The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) is changing lives. Working in partnership with schools and universities over the last ten years, it’s supported thousands of Indigenous students through high school and into university, employment or further education. It gives these students new skills and opportunities as well as the confidence to grow and succeed.
AIME’s success stems from a proven model of mentorship. In its first year, AIME had 25 Indigenous high school students in the program receiving mentorship from 25 university students. Now, it mentors nearly 6,000 students annually and has ambitions to reach 10,000 by 2018.
According to Natalie Savell, IT Systems Manager for AIME, Salesforce is critical to sustaining this growth. “With Salesforce, our staff are no longer tied down by complicated systems and processes. They can focus on delivering the AIME program and helping Indigenous students finish school.”
AIME initially turned to Salesforce to manage its volunteer and fundraising data. It replaced spreadsheets with Salesforce’s Not for Profit Success Pack, giving staff across the country a better way to capture and share information. Today, Salesforce powers AIME’s program delivery. AIME’s delivery model depends on staff, partners, mentors and schools working in tandem to deliver a range of mentoring programs to students each year.
Students typically enrol in years seven or nine and remain in the program through year 12. While initial enrolments are paper-based to satisfy legal requirements, a record for each student is created in Salesforce. Over time, the record is updated to include information related to the student’s participation and engagement in the program. For year 12 students, the Salesforce record serves as a CV, documenting their achievements and aspirations.
The student records are also used to generate attendance forms and aid enrolment for future years. AIME simply send out a transition report to schools in advance of each year and the school notifies them of any changes or new students to be enrolled. The automated process removes the admin burden on all those involved and ensures accurate tracking of student progress and attendance.
The recent addition of a Community for mentors has further improved workflow. Here, mentors can apply online and complete an initial training. They can also select which programs they would like to participate in and register for more training.
The administration of AIME’s fundraising arm has also been simplified with Salesforce used to track regular donations from its supporter base.
Remarkably, the year 12 attainment rate amongst students who have participated in the program is 93.7%. This is higher than the respective averages for non-Indigenous and Indigenous students which are 86.5% and 58.5%. There are benefits for mentors, too, with 90% reporting that participation in AIME has enhanced their university experience. Mentors also reported growth in their connection to Indigenous Australia and cultural and social awareness.
Stats such as these help secure ongoing support and funding for the program. This is crucial as AIME seeks to expand its reach in Australia and launch overseas.
“One of the biggest challenges the world faces is inequality and the only way through this is education. That’s why we’re sharing our model with the world and offering 20 university students a scholarship to implement our mentoring program in their country,” said Savell.
“When we first started working with Salesforce, we had 787 kids in the program. Today, we’re mentoring 6,000. There is no way we could manage that many kids without Salesforce.”