SROI Is Worth More Than Money Can Buy

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Recent BCG study shows investments in Big Brothers Big Sisters returns more than just a 2300% in financial gains.

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A recent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) revealed that donors can expect a $23 dollar return for every $1 invested in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. The 2300% Social Return on Investment (SROI) is only secondary to the true benefit experienced by youth participating in BBBS programs.

The research compared the life outcomes of 500 former Little Brothers and Little Sisters with a control group of individuals from similar family and economic backgrounds who did not have mentorship from a Big Brother or Big Sister. The study focused on four categories of life outcomes: employment, philanthropy, life skills and general well-being.

“The BBBS Social Return on Investment Study was designed to audit the financial return to society from Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said James Tucker, a partner in Toronto at BCG, who led the research project. “We found tremendous financial value generated through higher taxes and higher spending due to increased income and increased charitable donations in time and money. Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs generate an average social return on investment or SROI of $18 for every dollar invested.”

For the most economically disadvantaged participants in BBBS mentoring programs the impact is even higher with an average SROI of $23 for each dollar invested.

Key Findings:

  •     68% reported being employed full time, compared to 58% among those in the control group. The BBBS participants were also significantly more likely to have higher full-time salaries (average: $59,600 versus $52,700)
  •     66% self-reported volunteering for community service versus 43% among those in the control group. The BBBS participants reported an average of 95 hours of community service per year compared to 73 hours
  •     Almost eight-in-ten BBBS participants (77%) self-reported they donate to charities compared to 67% among those in the control group
  •     Average annual charitable donations were also higher ($395 versus $329)
  •     80% self-reported pursuing a healthy lifestyle versus 72% among those in the control group
  •     81% self-reported being financially literate compared to 70%
  •     47% self-reported being a senior leader in their working environment compared to 32%
  •     42% strongly agreed that they were a happy person, compared to 26% of those in the control group; 52% strongly agreed that they make good life choices versus 39% and 42% strongly agreed that they had a strong network of family and friends compared to 28%

“The figures are astounding” says Sharon Moore, Executive Director of BBBS Calgary and Area. “What’s more important is what we interpret behind the numbers. Youth who are mentored in BBBS programs become valuable and productive members of the community. An achievement like this is critically important to a city like Calgary where the access to talent cannot keep up with the economic demand. Ensuring our youth get the mentorship they deserve ensures that businesses in the community will also continue to thrive.”

James Tucker of the BCG will be presenting his findings at the BBBS Calgary Mentoring Breakfast hosted at the Calgary Petroleum Club on September 30, 2013. The breakfast will also feature Ruth Kelly, President of Venture Publishing, and Richard Brown, VP of Venture Development and Business Integration at Suncor Energy. This event is proudly supported by the RBC Foundation.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters Calgary

For one hundred years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been making a positive difference in the lives of Canada’s youth by developing and implementing a wide range of mentoring programs. BBBS volunteer mentors teach by example the importance of giving back, of staying in school, and of respecting family, peers and community.

Last year, 2,049 children and their families participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area programs and services. Our mission is to impact the lives of young people and volunteers through the power of mentoring.

The Canadian Progress Club of Calgary officially founded Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area in 1994 by merging Aunts at Large, Big Sisters of Calgary and Uncles at Large. Together, these organizations have contributed to the Calgary community for over 40 years.

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About The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. They partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises.

Their customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that their clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with more than 75 offices in 43 countries.

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