your mentoring or befriending project. They will need to help measure the outcomes you have identified. If you use the tools of other organisations you will probably need to tailor them to your project.

These include validated scales used in questionnaires such as the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale. Such scales can be very useful for measuring change. However, think early on about how you will communicate the scale and your findings in a meaningful way.

See our frameworks and toolkits page for more ideas on how to make the most of data.


Test your tools

It is always a good idea to test your data collection tools before using them. For example, if you have developed a survey for mentees, ask a few of them to try it out for you.

It can be helpful to give them a few questions to think about as they go through, such as:

  • how long did the survey take?
  • were any questions difficult to understand?
  • did any of the questions make you feel uncomfortable? 

Use the feedback to make your tools even better!

Further information

This is the second part of five ‘how to guides’ which will help you monitor and evaluate your mentoring or befriending project. The other guides are:

For examples of tools used by charities please see:


Page last edited Jan 30, 2017 History

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