Thursday, 30 July 2015

How volunteering will lift your firms performance

There is increasing evidence to suggest how good skilled volunteering can be for the volunteer and the recipient organisation.

Additionally our feedback has shown a big benefit to organisations that send volunteers to carry out skilled volunteering as part of their CSR initiative.  The best example to date is a team of skilled volunteers who carried out a project with RSPCA.  The team were from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (part of GORS - The Government Operations Research Service).  You can read about their experience here

The article below from Cranfield Trust explains further how volunteering can lift you firms performance:

http://cranfieldtrust.org/article/2015/jun/24/how-volunteering-will-lift-your-firms-performance

If you work for an organisation that has operational researchers/analytical staff then you could benefit from signing up to Pro Bono O.R.

For other more general skilled volunteering opportunities please visit:
Career Volunteer
Cranfield Trust
Reach Skills

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Measuring Impact: recommended resources #ORblog



O.R. in the Third sector
Measuring impact: sources of information

  1. There is an enormous amount of material available on this topic. If your project requires impact measurement, outcomes measurement or evaluation, you should first review as much of the material below as you have time for – the charity may well be aware of it, even if you aren’t. CES and NPC, in particular, are well known in the charity world and are partially responsible for the recent increased importance attached to impact measurement and evaluation.

Outcomes, impact, evaluation

  1. Some organisations use these terms interchangeably, some don’t – there is not much consistency. A useful guide to the terminology is produced by the Big Lottery Fund; worth reading if only because you may have been asked to undertake the analysis to support an application for funding to Big Lottery or to another funder that takes a similar approach. www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/er_impact_measurement.pdf
  2. Optional extra reading, or for reference if you feel the need: http://www.jargonbusters.org.uk/

Charities Evaluation Services http://www.ces-vol.org.uk/tools-and-resources

  1. CES have useful material on planning for monitoring and evaluation, and outcomes and outcome indicators
  2. They discuss purpose of evaluating impact:
5.1  reflect on and develop work
5.2  report to funders
5.3  identify gaps in services
5.4  bid for new work
and have a nice template (used by a Pro Bono O.R. volunteer carrying out a project for Elfrida   Rathbone Camden) demonstrating impact and effectiveness.

Outcome
Outcome indicators
Data collection
When and who by
How this will be used






Impact measurement and ‘theory of change’

  1. The charity/think-tank New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) has been instrumental in promulgating the importance of impact measurement.  Its methodology, based on the idea of a ‘theory of change’ (a mapping of actions to outputs and outcomes which should be a familiar way of looking at the world to an O.R. professional), is now widely accepted. It is described in: http://www.thinknpc.org/publications/npcs-four-pillar-approach/
  2. For more tools:  http://www.thinknpc.org/blog/7-practical-outcomes-tools/
  3. To read about different approaches in practice: http://socialvalueint.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/SIAA-Challenge-Report_2014.pdf

Social return on investment (SROI)

  1. SROI is a principles-based method for measuring extra-financial value (i.e., environmental and social value not currently reflected in conventional financial accounts) relative to resources invested. It can be used by any entity to evaluate impact on stakeholders, identify ways to improve performance, and enhance the performance of investments.  Useful introductions are:


  1. The Green Book is a guide to best practice appraisal (before investment) and evaluation (post-implementation) of public sector initiatives, which applies equally well to any initiative where there is no market value of the outcome.
  2. It covers:
11.1   Valuing costs and benefits where there is no market value (value, utility, welfare, well-being)
11.2   Weighting and scoring
11.3   Critical success factors (met or not)
11.4   Discounting
11.5   Risk management
11.6   Valuing risks (uses ‘expected value’)
11.7   Performance management and measurement (tracking the success of a policy, programme or     
          project in achieving its objectives and in securing the expected benefits)
11.8   Benefits categories:
11.9   Financial quantitative
11.10  Non-financial quantitative
11.11  Non-financial qualitative
11.12  Outcomes qualitative and quantitative
11.13  Objectives and outcomes; outputs and targets.
11.14  Social Cost Benefit Analysis which seeks to assess the net value of a policy or project to
           society as a whole
11.15  Utility: the satisfaction a person gets from consumption of a good, or to a change in their  welfare or well-being

