EducationUncategorizedProving the social impact of online mentoring during the COVID-19 pandemic

October 27, 2020by Socialsuite

Big Brothers Big Sisters Australia (BBBS) provides long-term, one-to-one mentorship to help change the course of vulnerable young people’s lives. The organisation works to create a safe and supportive environment to foster a sense of belonging and self worth. 

2020 has been a challenging year for many, but COVID-19 has profoundly impacted the lives of young Australians. Higher levels of isolation, loneliness and uncertainty have increased the number of young people (aged 18 to 24) experiencing ill-mental health by 60% – more than any other group, according to Australian National University research

Restrictions throughout the pandemic made the provision of BBBS’s crucial services difficult, with face-to-face mentoring not always possible. 

The organisation had to adapt quickly.

The move online

BBBS developed OurSpace, a secure online platform that allows young people to participate in traditional face-to-face mentoring, who aren’t able to attend sessions in person. This digital approach aspires to break down the barriers of location, illness, disability – and a global pandemic. Working to ensure that all young people can benefit from high-quality, intensive, one-to-one mentoring programs easily and safely.

Learn more about OurSpace here.

But they faced a key challenge. How could they be sure that their online program was having a real impact on their mentees? 

BBBS were missing valuable data and they were having to move more of their services fully online. They needed a solution that allowed them to update their impact framework, automatically collect data digitally, and demonstrate their impact. 

Proving effectiveness through automated monitoring

To understand how OurSpace was affecting their mentees, BBBS decided to bring Socialsuite’s impact measurement platform onboard. 

Using the platform, BBBS updated their impact framework, and created new questions to address COVID-19 and connectedness. 

In-built survey tools allowed BBBS to fully automate data collection – from scheduling survey emails and creating alerts, to tracking and monitoring submissions.

Receiving grants are a vital part of continuing BBBS’s crucial work. So BBBS configured data collection in Socialsuite to include additional demographic data points to aid future grant applications. 

BBBS also developed custom visual dashboards within the platform that highlighted the OurSpace program’s impact across their targeted outcomes. Their dashboard was tailored to showcase how different demographics responded to feelings of connectedness through the OurSpace online platform. 

With one click, BBBS can quickly visualize how the program impacted male or female participants.

Demonstrating impact

BBBS’s OurSpace program’s data collection is now fully automated, with access to a real-time, accurate view of their effectiveness and impact in the community. 

“With Socialsuite, we were able to quickly design a plan to collect data and understand how our mentees were responding to COVID-19. 
This data was vital in demonstrating our impact back to multiple stakeholders and for funding applications.”

Mark Watt AM

CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters Australia

With the help of Socialsuite, BBBS:

  • Have easy and fast access to crucial data that can inform decision making 
  • Achieved a 90%+ survey submission rate – giving them confidence in the accuracy of the results and allowing them to make data-driven decisions
  • Prove their impact to aid grant applications and help secure critical funding in the future
  • Know that their online program is making a difference – 95% of mentees reported that catching up with their mentor online has helped them feel more connected during COVID-19.

Thanks to Socialsuite’s feedback loop, BBBS can now ask the right questions and analyze the outcomes of their program – empowering them to help further improve the lives of vulnerable young people. 

How Socialsuite can help

If you’d like to learn more about how Big Brothers Big Sisters proved their social impact, or learn more about how Socialsuite can help you, reach us here.