A survey was administered in order to gain a deeper understanding as to how men perceived the concept of volunteering and mentoring in general. Out of 48 survey respondents, each participant indicated that they would consider mentoring a child. However, there were several personal constraints preventing people from volunteering including time commitment issues, budgetary considerations and lack of information about the program. Although this sample is not representative of all views and perspectives of men regarding mentoring, it does supply pertinent information about how men view mentoring other younger males.
KEY QUOTES FROM SURVEY RESPONDENTS “I would do it, but need the funds...” - Male age 23-29, IT Specialist
“I feel some people would be better off with guidance from a young age.” - Male age 23-29, Graphic Design Student
“I don’t think I have the consistency of time that I would need to be effective.” - Male age 40-49, Educator
“To give back would be ideal, but my job makes it difficult to keep a steady schedule.” - Male age 23-29, Entertainment Business
“Yes I would love to because it is a good way to giving back to one’s community, but I am just afraid I would probably not have the time to be effective at doing so because of school load.”- Male age 23-29, Physical Therapy Student
"I would consider it because it would give me a chance to be a positive influence in someone’s life, also because it would give me a chance to possibly learn something about myself. Reasons that I wouldn’t consider it would include time management and uncertainty about being able to be fully committed to the program."- Male age 23-29, Social Work Student
Interviews were conducted with three participants who have a former or present affiliation with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. The main purpose of these interviews were to determine what successful measures were currently being implemented to target the male demographic, and to gain personal insight as to how each individual feels the organization may better reach out to attract and recruit potential Big Brothers.
KEY QUOTES FROM INTERVIEW PARTICIPANTS What recruitment efforts have been previously made to attract more males? Carl: BBBS has linked up locally with Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi, two historically African American Fraternities. Kate: Probably what’s been most successful is word-of-mouth, so talking to our current Big Brothers and letting them know, and asking them to talk to their friends.
Was there anything that surprised you about Big Brothers Big Sisters while you were a volunteer? Q: After it was all over with and done, I did talk to his (Little) teacher about how he was doing in class or whatnot, and actually he did improve on his studies and his activities in the classroom. I didn’t know it was going to be as big of an impact, but it really was.
How much time did you all (Big & Little) spend per week? Q: Once a week, we would go Fridays and spend like an hour and a half. Within a month: almost about 6 hours.
How has the organization impacted you since you became a member? Q: I would say it definitely opened my eyes as far as being a role model to younger to people in general.
How do you feel Big Brothers Big Sisters may better reach out to attract and recruit other potential Big Brothers? Carl:The males that are currently Big Brothers will need to be a stronger force in telling their stories and experiences regarding their experience or experiences of not only serving as a volunteer for BBBS but the impact the program has made in their lives. Males must be a target and focal piece for BBBS.
Q: I mean, it’s so many way, it like you have Facebook, Twitter, the actual mentor workshop – trying to invite them to it, but I mean at the end of the day, it’s all up to them. You can always have some type of meeting, maybe like a sports meeting. Because, you know most guys like sports.
In preparation for the workshop, we decided to redefine the space from a formal, board meeting styled setup to a more hospitable and unified, setting by breaking apart the tables and connecting them at cornered angles. We believed this layout would be most effective for fostering collaboration and establishing serendipitous relationships among like-minded workshop participants. Guests would be seated in paired clusters rather than around a large, oval-shaped and unwelcoming arrangement of connected tables.
Using the candy M&M’s to facilitate creativity, workshop participants paired in groups based on the color of their M&M, and collaborated to generate visual material displaying how a mentor relates to several occupational figures. After 10 minutes of brainstorming, planning and model development, each presented their final mentor models. The inspiration for this creative exercise derived from Chapter 5 of The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson and the Marshmellow Challenge by Tom Wujec. Achieving the Medici Effect involves intersecting cross-sectional ideas that are not directly relatable. Models were built based on creative concepts that are combined randomly (mentor/doctor, police officer, etc). People of diverse skill sets would form groups and work together to achieve a common goal within a specific time frame. According to Tom’s philosophy, it is assumed that participants would orient themselves to the task, brainstorm and plan, build their models, stand back and have their "TADA" moments.