Specific types of charity

  1. If your charity works with offenders or their families, you should be aware of Clinks: http://www.clinks.org/support-evaluation-and-effectiveness/demonstrating-outcomes
  2. If your charity works with young people, you should be aware of Project Oracle: www.project-oracle.com  and http://inspiringimpact.org/listing/project-oracle/
  3. If your charity is involved in overseas aid or development, you should be aware of the Logframe approach (“Logical framework”, which you can find out more about via google): http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/PW77.pdf  and https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/253889/using-revised-logical-framework-external.pdf

Pro Bono Economics  http://www.probonoeconomics.com/

Pro Bono Economics matches volunteer economists with charities to address questions around measurement, results, impact and value. Volunteers produce a full, peer-reviewed report on each project, and all reports are published on the website, constituting a valuable resource.


Friday, 24 July 2015

Skilled O.R. volunteer required for project with Big Issue #ORblog

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

Pro Bono O.R. is a scheme run by The OR Society that offers free support to third sector organisations in the UK. 

We are currently recruiting a volunteer to work with Big Issue.  Please find details of the new project below.

Big Issue

Information about the organisation:
Main activities of the organisation: Enabling Big Issue vendors to access a wide range of ‘support’ agencies that will help them journey away from homelessness.

Charitable objectives: The relief of poverty with particular reference to the needs of homeless persons.

Other relevant information: Big Issue are seeking to gain further insights into the data that we hold on our supporters which, in turn, we hope leads to further growth again regular committed income (monthly direct debits) and seasonal appeals. The CRM database that we use is ‘Raiser’s Edge’

Project summary:
Project: Gaining insight from a CRM database: To analyse supporter data held on a Raiser’s Edge CRM database to gain insights that will help identify and target opportunities to grow income.
Time commitment: approx. 2 ½ days on site
LocationLondon (SW8 2LN)

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 Monday 17th August 2015.
This project is suitable for an individual volunteer or pair 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.

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

Kind regards
Felicity McLeister
O.R. Pro Bono Project Manager
(Mon, Tue & Wed)
Direct Tel +44 (0)121 234 7826, Main Tel +44 (0)121 233 9300

If you are not already a member of The OR Society and are interested in joining please visit https://www.theorsociety.com/ or send an email to carol.smith@theorsociety.com

Additionally you may be interested in becoming a member of our Third Sector Special Interest Group (ORiTS). For more details visit:  https://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/SpecialInterest/ORThirdSector.aspx

Other webpages that may be of interest:

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Episode 2 of #ORiginals #thisisOR #ORblog

I think this initiative to bring 'outstanding research into everyday language' is a fantastic idea and worth a plug on my blog.

The second instalment of #ORiginals looks at research using mathematics to analyse obesity.

To view the episode and see previous episodes please visit: ORiginals

Monday, 13 July 2015

ORiginals: a YouTube channel about outstanding research in everyday language #ORblog #thisisOR

Check out this blog by Laura McLay which announces the launch of the YouTube channel ORiginals.

The first episode has Laura McLay talking about her research on ambulance routing.

New episodes will be released on the 1st and 15th of each month.

Check it out on YouTube here 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Euro 2015 #ORblog

With the start of Euro 2015 only a few days away have you booked your place? http://www.euro2015.org/

With over 2000 practitioners and academics attending from all over Europe it promises to be a fantastic event.

EURO2015 is the premier European conference for Operational Research and Management Science (ORMS), organised by the European Association of Operational Research Societies in conjunction with the UK OR Society.

