18:1 Mentoring Delivers a High Return

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Social Return on Investment Survey

A groundbreaking new study by The Boston Consulting Group demonstrates the power of investments in Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring toof_Canada_BBBS_stacked_2colour_96dpi_RGB deliver strong economic value over time.  The study was designed to audit the financial return to society from Big Brothers Big Sisters, and it found that every dollar invested generates on average $18 in hard dollar returns to society.

The research compared the life outcomes of 500 former “Littles” with a control group of individuals from identical family and economic backgrounds. The study determined that, over their working lives, the former Little Brothers and Little Sister will earn on average $315,000 more than those in the control group. These higher incomes will deliver additional tax revenue, higher consumer spending and increased charitable giving and volunteerism.

Remarkably, the social return on investment or SROI for the most economically disadvantaged participants in Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs is even greater – generating an average of $23 in economic value for each dollar invested.

Collective action to invest in the future of kids in need of guidance is gaining strength. A great example is three major new investments from Standard Life, Boston Pizza and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Standard Life has just announced it will invest $1.125 million over the next five years to help recruit more volunteer Big Brothers and Big Sisters; Boston Pizza is giving $1.5 million as part of a five-year pledge, and the Government of Canada under the auspices of Citizenship and Immigration Canada is providing $1.6 million over three years to serve the mentoring needs of immigrant youth.  Local communities will benefit extensively from these significant investments.

There is now proof positive that Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentoring programs generate enormous financial and societal value. Donors can give with certainty knowing that their hard earned dollars will make profound contribution – not only to young lives, but also to the economy.

The former Little Brothers and Little Sisters involved in the study also generally achieved more positive life outcomes in terms of life skills and general well-being than their counterparts who never had the benefit of a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister.

How were the SROI ratios calculated?

  • Four categories of differential life outcomes were examined: employment, philanthropy, life skills and general well-being.
  • The financial returns stem from higher taxes, higher consumer spending and increasing charitable giving and volunteering.
  • When compared to the control group, each former Little Brother and Little Sister involved in the research project is on track to generate an average of $32,154 in additional tax revenue; $49,819 in increased consumption; $5,856 in additional charitable volunteering and $890 in greater charitable giving.
  • The SROI generated by former Littles from the least economically advantaged group was an incredible $23 per dollar invested when compared against control group members from the same economic backgrounds. These former Littles on average will generate $42,217 in additional tax revenue; $65,411 in higher consumption; $7,214 in additional charitable volunteering and $817 in increased charitable giving.
  • The average investment required to mentor a Little Brother or Little Sister is $5,059.
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