If you are considering getting your mentee a gift for any reason, iMentor applauds your generosity. However, in no way should you feel pressured to do so. By playing a positive and encouraging role in your mentee’s life, you are already providing an invaluable gift that he/she will benefit from for years to come. With that said, iMentor recognizes that pairs develop close relationships where it is totally understandable that one party would want to give the other a gift. Furthermore, there are often occasions such as holidays, graduations or birthdays where gifts are traditionally given. Below, quick guidelines are provided to ensure that mentors give their mentees gifts in a way that allows them to continue to have the healthiest, strongest relationship possible.
- Consider the length of your relationship
o Giving your mentee a gift too early in the relationship can have a negative effect on the development of your relationship. During the period of time when you are still getting to know one another and generate norms together, gift giving is strictly discouraged.
o “How early is TOO early?” This is a question your Program Manager would be more than happy to explore with you. When in doubt, ask your Program Manager.
- Whenever possible, gifts should not be monetary
o Gifting cash or checks can make mentees uncomfortable and can introduce an undesirable element of charity into the relationship. A simple, low-cost, and thoughtful gift is always preferable to monetized gifts.
o If mentors would like to give a mentee money for a specific purpose (college books, SAT resources, etc.), they are strongly encouraged to purchase a gift card from a specific vendor (e.g. a university bookstore).
- Consider that, due to familial and/or cultural beliefs, your mentee may not celebrate the same occasions as you
o Our mentees come from a wonderfully diverse collection of ethnicities and cultures. Prior to considering giving your mentee a gift, check with your Program Manager to determine if giving a gift is the appropriate gesture for any given occasion.
- Present any/all gifts in a discreet manner
o Gifts should not be presented in front of other classmates or mentors. Mentors should set up a 1 on 1 meeting at the iMentor Office or arrange to pull the mentee aside at an event.
o Mentors should, in turn, encourage their mentee to be discreet about the gift. The mentee should not gloat about the mentor or the gift.
- Ask your Program Manager if a gift seems excessive
o If the gift is expensive or if you think the gift could make the mentee uncomfortable, please check in with your Program Manager.
o It would be arbitrary to attach a maximum allowable value for gift giving. Use your discretion, please check with your Program Manager prior to distribution to your mentee.
As always, your Program Manager is more than happy to discuss any questions, or concerns you may have in regards to this policy or any other aspect of your involvement with iMentor.