EURO2015 takes place from Sunday 12 - Wednesday 15 July 2015 in the University of Strathclyde and will host streams from all branches of ORMS. EURO2015 is for Consultants, Analysts and Decision Makers – in fact, anyone with a passion for making the ‘real-world’ more effective.


I will be attending the whole event and running a workshop on Wednesday morning at 9am: 'The best thing the OR Society has done in years'.  Come long to find out about Pro Bono O.R., the benefits to volunteering, the stumbling blocks and contribute ideas on how the scheme can improve.

If you will be there I would love to connect.  Please tweet me using @FMcLeister

For further information on Pro Bono O.R. and projects we have completed so far please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx



Monday, 6 July 2015

Pro Bono O.R. is recruiting a skilled volunteer for a project with Hackney CVS looking at strategic planning #ORblog

Pro Bono O.R. is looking for a skilled volunteer to assist hackney CVS to plan its strategy for 2106 and beyond.

Please find details of a new project below.  

Hackney CVS (Hackney Council for Voluntary Service)

Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:  We are the umbrella / infrastructure body for the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in Hackney. As a responsive charity Hackney CVS believes that the voluntary and community sector plays a critical role in tackling poverty and disadvantage by working with key stakeholders to address local inequalities.
We strive to challenge oppression and prejudice, to promote diversity and to work towards a society where full equality for all is a reality.
Project summary:
Project: To develop a new strategic plan for 2016 onwards in the face of a challenging external environment.
Time commitment: 4 days
LocationDalston, Hackney, London E8 2LY (3 days in office, one from home)

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 Monday 20th July 2015.

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 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.

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

Kind regards

Felicity McLeister
O.R. Pro Bono Project Manager
(Mon, Tue & Wed)
Direct Tel +44 (0)121 234 7826, Main Tel +44 (0)121 233 9300

If you are not already a member of The OR Society and are interested in joining please visit https://www.theorsociety.com/ or send an email to carol.smith@theorsociety.com

Additionally you may be interested in becoming a member of our Third Sector Special Interest Group (ORiTS). For more details visit:  https://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/SpecialInterest/ORThirdSector.aspx

Other webpages that may be of interest:

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Pro Bono O.R. Summer newsletter #ORblog


The OR Society: Pro Bono O.R. (Summer newsletter - Issue 3)

 Twitter        LinkedIn       Webpage        Email

Promoting Pro Bono O.R.
IFOS (International Federation of Operational Research Societies) has been promoting Pro Bono O.R.
in its quarterly newsletters.

In March it published a case study carried out with Crimestoppers: ‘Pro Bono O.R. delivers quick response to call centre problem’ which can be found on page 12 http://ifors.org/newsletter/ifors-march2015.pdf

In the latest edition it published a case study with HARCVS: ‘Pro Bono O.R. addressing loneliness in rural North Yorkshire' which can be found on page 11 http://ifors.org/web/june-2015-newsletter/

Career Volunteer’s sister company Charity People helped to increase the profile of Pro Bono O.R. by publishing a blog explaining how Pro Bono O.R. can help third sector organisations in the UK. 

 
Pro Bono O.R. offers free consultancy services to third sector organisations across the UK. The OR Society wants more organisations to benefit from operational research and recognises that third sector organisations have an even greater need to be more efficient. Organisations may seek a wide range of operational improvements:
  • Strategic planning/review
  • Impact measurement
  • Process improvement
  • Data analysis
  • Business planning
  • Efficiency improvement
  • Options appraisal
  • Decision making

Whatever the aim, O.R. can offer the flexibility and adaptability to provide objective help.
Visit: 
Pro Bono O.R.  for more information or send an email to Felicity McLeister to request Pro Bono O.R. support.

