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Top 100 Small Business Award

By | January 21st, 2011|Categories: News|

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kara Thornberry

Phone: 772-283-8373

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties Selected by Business Leader Media’s Top 100 South Florida Small Businesses

Stuart, FL (January 20, 2011)- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Inc is proud to be listed in the Business Leader Media’s Top 100 South Florida Small Businesses again this year.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties (BBBS) was selected for this honor in 2009 and again in 2010. Business Leader Media, publishers of the South Florida Business Leader Magazine, selected winners from across South Florida from companies with fewer than 100 employees. Each company’s revenue growth, business achievement, and community involvement were also evaluated.

“We sincerely appreciate this recognition,” said BBBS President/CEO Bill Bee. “Receiving this award from the business sector is a great achievement for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties. It’s important for nonprofits to be included as businesses and evaluated with our peers. While our mission and nonprofit status may make us a little different, charities are businesses and economic engines.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties began their expansion process into Palm Beach County in July of 2010. The nonprofit is expecting mammoth growth in the next year in revenues, staff and children served.

When asked why his organization is being selected, Mr. Bee pointed to the dedication of his staff and board. “We simply couldn’t undertake an expansion of this size without an incredible staff and board in place. I’m proud to be working with these talented and dedicated people every day. My board consists of some of the finest business and corporate leaders in our area and we are working together to achieve our goal of providing caring adult mentors to children in need in our community.”

Bill Bee will accept this award on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Inc at the Top 100 Small Business luncheon scheduled for January 31st at the Intercontinental Hotel Doral, Doral Florida.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties

BBBS provides at-risk children ages 6-18 with volunteer mentors who serve as positive role models. Since 1986, the organization has provided mentors to children in Martin County and since July 2010 in Palm Beach County.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) recognized the Martin County organization in 2007 as one of the 35 best performing agencies nationwide. BBBSA recognized CEO Bill Bee as “CEO of the Year – Small Agency Category” in 2007. South Florida Business Leader Magazine ranked BBBS Martin County in 2009 and again in 2010 as one of the top 100 South Florida small businesses. Visit to learn more.

Start Something!

By | January 14th, 2011|Categories: Uncategorized|

Visit for the original article!

By Susan Miller, South Florida Business Journal

There’s much to be said for being a nonprofit that’s been around for more than 100 years.

For one thing, a lot of people have probably heard about your mission. But, there’s also a downside to that longevity.

By holding tight to the past and failing to update their message, many nonprofits have created fundraising challenges and discovered that, in order to survive, they must come up with ways to speak to a new generation of donors.

Now, for the first time since its founding more than 100 years ago, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America is doing something it has never done before: It’s asking for money.

As part of National Mentoring Month, the organization known for its mentors has launched a campaign dubbed Start Something, which highlights the “life-changing impact” a mentor can have, but also points out that there is a dollar figure attached to that mentor.

While mentors aren’t paid, there is a cost associated with their training, background checks and monitoring.

“This isn’t about putting a volunteer and child together and saying ‘bye-bye, have a good time,’” said Ana Cedeno, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.

Cedeno, who sits on the national marketing committee for BBBS of America, said the new message unveiled this week was two years in the planning.

The need to update the organization’s message was what Cedeno calls “an a-ha moment of realizing we weren’t doing a better job, or a more global job of reaching out. A lot of folks didn’t understand that what we do takes funds.”

William Bee, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, said the reality is that nonprofits are businesses, and it takes money to operate a business.

“This forces us to become more focused on the capacity to raise funds,” he said.

That’s particularly true for his affiliate, which last year took over some of the services offered by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Palm Beach County after it filed for Chapter 7.

So, not only does he face the challenge of adding services, but he’s doing it from scratch.

For Bee, the challenge is “in forming long-term relationships and re-establishing the credibility of what we do,” he said.

But, the new BBBS campaign is not just about donors, it’s also a call to action in a way that will resonate with an audience that, more often than not, is getting its messages through social media channels.

“We are rebranding so that people know about the life-changing results,” said Mack Koonce, VP and COO of BBBS of America.

He said the organization was looking to create a brand that works in social media and is easy to grasp.

“Branding is a different thing in this Internet world and the way people connect,” he said. “You want to build on your strengths and legacy, [but] at the same time you have to transform and change to stay relevant, so it’s a balance of holding on to the things that make us an iconic brand, while at the same time being new and fresh and relevant.”

BBBS of America isn’t alone

Last month, I wrote that, after 160 years, the YMCA decided it was time for a makeover and would the “MCA” from its name as part of a rebranding effort.

Like BBBS of America, the YMCA’s rebranding is a jumping-off point to letting people know there are costs associated with the services they provide, and there is a need for donations.

