Showing posts from March, 2016

New to volunteering? Some top tips for successful outcomes (Guest blog from Ruth Kaufman)

Many thanks to Ruth Kaufman (President of The OR Society) for writing this guest blog.

New to volunteering? Some top tips for successful outcomes
“O.R.” is one of the most adaptable disciplines imaginable, and its practitioners are among the most flexible, prepared to bring scientific rigour and methods to any question even if it is outside their previous specialism. Given this adventurous approach, it is always a good idea to see if there are any tips from previous explorers.

For Pro Bono O.R., there are two types of novelty for many of us: working with charities, and working as volunteers. Neither of these are terribly difficult areas, but they both bring special issues which are worth noting. This post looks at working with charities for the first time, and a second will look at working as a volunteer.

In most ways, working as a consultant to a charity is no different from working as a consultant anywhere, and the same success factors apply. Here are five top tips for charity specia…

Encouraging employees to take part in Pro Bono O.R.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the BAE Systems offices in Farnborough and talking to the O.R. analysts at CORDA about Pro Bono O.R.

The CORDA senior management have been very supportive of the Pro Bono O.R. scheme and have actively encouraged their staff to get involved. 

The benefits of taking part are threefold:

The third sector organisation benefits from free support;The volunteer(s) who carry out the project gain many benefits (see below)The organisation who the volunteer works for benefits from their staff talking part.  There are a range of benefits including: higher staff retentionincreased staff morale and reduced sick leaveincreased work performancebuilding strong teams  training and developingreputation and credibility(Data taken from Business in the Community and NCVO)

That is why CORDA are supportive of employees carrying out the projects in company time as they see how valuable taking part in the scheme can be.

Having spoken to many of the volunteers here are just a …

New project: Organisational Strengths Review for Works for Us

Please find details of a new project below that we are seeking a volunteer(s) for:

Work for Us

Information about the organisation:

Charitable objectives: Provide information, advice, guidance, support and training to disadvantaged people to support them into employment

Main activities of the organisation:

One-to-one information, advice and guidance sessions, short courses, workshops, and support groups.

Support to be involved in local consultations that affect their lives and communities.

Support for those considering/in the early stages of self-employment.

Delivery of a weekly Job Club and ESOL classes and support.

Project summary:

Project: Organisational Strengths Review - Enable WfU trustees and staff to self-assess organisational strengths, as a basis for planning how to build capacity for sustainability.

Time commitment: approx. 3 days

Location: Central Milton Keynes (Mix of onsite and remote working required)

Please read the project scope and if you feel you are able to offer…

#ProBonoOR helps Age UK Dacorum secure £66.5k Big Lottery Bid

Back in September 2015 Pro Bono O.R. was contacted by Dave Pearce (CEO of Age UK Dacorum) to enquire if we could find a volunteer to act as an advisor for an application they were submitting to the Local Sustainability Fund. Age UK Dacorum required support to develop and implement (if the bid was successful) a business change plan aimed at improving its long term financial sustainability.

Dave initially registered with Pro Bono O.R. and was then put in touch with one of the Pro Bono O.R. scoping committee.  They discussed the requirements in more depth and outlined a scoping document that was then sent to the Pro Bono O.R. volunteers. There was a very tight deadline for the support Age UK Dacorum required and as such we knew it was going to be difficult to find a suitable volunteer. However to everyone's delight a suitable volunteer was found and Dave and Ken started work immediately.

Initially Ken worked with senior managers to:

(i) help [identify] select and firm up on one or tw…

Knowing your audience - completed #ProBonoOR project with Bloodwise

Bloodwise is the UK's specialist blood cancer charity. Bloodwise contacted Pro Bono O.R. to request support from an analyst who could help them to 'know their audience better'.

Bloodwise’s wealth of data presented an opportunity to improve their knowledge about their supporters; they were to keen to understand how many different groups of supporters they had and what makes these groups different from each other.
Details of the project can be seen in the case study slide below.

The volunteer commented about the project:  'It was a very fulfilling experience, it gave me a chance to meet a nice bunch of people and contribute to a great cause. Moreover it allow me to experiment with different modelling techniques and it was great to see that the analytics outputs were well received. One important aspect is that the analysis identifies some quick wins which should allow Bloodwise to optimise their fundraising efforts. Bloodwise will also be able to re-use much of the R code fo…

Join the Pro Bono O.R. LinkedIn Group

If you are interested in using your analytical stills to help third sector organisations across the UK please join the Pro Bono O.R. group.

This group is for current volunteers or those interested in finding out more about Pro Bono O.R.

It's purpose is to provide a space for updates, discussion, support, advice and to for members to post relevant information.

New Pro Bono O.R. projects with The Corpse Project and Wave Trust

Pro Bono O.R. – enabling managers to make more effective decisions
Pro Bono O.R. is a scheme operated by The OR Society that places professional analysts in 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 two new projects below that we are seeking a volunteer(s) for:
The Corpse Project Information about the organisation: Charitable objectives:  Promotion of and educational around better ways with the body after death, including research and public engagement.  Main activities of the organisation:Currently evidence gathering (qualitative and quantitative), communication and networking to identify allies. 
Project summary: Project: Processing and presenting data in an exciting multi-disciplinary exploratory project. Time commitment: Up to 4 days Location:  London.  Most of the …

Making a difference with Operational Research - An interactive workshop with Birkbeck Work Readiness Programme

Yesterday myself and two colleagues, Charlene Timewell and Ian Seath ran an interactive workshop for students from Birkbeck, University of London as part of their Work Readiness Programme
It was a really fun session with students required to take part in a 'bubble sort' exercise (which involved chocolate for the winners!) and a practical session solving a 4 month Pro Bono O.R. project with RSPCA in 40 minutes.  
The workshop also covered: An introduction to O.R. and The OR SocietyCareer pathways into O.R. and how to gain experience, including getting involved with the O.R. in Schools initiative.An introduction to the Pro Bono O.R. scheme including some example case studies.
We've had great feedback from the session and look forward to working with Birkbeck again in the future.
You can view the workshop slides here

For further information please contact me: Twitter LinkedIn