Thursday, 22 October 2015

Pro Bono O.R. - some important information

I have a few requests as well as some important information to pass on.

Firstly the South West O.R. group (part of The OR Society) has asked if Pro Bono O.R. would give a talk at one of its events in late Feb/early March.  As well as giving an overview of the scheme I am looking for a couple of volunteers who could talk for 15 minutes about why they joined the scheme and about a project they are working on/have worked on (what they have/are doing) and the impact it has.  The event will be in Cardiff at 5:45pm on either a Tuesday or Wednesday.  Please let me know by the end of November if you'd be interested (travel expenses will be covered).  

Additionally The OR Society has other Regional Society Groups across the country as well as Special Interest Groups (SIGS) who would be interested to hear from volunteers, please get in touch if you would be happy to present at one of these groups (pleased note you do not need to be a member of The OR Society).

Secondly I have created a LinkedIn group for volunteers and those interested in Pro Bono O.R. Please do sign up, the purpose of the group is to provide a space for updates, discussion, support, advice and to for members to post relevant information.

Thirdly please do share the news about Pro Bono O.R., both to analytical professionals who might want to get involved and to third sector organisations you may have connections with.  We just completed our 40th project this week and the scheme continues to go from strength to strength.  If you do have connections with a third sector organisation who you think would benefit from Pro Bono O.R. support please do get in touch and I can pass on an information pack.

Lastly, I’d just like to say a big thank you for your continued support of the scheme. The feedback I get from both volunteers and the organisations we work with is overwhelmingly positive – the time you give really does make a huge difference!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

New projects for Pro Bono O.R.: location analysis, demand analysis and impact analysis

Pro Bono O.R. – enabling managers to make more effective decisions

Pro Bono O.R. is a scheme run by The OR Society that provides skills-based volunteers to work on short term projects with third sector organisations in the UK. 
Projects require skilled professionals who work in operational research, analytics or related professions.  If you have the skills required for a project, we’d love to hear from you.
Please find details of a new project below that we are seeking a volunteer(s) for:

Blue Cross
Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives: To encourage and promote kindness to and the protection of animals and to educate the public in responsible animal ownership.

Main activities of the organisation:  Providing five services to help animals and their owners: Rehoming; Veterinary; Behavior services; Education; Pet bereavement 

Project summary:
Project: There are potentially three pieces of work to develop our understanding of how best to target our services and how to configure and demonstrate the need for them so we can strategically plan our growth, including developing our knowledge around the impact of the use of volunteers.
(1)     Location analysis using different types of data to work out where to target our services.
(2)     Demand modeling for our rehoming services
(3)     An impact assessment of volunteers on the Blue Cross’s work

Time commitment:
(1)     Location analysis - Estimated 3-5 days
(2)     Demand modeling  - Estimated 5+ days
(3)     Impact of volunteers - Estimated 7+ days

LocationOxfordshire (Blue Cross are open to different ways of working e.g. remote working where possible and this can be discussed with the volunteer(s).
Note: This is an assignment that can accommodate a team approach to all or each aspect of the request.

Please read the project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Thursday 5th November 2015.

Each aspect of this project is suitable for an individual volunteer, pair or team of analysts.  If you would like to work on a project with the support of a mentor please do specify in your application and I can try to arrange this.  Lastly, if you are interested in working on a project but cannot meet the deadline specified please do register your interest in the first instance before the deadline.

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch: or 0121 233 9300

I look forward to hearing from you and once again thank you for your help and support.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Where are the O.R. professionals hiding?

As those who work in the O.R. field know, if you are talking to someone outside the field it is quite likely that they will look at you with a blank face when you mention the words 'Operational Research.'

Having been employed at The OR Society for over two years I have got used to this and have a pre prepared spiel that comes out every time someone asks where I work or what I do.

In days gone by many organisations would have had a dedicated O.R. team but now those analysts tend to be spread across an organisation and have a wide variety of job titles.  When I have spoken at a number of events I have found that a number of professionals, once I've explained what O.R. is, have actually realised that although they wouldn't have previously classed themselves as an O.R. professional, what they actually do would fall under the banner of Operational Research.

I know there are many O.R. professionals out there, my question is 'Where are they?'
I'd be really interested to hear your views on this and what organisations employ Operations Researchers (or professionals who carry out O.R. related tasks under a different job title).

The OR Society wants to increase the awareness of O.R.  Lets get O.R. talked about and find out where all the O.R. professionals are hiding!

Please comment on this blog or contact me via:
Pro Bono O.R. webpage 
The OR Society webpage

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Impact measurement news (workshop, blog and tweet chat)

Impact measurement

Impact measurement is a big talking point at the moment.  I've come across a workshop and a blog that may be of interest to you.  Additionally Pro Bono O.R. will be taking part in a tweet chat on this topic.

Workshop: Methods for Change are holding a workshop on Monday 9th November from 1:45pm -4:45pm which will focus on how to use questionnaires for impact evaluation.  The details can be found here.

Blog: The National Institute of Economic and Social Research published a blog: 'Evaluating impact in the social sector: a practical perspective' which may be of interest.

Pro Bono O.R. have also been invited to participate in Charity Hour on Wednesday 21st October from 8-9pm.  The topic of the tweet chat will be 'Impact Measurement.' The tweet chat is hosted by @CharityHourUK and you can join the tweet chat by using the hashtag #charityhour.  All input would be appreciated from both Pro Bono O.R. volunteers and charity leaders who have experience in this area.

The latest Pro Bono O.R. newsletter will be out shortly.  It's been an incredibly busy and successful year for Pro Bono O.R. so I look forward to sharing the news with you.

If you would like to receive Pro Bono support or sign up as a Pro Bono O.R. volunteer please visit the website.

Thank you for all your support of the scheme.

Felicity McLeister
Pro Bono O.R. Project Manager 


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Motivations and Barriers to volunteering

Great article published by NCVO/ UK Civil Society Almanac on 'Motivations and Barriers to volunteering' 

The data they collected was really interesting, including frequently reasons given for volunteering. Whilst many might think a big motivator is increasing skills and helping career progression (which it certainly does and is a very valid reason), the top reasons given were 'to improve things/help people' (59%) and the cause was important to me (40%).  The biggest factor (48%) that stopped people volunteering was a change of circumstances and the biggest barrier to volunteering was work commitments (59%).

An increasing number of organisations are supportive of skills-based volunteering and my hope is with their employers support that will drive down that 59% to a much smaller number in the future.

NEW Pro Bono OR Project: ChaplaincyPlus

ChaplaincyPlus Project Analysis of Communications Data for Continuous Improvement Project : Undertake da...