I don’t doubt that, as fundraising becomes increasingly more difficult, nonprofits’ survival will be based on their ability to come up with new ways to engage donors.

Read more: Big Brothers: Can you spare a dime? | South Florida Business Journal

New York Times Article

By | January 13th, 2011|Categories: News|

Mentoring Program Turns Cameras on Its Young Clients

Published: January 12, 2011
FOR the first time in its more than 100-year history, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is actively seeking donations, through a nationwide campaign, to underwrite its work with children at risk.
Scout Tufankjian

John Paul Adan, left, and Edgar from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The outreach is part of a new public service advertising initiative that was created with the help of the Advertising Council and is being announced Thursday, as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of National Mentoring Month.

Called “Start Something,” the campaign uses traditional as well as social media to illustrate the positive impact the adult volunteers of Big Brothers Big Sisters have on children’s lives, and to solicit both volunteers and financial support. The organization’s previous national public service advertising, which began in 2002, was also created with the Ad Council and sought only volunteers.

Established in 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters matches adult volunteers with children from poor or single-parent families, or who have an incarcerated parent, all considered at risk; the organization estimates there are 10 million to 15 million such children in the United States. Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers are expected to make a minimum one-year commitment to serve as a mentor to these children.

According to Mack Koonce, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters, although the need for volunteer services has risen continuously as the economy has weakened, the organization’s funding has dropped, which means it must reduce the number of volunteers it can support. It costs about $1,000 a year for an adult volunteer to mentor a child, with most money going to administrative expenses.

Mr. Koonce said last year Big Brothers Big Sisters’ 380 local affiliates helped 227,000 pairs of adult mentors and children, when the group had revenue of $278 million; in 2008, it assisted 255,000 youngsters, when revenue was $290 million.

A strategic review begun in 2007 concluded that Big Brothers Big Sisters needed to make “two fundamental shifts,” Mr. Koonce said. “People know us for our mentoring, but not what we achieve, our outcomes. And we’re known as a place to volunteer more than a place to donate.”

According to a 1995 study by Public/Private Ventures, a nonprofit research and program development group, after 18 months of spending time with adult mentors, children in Big Brothers Big Sisters are 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol and 52 percent less likely to skip school than at-risk children not in the program.

To reposition Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Ad Council brought in the New York office of Naked Communications — a branding and communications strategy consulting company — to develop an initial strategy, and the New York office of Publicis Modem USA, the digital agency of the Publicis Worldwide unit of the Publicis Groupe, which further developed and executed the strategy.

Publicis Modem’s new ads — directed mostly at people who support groups that aid children — delivers the campaign’s various messages while soliciting donations in a low-key way.

For example, a new TV spot asks, “What if every child was sent on the right path? What if every child stayed in school? Graduated college? Got a job? Gave back to the community? What if every child’s potential was fulfilled? What could that start? It could be the start of something big. Every time you donate money or time to Big Brothers Big Sisters it makes a big impact on a Little. Start something at”

Web banners will begin running this month, with TV and radio advertising in late January or early February, while print and outdoor media will start in the third quarter of this year.

In addition, adult volunteers and the children they mentor will use video cameras to document their experiences together; their chronicles will be posted on FacebookTwitter,YouTube and Flickr later in this quarter.

“We were looking for a way to create a personal connection and engagement with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and we felt the best way to do this was to show the impact these relationships have,” said Dani Nadel, president of Publicis Modem USA. “Social media is a great way to create a first-hand experience of the true benefits of the program.”

The campaign is getting a significant boost from many Big Brothers Big Sisters corporate partners, including Arby’s, which donated $675,000 for research and marketing; Comcast, which is giving more than $3 million in air time and online media this year; Nivea, which is raising money through an iTunes promotion this month; and AOL, Facebook and MSN Advertising, all of which have made firm commitments to run the new online ads.

Marketing and philanthropic experts generally praised the campaign’s strategy.

Stephen A. Greyser, professor emeritus of marketing at the Harvard Business School, said “the most effective thing” Big Brothers Big Sisters has done “is the way it harnessed the energy” of its corporate partners.

Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, said the most innovative aspect of the campaign “is the fact that the ‘Bigs’ and the ‘Littles’ will be contributing content. It’s a creative move to empower laypeople, volunteers and kids to produce advertising media for a large organization.”

However, Pablo Eisenberg, a senior fellow at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, warned that the campaign’s reliance on social media “may not produce the huge amounts of money they want to get. There’s a strong correlation between giving and age; those who are older and have some means give more than the young.”

Not surprisingly, Peggy Conlon, chief executive of the Ad Council, is bullish. “One thing that’s known about philanthropy is that the biggest reason people do not give is because they haven’t been asked,” she said. The initiative has all the right ingredients. “It will have a very powerful, dramatic draw.”

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