We sat down with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta executive director Janice McKenzie-Crayton, who has been with the organization for 25 years, to talk about BBBSMA’s mission, past challenges, and their vision for the future.
BBBSMA is a real powerhouse of an organization. For more than fifty years, BBBSMA has provided children facing adversity in the twelve-county metro Atlanta area with strong and long-lasting, professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships that change families for the better, forever. Each mentoring relationship lasts an average of nearly four years, and data shows that nearly all kids mentored through BBBSMA increase their academic standing and stay out of the juvenile justice system. Mentors will tell you that the program changes their lives for the better as well.
Before the mentoring relationship can begin, BBBSMA staff and volunteers have to screen and match potential mentors and mentorees. The process involves handling a lot of data. That’s where we enter the picture. TechBridge’s relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta began a few years ago when they won the Technology Innovation Award given by Accenture. The services we provided through the award enabled BBBSMA to ditch a data management system which the staff says was “a mess.” Matching “Littles” (mentorees) with “Bigs” (mentors) was a particular pain point that involved staff sitting around a table piled high with paper applications.
TechBridge helped BBBSMA implement a Salesforce database and paperless system for volunteer applications that saves both volunteers and staff hours of time per applicant. Rather than dealing with cumbersome paperwork, they can now spend quality time where it counts— talking with prospective Bigs and supporting families. Additionally, BBBSMA is now able to track and report on volunteer and client data much more efficiently. The technology upgrade has saved the organization tens of thousands of dollars in labor and resources.
BBBSMA aims to help even more area families in the future. They estimate that about 500,000 families could benefit from their services, and right now they serve about two thousand. To scale up, they’ll need to be extremely efficient with both their time and money. Improved technology will help them do that while allowing them to maintain the person-to-person connection that is a huge part of BBBSMA’s effectiveness. As McKenzie-Crayton says, with better technology infrastructure, they’ll be able to be “high tech” while remaining “high touch.”
During our visit at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta we heard some truly heartwarming and impressive success stories that really helped us understand how crucial the mentoring and support services that BBBSMA provides are to area kids and families. We look forward to seeing the organization reach their goal of serving more families, and we salute BBBSMA for demonstrating that we’re #BetterTogether.
TechBridge’s #BetterTogether Campaign
The #BetterTogether campaign showcases the important efforts of nonprofits TechBridge has had the privilege to work with. We are proud to have provided technology solutions that have assisted these organizations on the front lines of social change in our communities—alleviating homelessness, fighting poverty, helping kids do better in school, making sure seniors get proper meals, and more. Our solutions build the capacity of nonprofits to achieve better results and to form measurable and sustainable community-based collaboratives.
Because social change is a community effort, you’ll also be hearing about the generous sponsors, amazing technology partners and tireless volunteers and staff who enable the transformational work we do. We are, indeed, #bettertogether.