Information for Volunteers

Pro Bono OR volunteers get a chance to use their skills to make a real difference  to causes they care about, and to practice their skills in a wider arena. The scheme allows you to improve your knowledge of the third sector whilst cultivating your own skills.

The role of the volunteer

The role of the volunteer is to help charitable organisations benefit from OR in tackling their challenges or improving their outcomes. You can work as an individual or as part of a team to complete a project. Each project is drafted by the Pro Bono steering group committee, after which you must work with the organisation to specify the aims, activities, outcomes and success measures.

There are four main stages to being a Pro Bono OR Volunteer:  

  • Work with potential users to specify projects
  • Undertake projects, either individually or in teams
  • Write up and/or present work, wherever appropriate
  • Mentor junior volunteers who need help (optional)

Requirements to become a volunteer

You must be at least one of the following:

  • Member of The OR Society
  • Studying in HE and with tutor endorsement for the project
  • Minimum 1st degree in OR-related subject 
  • Practitioner with a track record 
  • Accredited by The OR Society
  • Part of the OR Community

The Project Process

Find out what the timeline of a Pro Bono OR project looks like. 

Pro Bono Project Management

Find out more about how to manage Pro Bono OR projects, including some of our pointers for project success. 

Information about the Charity Sector

First time working with a charity? Find out more information about the UK's Charity Sector. 

Sign up

To sign up to our mailing list to receive news about upcoming projects please complete this short volunteer details form. For further information about the scheme please use the contact form below.

Signing up as a volunteer does not require any commitment; volunteers are added to the volunteers’ database and then receive emails as and when projects become available. 

Please review the materials on our Volunteering Resources page for more information. 

Quotes from previous Pro Bono volunteers

Paul Randall:

"It's win-win. Both you and a good cause benefit"


Sue Merchant:

"It’s a chance to make a difference, practise getting to the heart of a problem quickly, meet some very dedicated people and use techniques which you might not in your every day job"


Sam MacKay:

"Being a volunteer was a great way to make a real difference for an organisation with people that were clearly passionate about what they do. At the same time I’ve added some interesting people to my network and expanded the breadth of projects I’ve undertaken on my CV"


Ian Seath:

"Working as a pro bono volunteer is a great way to contribute some professional expertise to some truly worthwhile causes. The Third Sector is full of people who feel passionately about their mission, so working with them is invariably a positive learning experience"


Jane Parkin:

"I’ve really enjoyed working with third sector organisations and found the staff extremely positive about the contribution we make"


Huw Evans:

"Working on pro bono assignments has provided opportunities to work with a variety of organisations, some of who have never worked with a consultant because they felt it wasn’t an option open to them because of expense.  The variety of organisations has provided wider experience of the Third Sector and enabled me to develop approaches that were capacity building for the organisations (opening up their minds to new ideas, approaches, insights and possibilities) as well as enriching my experience with opportunities to enhance my CV.

"The pro bono approach can be attractive to retired OR practitioners in that it allows you to pick and choose assignments and continue to apply your experience and skills usefully in society.  I’d recommend pro bono opportunities as a way of developing practice, raising the profile of OR, enhancing your CV, having fun meeting people in different organisations working with limited resources to do good things"

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