Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Pro Bono O.R.: Getting the most from the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre Shop #newproject

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

Pro Bono O.R. is a scheme 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 a new project below that we are seeking a volunteer(s) for:

Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust

Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives: Preserve and maintain the Clifton Suspension Bridge for the future
Main activities of the organisation:  The Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust preserves and maintains the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, for the future. We have a small Visitor Centre staffed by volunteers which attracts 65,000+ visitors a year and we run educational tours and develop informal learning opportunities for people of all ages.

Project summary:
Project: Revenue from the charity’s shop is crucial. This project requires analysis of Electronic Point of Sale data to help plan stocking and sales strategy.
Time commitment:
A minimum of 4 days to undertake initial analysis and identify some headline messages from the basic EPOS data. A longer commitment – up to 10 person days - will enable more exploration of how this data, together with visitor data and business data, can be used to improve the sales strategy to increase income. The project may suit a pair or team of analysts, who will be able to collectively apply more person-days.
LocationBristol (BS8 3PA) On-site to understand the business and collect EPOS data; otherwise working 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 Friday 15th January 2016.

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: felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or 0121 233 9300


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

For further information about the scheme please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx

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Monday, 14 December 2015

Measuring the impact of supported projects #ORblog

Pro Bono O.R. has recently completed a project with The Childhood Trust.  Two volunteers spent several months working with the Trust to collate data that they'd never had the resource to uncover. 
The case study slide below gives an overview of the project:
When asked about the difference this project would make the The Childhood Trust said:
  • It will help guide our board on grant making priorities.
  • It has helped us engage further with our charity partners.
  • It is informing our theory of change.
  • It is driving our case for support with major donors and Foundations.
The CEO said:
'We were helped enormously this year by volunteers sourced via  Pro Bono O.R.  – they helped get us started on impact measurement and volunteers also analysed the data collected for us.  If you would like to consider using them for any part of your charity operational reviews, then I can recommend them.'
For more information about the scheme, to sign up as a volunteer, register your interest to receive Pro Bono O.R. support and to see the projects we have worked on so far please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Pro Bono O.R. success story #ORblog

Since starting out as a small pilot project in 2011, Pro Bono O.R. has come a long way. The OR Society launched the scheme officially in September 2013 by employing a paid co-ordinator to oversee and run the scheme (that's me!). It's been such a great adventure to be part of and the stats below are just a snap shot of how successful it has been so far



To see the projects we've worked on, to understand more about the scheme and request support, or to volunteers your skills, please visit Pro Bono O.R.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

New project: Business planning for Hands Inc.

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:

Hands Inc.
Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:
·         To provide health, well-being, creative arts and complementary therapy services to socially and economically deprived individuals and groups within society, with the aim of improving their health and quality of life.
·         To reduce social inequalities by making health, well-being, creative arts and complementary therapies more accessible and affordable to socially and economically deprived individuals and groups within society.
·         To raise awareness and encourage debate about the intrinsic benefits of a holistic approach to health, and to advance education and research in this field.
·         To provide health, well-being, creative arts and complementary therapy services to individuals, groups and organisations that inspire and promote health and well-being.

Main activities of the organisation:  to inspire health and wellbeing.

Project summary:
Project: Business planning: As a result of public service funding cuts the organisation finds itself needing to review and develop plans for moving forward. We are seeking support to develop our strategy and business plans.
Time commitment: 3-7 days (dependent on methodology)
Location:  London (N16 7NX)

Note: This project is suitable for an individual or pair of analysts.
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 Tuesday 15th December 2015.

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: felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or 0121 233 9300

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

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Using scientific approaches to improve an organisation’s effectiveness

“Using scientific approaches to improve an organisation’s effectiveness”
- Pro Bono O.R. (Operational Research)


What is Pro Bono O.R.?


Pro Bono O.R. is a scheme that was launched by The OR Society in 2013 that places volunteer analysts in short term projects with third sector organisations across the UK to assist them in making operational improvements.


Operational Research uses a scientific approach to improve an organisations effectiveness. Areas include: strategy, systems, processes, operations and decision-making.

Benefits of free professional support

Third Sector organisations face extremely complex decisions about the direction they should take and how to allocate scarce resources. These are some of the common issues that organisations we’ve spoken with face:

· ‘We have lots of different options for the future but it’s impossible to decide which to choose in such uncertain times.’

· ‘We’re under huge pressure to do more with less, and we don’t know how we’re going to do it.’

· ‘It’s hard to stay objective when we’re faced with such emotionally charged decisions.’

· ‘We know we’re doing a good job – but how can we prove it?’


Time is always a pressure, especially in the third sector and we are often under pressure to ‘do more with less’. Collating and analysing data, planning strategy, improving processes and measuring impact are all areas that require time and in many cases specialist skills. Pro Bono O.R. can provide the time and the skills.


Don’t just trust us

“I would recommend to other charities looking for consultants to deliver operational projects that they reach out to Pro Bono O.R. in the first instance – securing first class consultants/volunteers who will deliver a project for free is something that no charity should overlook!”                      Head of Fundraising & Strategy
“Pro Bono O.R. developed a resource planning tool that can be used to generate new ideas and ways of working and create a budget plan for 2014/2015 academic year and beyond.”
Chief Executive 

"We are enormously grateful for being able to benefit from the advice and support of such a knowledgeable and experienced professional, who was able to raise challenging issues in a sensitive and helpful way"
Performance manager 

So far…

Since launching in September 2013, Pro Bono O.R. has completed over forty projects and is currently working with a further twenty organisations. We have over 350 volunteers across the UK and these range from retired professionals to analysts in their early career, consultants and others in the O.R./analytics profession who either volunteer in their own time, are given company time or a mixture of both. Ninety of those volunteers have already worked/are working on projects and many more are eager to get involved with helping support third sector organisations.


