At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ever wonder if your charitable donations actually generate a financial return to society?

I’d like to tell you a story about a little boy named Jamie who at 8 years old lost his father to heart disease and whose world was turned upside down. He and his two brothers felt abandoned, scared and a bit lost and didn’t think that they had anyone to talk to.

Their lives could have taken any number of roads, but their mother had the courage to realize that while she would give her children anything she couldn’t give them everything, so she reached out for help - and Big Brothers Big Sisters answered. Big Brothers stepped into each of her young boys’ lives and selflessly did their best to fill the holes, help mend hearts and ensure the roads the boys walked down, were good ones.

Now Jamie grew up to be James and a Partner and Managing Director the at Boston Consulting Group and when Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada asked us to assess the impact of their programs I knew from my own experience that there was real value created.

The key was to turn “knowing” into proof and to undertake a statistically significant, quantitatively rigorous study so that we could convince people without that experience, of the value of its programs.

With a representative sample of former Littles compared to a control group, that’s exactly what we did. We studied differential life outcomes and the portion attributable to Big Brothers Big Sisters and what we found was tremendous.

For every dollar spent on a Big Brothers Big Sisters program, 18 dollars in societal value is created and the harder the circumstances the better the program works, with a 23:1 SROI in the most economically disadvantaged groups that Big Brothers Big Sisters serves.

Click here for Key Findings from the Social Return on Investment Study.

The study clearly shows that vast numbers of former Littles see the relationship with their Big as a transformational moment in their lives that led to enhanced life outcomes, an ability to make better decisions, increased confidence and a general sense of well being and happiness.

I'd like to leave you with one final thought – you don’t donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters, you make an investment, an investment in a little boy’s or little girl’s future, and that investment will have a fantastic payoff – in hard dollars and better lives lived.


James Tucker O.M.C., ICD.D, MBA, BA, is a Partner and Managing Director with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) based in Toronto, Canada. His professional practice is focused on helping clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage and realize the full potential value of their operations and assets.

On July 16, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is unveiling the findings of a ground breaking new study that audits the financial return in economic value from Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring. The findings of this rigorous audit provide a thought provoking analysis of the hard economic benefits that result from investing in the future of little boys and girls.


If you could invest in Canada's future and get an excellent return on your investment, which would you choose to support?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This story is remarkable and so amazing. It really ties in real #'s with what we know to be true! My son has had a Big Brother for 5 years now, and those 5 years have been the best years of his life. My son was so excited to read this study, he highlighted with three different colours to convey which parts were of particular interest to him. Thank you Big Brothers Big Sisters, thank you James for sharing your story and Boston Consulting Group for being the vehicle to bring this great information to light.

Vicky Jaggard of BBBSHalifax, Mom of Little Brother Brendon who is matched to Big Brother Vern who is 50 years older than Brendon. Vern's father was also a Big Brother and a member of our Board of Directors 40 years ago. What an amazing legacy for my son to be part of.

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