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November 5, 2019

Where Does $100 to Big Brothers Big Sisters Go?

by Anne Paddock

Where does $100 to Big Brothers Big Sisters go?  The answer depends on whether the $100 was given to the national office, the foundation, or one of the 250 local affiliate offices.  Since the national office, referred to as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), is the largest of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations (in terms of revenue raised), the focus of this post will be on the national office (but don’t hesitate to read the Form 990 for your local affiliate).

In 2017, BBBSA raised $23.2 million, which primarily came from three sources:  contributions, gifts, and grants ($10 million),  government grants ($8.5 million), and membership fees, AIM (Agency Information Management) fee revenue from affiliates, and national conference registration fees ($4 million).

Expenses totaled $22.4 million and can be viewed two ways: by broad general category (i.e. grants, program services, management and general expenses, and fundraising) or by specific line item category (i.e. grants, compensation, fees for services, office-related expenses, travel, etc), the latter of which provides more detail on how revenue was spent.

Expenses by Broad General Category

The $22.4 million in expenses were categorized as follows:

  • $13.4 million (58% of revenue):  Grants
  • $ 6.7 million (29% of revenue):  Program Services
  • $ 1.2 million (5% of revenue):  Management and General Expenses
  • $ 1.1 million (5% of revenue):  Fundraising

It is important to note that grants are included as part of Program Services but it is helpful to show grants and program service expenses separately, especially if the primary purpose of an organization is to award grants. Separating grants allows the reader to quickly ascertain how much revenue is going to grants.

Using the above information, $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 58:  Grants

$ 42:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 29:  Program Services

-$  5:  Management and General Expenses

-$  5:  Fundraising

-$ 39:  Subtotal Program, Management and Fundraising Expenses

$  3:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, $58 out of every $100 in revenue was awarded in grants to Big Brother Big Sister affiliates. BBBSA spent $39 out of every $100  on program services, management and general expenses, and fundraising. The remaining revenue – about $3 out of every $100  or about $800,000 went to the general fund which had a net fund balance of $5.9 million at year-end.

Expenses by Specific Line Item Category

The $22.4 million in expenses were categorized as follows:

  • $13.4 million (58% of revenue):  Grants
  • $ 4.3 million (19% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 3.0 million (13% of revenue):  Fees for Services (i.e. accounting, recruitment, fundraising, consultants, etc)
  • $ 1.0 million (4% of revenue):  Office-related Expenses
  • $  .7 million (3% of revenue):  Travel

Compensation for the 60 employees totaled $4.3 million which equates to an average compensation of $72,000.  Fees for services – $3 million – were for outside services.

Using the above information, $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 58:  Grants

$ 42:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 19:  Compensation

-$ 13:  Fees for Services

-$  4:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  3:  Travel

-$ 39: Subtotal: Compensation, Fees, Office, and Travel

$   3:  Revenue Remaining: To General Fund

As illustrated above, $39 out of every $100 was spent on compensation, fees, office, and travel expenses. $58 out of every $100 was awarded in grants to affiliates. 104 grants were awarded with the 20 largest grant awards listed as follows:

  • $791,212:  BBBS of Metropolitan Chicago
  • $586,555:  BBBS of Lone Star
  • $475,551:  Kansas BBBS, Inc.
  • $426,747:  BBBS of Kentuckiana, Inc.
  • $402,532:  BBBS of Middle Tennessee
  • $394,589:  BBBS of Puget Sound
  • $363,724:  BBBS of the Greater Twin Cities
  • $348,613:  BBBS of Massachusetts Bay
  • $348,453:  BBBS of New York City, Inc.
  • $295,421:  BBBS of Greater Pittsburgh, Inc.
  • $285,342:  Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
  • $276,664:  BBBS of Greater Los Angeles
  • $271,160:  BBBS of Miami
  • $267,938:  BBBS of the Greater Chesapeake, Inc.
  • $247,516:  BBBS Independence Region (Philadelphia)
  • $239,797:  BBBS of Tampa Bay Inc.
  • $237,726:  BBBS of South Texas
  • $233,894:  BBBS of New Hampshire
  • $226,473:  BBBS of the Bay Area
  • $217,072:  BBBS of Utah, Inc.

Summary and Bottom Line

The national office of BBBS raised about $20 million a year from both contributions and grants from the government. About 60% of revenue was spent on grants to about 100 BBBS affiliates (there are 250 affiliate offices) so not all affiliates benefit from grants.  About 40% of revenue is spent on staff compensation for the 60 employees, office-related expenses, travel, and fees for services.  It is interesting to note that about $3 million was spent on fees for services, which are to organizations and people outside of BBBSA including consultants, fundraisers, accountants, software hosting and support, services, marketing services, and more.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2016) for the year ending June 30, 2017, click here.

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