Here are some of the issues the projects we’ve already completed have addressed:


· Strategic planning/review

· Impact measurement

· Process improvement

· Data analysis

· Business planning

· Efficiency improvement

· Options appraisal

· Decision making

· scheduling


To see all the projects we’ve work on and read the case studies please visit: Case studies


What next?


For further information about O.R. and the ways in which is can help please read: O.R. and the Third Sector

For more information about the scheme, to see case studies and to request support, please visit the webpage.










Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Latest case study with bikeworks: reviewing management information arrangements


One of our volunteer analysts have just completed a project with bikeworks. The project has been summarised in this case study slide below.  

To see this and further case studies Pro Bono O.R. has completed please visit: Pro Bono O.R.





To find out more and to see how to get involved, please visit: Pro Bono O.R.

You can contact me via Email,Twitter or LinkedIn

Thursday, 12 November 2015

NewChoice for Youth: project requiring volunteers

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:

New Choices for Youth

Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives: To provide and support facilities for education, training and social rehabilitation for young people who are at risk and or vulnerable, and so develop the physical, mental and spiritual capacities of such persons to that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society.  

Main activities of the organisation: 
·         Accredited Training
·         Supported Housing
·         Mental Well-Being
·         Youth Activities and Youth Development

Project summary:
Project: Legacy /Impact: NCY has over 30 years’ experience of working with and supporting young people.  We would like to complete a study of those who have experienced our services over the years to see where they are now and what impact our services had on their journey/decisions/achievements.
Time commitment:
6-10 days over 5 months
Location:  25 Claughton Road, London E13 9PN (Mix of onsite and remote working required)

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 26th November 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 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: felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or 0121 233 9300


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

Monday, 9 November 2015

Diabetes UK: Supporter care and process improvement #ProBonoOR


A team of volunteers from Thales recently finish a project with Diabetes UK. The project has been summarised in this case study slide below.  To see this and further case studies Pro Bono O.R. has completed please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/casestudies.aspx




To find out more and to see how to get involved, please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Great feedback from Diabetes UK


A team of volunteers has recently finish a project with Diabetes UK (case study slide to follow shortly).

This is what Diabetes UK had to say at the end of the project:

'I would recommend to other charities looking for consultants to deliver operational projects that they reach out to O.R. in the first instance – securing first class consultants/volunteers who will deliver a project for free is something that no charity should overlook!'

Here's what the had to say about the volunteers:

'The team were able to pull out the key issues that were causing delays/duplication within our processes and systems and make a wide range of recommendations for us to deliver on. They were really easy to communicate with and took on board feedback from us at various stages and were dedicated to helping us achieve our goals.'

This is what they said about the difference it would make:

'We now have a raft of recommendations to deliver that will help us reduce inefficiencies in our processes. It has also highlighted areas for us to spend more time evaluating and we will now take them forward. Ultimately, this work will help us provide a better standard of supporter care to all donors across the charity.'

All the Pro Bono O.R. volunteers are doing a great job and making a significant difference.

To find out more and to see how to get involved, please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx

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. https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=8422271&trk=my_groups-tile-grp 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: felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com 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:
Email
Twitter
LinkedIn
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.

Monday, 28 September 2015

New projects requiring volunteers

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 two new projects below that we are seeking a skilled volunteer for:

Bullion Community Resource Centre
Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives: to initiate and support action to change lives, strengthen communities and challenge inequalities across Chester-le-Street and the wider surrounding area.
Main activities of the organisation:  Bullion Hall is a community centre which hosts activities e.g. parent and toddler groups for approx. 800 people per weeks as well as providing office space to a number of local charities. Planning permission has been granted to extend the building (cost £600k) and they are currently exploring how this can be taken forward. In November they take on a community café operating in Bullion Hall since 2005 from Durham County Council.

Project summary:
Project: Community Café Business Case: To help review and analyse the business case for expansion and operation of the “Wait er while” community café.
Time commitment: approx. 3-4 days
LocationCounty Durham, DH2 2DW (Initial meeting on site, followed by desk-based analysis/research. Meeting to present findings/recommendations on site).
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 12th October 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 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.

Walsingham Support
Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives: provision of housing, care and support services, primarily for those who have learning disabilities, but also for those with other forms of disability (including physical, mental, sensory and degenerative disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and brain injuries) and including those with multiple disabilities.   
Main activities of the organisation:
Support at Home
o   Supported Living & Domiciliary Care – tailored to meet individual needs, from a few hours each week to 24 hours a day.
o   Registered Residential Care & Extra Care – often chosen by people who have complex or high support needs and which may include nursing care.
Support in the Community
o   Community Based Services – including a variety of educational activities as well as more socially focussed activities which help in the development of social skills.  These services also act as a springboard to access wider community services and opportunities – including employment, volunteering and leisure.Project summary:
Project: Personalisation Research: To research the application of personalisation in organisations (both government and the third sector) working with care provision and benchmark Walsingham Support.
Time commitment: approx. 5 days
LocationLondon, N20 9HR (After an initial meeting at the location, all further work may be undertaken remotely).
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 12th October 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 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 via email or phone (0121 2339300).