Volunteer Experience
Are you considering skilled volunteering? Wonder what it might be like? This guest blog from Sarah Culkin tells you about her experience of Pro Bono O.R. with Harrogate and Rippon CVS.
http://probonoor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/addressing-loneliness-in-rural-north.html
                                    

The findings will help inform forward planning for this service and also help to support funding bids’ CEO

 Have you got a story to tell?  If so I’d love to hear from you and would happily publish the article as a guest blog and promote via my social media channels.


With the initiative growing we are always on the lookout for new volunteers.  If you know of any individuals or organisations that would like to get involved with skilled volunteering please ask them to contact Felicity McLeister or complete the online volunteer details form.

Third sector SIG
The OR Society has a Third Sector special interest group that puts on events three to four times a year.  This year the Spring Seminar looked at ‘Services to Young People’ that included talks from four Pro Bono O.R. volunteers who had carried out projects with Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Childhood trust, Elfrida Rathbone and AYME.  The latest event hosted a talk by Tom Cherrett - O.R. & Oxfam: optimising donation bank collections using remote monitoring sensors.  Both writes ups and video (OR & Oxfam) can be found here

Skilled volunteering really makes a difference
Thank you for the feedback from Noise Solution.  It’s always great to get such positive feedback about the work our volunteers are doing: 
'The commitment shown to the idea of the project was excellent. The volunteer did a really good job of understanding what was required. He produced some excellent work, which looked visually great and has been instrumental in me being able to demonstrate clearly the impacts that we are achieving with Noise Solution.'

Project updates
Since the start of the year we have completed 9 projects including Noise Solution, Parentskool and CALM (keep an eye on the webpage for the case study slides).  We have had 26 new enquires and have started 12 new projects which includes The Care Forum, Extra Care and St Michael’s Fellowship.

Thank you for all your support.

Felicity McLeister

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Pro Bono O.R.'s experience with #charityhour #ORblog

Charity Hour write up
On Wednesday 15th April #ProBonoOR was invited to participate in #charityhour which takes place every Wednesday from 8-9pm.

Over the course of the hour the #charityhour coordinator, Tahera Mayat, posed these 5 questions to the audience:
  • What role does Pro bono consultancy have to play in the Third Sector?
  • What's your experience of using pro bono consultancy?
  • What tips do you have for others considering using pro bono consultancy?
  • What type of projects benefit most from pro bono consultancy?
  • Big data is a big thing! What tips do you have for getting insights from your data?


There was great discussion and I must say I was following notifications on my phone and computer to keep up with all of the conversations happening.  It was very fast paced but very rewarding and a fantastic experience that I would love to be involved in again.  #charityhour is a great way to get charities talking about things that are important to them and a great place to make new connections.

These are a selection of tweets I sent out during the hour:
  • The purpose of O.R. is to enable managers to make more effective decisions #charityhour
  • #ProBonoOR can address a wide range of operational improvements #charityhour
  • O.R. can address many issues inc: Strategic planning/review, Impact measurement, Process improvement, Data analysis #charityhour
  • O.R. can address many issues inc: Business planning, Efficiency improvement, Options appraisal, Decision making #charityhour
  • 3rd sec orgs have even greater need to improve efficiency & effectiveness #ProBonoOR can address this #chariythour
  • Vol feedback: Being a #ProBonoOR vol is a great way to contribute some professional expertise to some truly worthwhile causes #charityhour
  •  For more information on #ProBonoOR please visit http://ow.ly/LE90S  #charityhour
  •  To see how #ProBonoOR could help your charity, check out all the projects we have completed so far http://ow.ly/KMJFM
  • Org feedback: from an org perspective it's enabled us to take a highly professional approach to increasing our efficiency #charityhour


To get involved in #charityhour just attach the hashtag #charityhour to your tweets and then follow the discussion by searching for the hashtag in the search bar on your twitter account.  This will then display all the tweets containing the hashtag.

#charityhour takes place each Wednesday from 8-9pm and has a different topic each time.  Follow them at @CharityHourUK to learn more.

For more information on Pro Bono O.R. please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx