Question: How effective are long-time members who sponsor people in supporting diversity and inclusion in a community?


Sponsoring a community member is different from mentoring (4). A mentor provides guidance, shares experience, and challenges a mentee to grow. A mentor can be from outside a community. In contrast, a sponsor is someone within the community who puts their reputation on the line to create opportunities for the sponsee to move up in the community.

Sponsoring is only recently been adopted in the industry. Sponsorship is an effective leadership tactic for increasing diversity. Sponsored people are 90 percent less likely to perceive bias in a community (1). A sponsee knows that their sponsor has their back and champions for them to get opportunities in the community. A sponsee is likely to go into a community or experience with peace of mind that they know that someone wishes the best for them and wants to recognize them. This is effective to overcome protégés' previous negative experiences possibly tied to their different or diverse background. A sponsor puts their reputation on the line to advance the protégés' trajectory within the community.


  • Retain new members longer.
  • Grow the base of contributors, and convert newer (or less active) members into more active members, and ultimately, leaders in the community
  • Foster stronger community bonds between members.
  • Reduce perceived bias within the community.
  • Give new members from different backgrounds a chance.
  • Guide and train new members for new responsibilities and increased leadership.
  • Demonstrate dedication toward increasing diversity and inclusion and promote sponsorship activity through blogs, speaking, and press interviews.
  • Recognize potential subject matter experts with diverse backgrounds to sponsor.
  • Convert sponsees into sponsors, and continue the cycle.


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Data Collection Strategies

  • Interview members: Conduct interviews with new and existing members for feedback concerning the project’s sponsorship process. Potential questions might be:

    • For protégés: In what ways has the sponsorship program helped you become more successful?
    • In what ways has the sponsorship program improved diversity and inclusion within the project?
    • In what ways could the sponsorship program be improved?
    • Did the sponsorship program help you gain more responsibility and/or more leadership within the project?
    • Capture information about potential diverse proteges in events/meetups
    • Have you sponsored someone who identifies as a different gender than you?
    • Exchange gender with any dimension of interest from the Dimensions of Demographics.
  • Survey members:

    • Survey members: “Do you consider yourself to be sponsoring other members?”
    • Survey protégés: “Do you have a sponsor helping you?”
    • Likert scale [1-x] item: I am sponsoring other members.
    • Likert scale [1-x] item: I am sponsoring members who are different from me.
    • Likert scale [1-x] item: I have a sponsor within the community who puts their reputation on the line to advocate for me.
    • Likert scale [1-x] item: How effective is the sponsorship program?



This metric was last reviewed on July 23, 2022 as part of the metrics revision process.

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