« What's it like to be the poorest kid in an affluent setting? | Main | Is student debt preventing you from getting on with your life? »

July 17, 2021

Do your charitable donations kick back to society?

Ever wonder if your charitable donations make a difference?

Well, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), few charitable investments equal a donation like those to the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Canada organization.

To come to this conclusion, 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 belong to the charitable organization as children.

The study revealed that, over their working lives, the former "Littles" will earn on average $315,000 more than those in the control group.

James Tucker, a partner in Toronto at BCG, who led the research project, says, "The BBBS Social Return on Investment Study was designed to audit the financial return to society from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

"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."

And for the most economically disadvantaged youth in the BBBS mentoring program that return on investment is even higher at $23 for every charitable dollar invested.

Now that's a lot of bang for your charitable buck.

In addition, the study found that each former Little Brother and Little Sister 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 study examined four categories of differential life outcomes including employment, philanthropy, life skills and general well-being.

It found that participants in BBBS mentoring programs were more likely to contribute to charitable causes and volunteer their time to community work. They also achieved more positive life outcomes in the categories of life skills and personal well-being.

Bruce MacDonald, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, says, "Collective action is needed to change the trajectory of young lives.

"This study is sending a powerful message: the private sector, governments and individuals can support BBBS mentoring programs knowing that their investments will have a transformative effect on young lives and yield robust long-term financial returns and societal value."

There's a lot to be said about "what goes around, comes around". 

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

Do you think that giving back to the community makes a difference in the lives of others? Have you seen your charitable contributions make a difference?



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...