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Pro Bono O.R. video: 'Charities - get more from your data'

Monday, 25 Apr 2016 (revised date: Monday, 25 Apr 2016)
Rob Chidley

Operational Research (O.R.) is the science of better decision making and The Operational Research Society runs its Pro Bono O.R. scheme to match up analysts with charities and other third sector organisations to improve their operations - for free!

By Felicity McLeister

On a bright sunny morning in February a group of people gathered together in a function room at Southwark Cathedral to make a film to promote Pro Bono O.R.

Making such a film had been something I’d wanted to do for a little while and this was made possible by the arrival of a full-time marketing and communication manager at The OR Society.

Volunteers and third sector organisations who had taken part in the scheme would be invited to come and talk about their experiences of the scheme in an informal, script-free day full of cake, coffee and filming. 

A venue was selected, a date picked and the requests sent out and I was overwhelmed with the positive responses, given the relatively short notice. The day started bright an early, setting up the room and equipment at 8am for our first interviewee from Diabetes UK to begin at 9am.  Throughout the day we had 12 interviewees: six representatives from The Childhood Trust, Marie Curie, Dachshund Breed Council, Disability Law Service and Bloodwise; and six volunteers who were able to attend, many of who had worked with the charities that were represented.
Representatives of organisations who received Pro Bono O.R. support talked about impact of the project, and the effect of the volunteer who worked on it. Volunteers talked about what it is like to work for a different kind of organisation, how they used their skills on the projects they worked on and the benefits to volunteering.

For me personally this was a great opportunity to meet with many of the organisations and volunteers whom I normally only have email and phone contact with.  It was fantastic to hear first-hand about the projects and the enthusiasm and positivity that all who involved got out of being involved with the scheme.

There was so much footage one film has now turned into two.  One is aimed at encouraging more organisations to take up the offer of Pro Bono O.R. and the other is to encourage more O.R. analysts to sign up as volunteers.

Find out more at about the scheme here or tweet to Felicity McLeister at ‏@FMcLeister to get the conversation started.


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