After a detailed analysis of research data, five user profiles were developed and used to gain a better under-standing of the targeted prospect mentor market. Although each persona has a distinct lifestyle and unique issue in regards to volunteering, all of them share the desire to actually considering mentoring a young child.
Example Persona below:
THE REFRAME: Following a 4 step strategy, this diagram became the framework for a complete marketing revision:
Connect_All entities associated with big brothers big sisters are explored. Internal issues such as lack of male staff members, program cuts due to funding and limited partnerships are revealed. Combine_An emphasis on 3 specific categories are employed to build the new marketing plan. These include identifying and highlighting key community figures, Promoting the organization by raising the awareness of the need for mentors, and connecting people by creating new opportunities. Channel_Concepts derived from research evidence are identified, combined and made more concrete. Create_Four main qualities are revealed as a result of analysis and synthesis.
THE TURN: When attempting to lure males to volunteer, our new marketing scheme should involve either of the following: • Instructiveness _using visuals and text to effectively to inform • Competitiveness _challenging prospects and testing their aptitude • Connectivity _uniting those who share a desire to make positive difference • Exclusivity _providing benefits as compensation for commitment
Considering the occupations of the prospect male mentors of Savannah, recruitment messages that characterize men of Savannah are implemented. Print media are derived directly from workshop mentor models and are advertised as paying jobs. The description of a mentor is clear and straightforward as it relates to each occupation, and wording is centered on the concepts of challenge, opportunity and skill development.
An additional advantage of recruiting by traits is the positive association with “doing good” that volunteering yields. Some employers reward workers for community involvement because it reflects well on most the professional businesses as a whole.
As a substitute for the lack of male staff members, Mr. Freddie Curtis will now serve as the face of big brothers big sisters. A former cocaine addict, Freddie has completed a drug rehabilitation program, accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and is currently studying Business Administration at South University in Savannah, GA. With an inspiring story to share, Freddie effectively conveys the role of a mentor through print media and YouTube video postings. Freddie’s testimonials will aim to impart wisdom and knowledge into those men who have been subject to similar life experiences, and encourage those men who feel inadequate and incapable of seeing themselves as mentors. After witnessing Freddie and becoming familiar with his character, one would be able to associate him with BBBS, and possibly see themselves in his shoes.
Example YouTube video commercial below:
Unlike the traditional screenprinted BBBS tee’s, new T-shirts will contain contemporary messages that are practical and relative to the culture of today’s emerging generation of young adults. When worn in numbers, these T-shirts can serve as a very impactful recruitment tool, as they convey a powerful message to the targeted audience.
As an incentive for new recruits, all incoming BBBS volunteers will be issued a Big Deal Club card to certify their membership and grant them discounts at local establishments, valid only when they are present with their mentee. Partnerships with BBBS have been successfully established with Lenny’s Subs, Sisters of the New South , Brown’s Family Restaurant, Lovin’ Spoons & Marco’s Pizza. Partnerships with other establishments such as Golden Corral, Moe’s Pizza, La Berry Frozen Yogurt, Sweet Potatoes and many more are subject to corporate approval and are in progress.
With social networking as one of Americas most popular online activities, BBBS introduces the Big’s Corner, a self-monitored social media platform accessed through the program’s website. Using a unique username and password from this page, brother’s gain access to the Brother’s Box (sisters gain access to the Sister’s Square), which features spokesperson Freddie Curtis along with a random brother-of-the-week. Scrolling down, brothers receive info about local events and news, and are able to view the most recent posts using the live news feed feature.
From the tabbed menu, brothers also have a link to the Matchbox – their very own personal profile pages which features himself and his Little. For those littles who are capable, a joint account can be established through BBBS after parental consent has been received, so that matches can connect online. Accommodating those Bigs with less stable lifestyles, the Matchbox allows you to connect with your little online, making it more convenient to communicate and arrange your next outings.
In partner with the Foursquare app, the Rival application will challenge brothers to a survival of the fittest! Monthly contests held by BBBS, will encourage Bigs to check-in at each location visted with their Littles. Points are accumulated per check-in and a group photo captured on site will be required for authenticity.
The match with the most points by the end of the contest will win one of several prizes, and most of all bragging rights until the next rivalry!