Pro Bono OR for the Third Sector


Our community of skilled OR volunteers help with the challenge of making the greatest impact with scarce resources.

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We use Operational Research techniques to help third-sector organisations identify their critical issues, explore different options, and explain their impact.

The Pro Bono OR scheme gives charity executives the power to make more effective decisions and build more impactful organisations.

Is my organisation eligible?

We work with all types of UK-based third sector organisations, from large national organisations to small community groups and social enterprises.

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What is Pro Bono OR?

Pro Bono OR enables third sector organisations to benefit from Operational Research (OR) and reach their full potential. As organisations face increasing pressure to reduce costs whilst improving efficiency and effectiveness, OR can play a key part in helping them survive and thrive.

OR is a broad discipline which uses rigorous analytical methods to help to increase efficiency and reduce costs, to plan strategy or to assess impact. Pro Bono OR introduces third sector managers to OR experts from industry and academia, who volunteer their time to help; whether the need is for more effective decisions, better strategy, slicker systems, measuring performance or indeed anything that will improve effectiveness, insight and foresight.

Find out how we helped other charities by browsing our previous projects.

Case Studies

How can OR help your organisation?

OR is about finding ways to apply analytical methods to make better decisions. Third Sector organisations face extremely complex decisions about the direction they should take and how to allocate scarce resources. 

These are some of the issues that Operational Research can address:

  • Strategic planning/review
  • Data analysis and insight
  • Options appraisal
  • Decision-making
  • Process improvement
  • Impact measurement

Pro Bono OR provides a skilled OR analyst who comes armed with an array of analytical tools to help identify the critical factors and issues, explore the different options and explain the impact of them in real terms.

By using techniques such as problem structuring methods (sometimes known as 'Soft OR.') and mathematical modelling to analyse complex situations, OR gives third sector organisations the power to make more effective decisions and build more productive systems based on:

  • More complete data
  • Consideration of all available options
  • Better understanding of potential outcomes
  • The latest decision tools and techniques

Whatever the aim, OR can offer the flexibility and adaptability to provide objective help.

About Pro Bono OR

If you are considering using Pro Bono OR to gain valuable expertise and help, there is a simple four-step process to follow. 

4 step process

Contact Us 

Either by emailing [email protected] or using the form on this page. We will have an initial conversation with you to find out what support you would like and to answer any questions you may have.  

Explore your needs 

Pro Bono OR will connect you with a volunteer who will talk through your situation in detail and help to flesh out your requirements, and the skills our volunteers will need to be able to help.  


We will turn to our pool of 1,200 volunteers, calling for individuals with the time and skills to address your problem and the enthusiasm and motivation. We’ll put you in touch with respondents so that you can both can see if you think it will be a good fit.

Project start 

If you and the volunteer(s) agree, we'll be in touch to get the ball rolling and help you achieve your goals with the help of our Pro Bono OR volunteers.

The Pro Bono OR Promise

We will:

  • help any enquiring organisation to work out what sort of support they need
  • introduce any qualifying organisation to OR analysts who would like to help
  • oversee the project with a light touch: checking that it has an agreed scope and deliverables, that it is progressing as planned and being on hand to help with problems
  • support the ending of the project and request feedback to evaluate our offering
  • publicise the project if suitable, and by agreement
  • follow our Pro Bono Process and adhere to The OR Society’s Statement of Ethical Principles

Get in touch

Contact Pro Bono OR




Start exploring how OR can help.

Resources on how OR can support you