New analytical pro bono support for charities launches

Felicity McLeister

Felicity introduces the discipline of Operational Research

Operational research (OR) is the discipline of applying appropriate analytical methods to help make better decisions.

I have recently taken up the role as OR Pro Bono Project Manager at The OR Society.  Having worked in the third sector for six years and having never heard the term OR, I can really see the need to raise OR’s profile in the sector.

The idea of providing pro bono OR support to the third sector has been discussed among ORS members for a number of years; a pilot scheme run by volunteers has been successfully running since 2011. Please click here for case studies.

How can OR help you?

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 the organisations we’ve worked with have faced:

  • ‘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?’

Without the tools to model different scenarios and understand the consequences of them, it isn’t surprising that many organisations tend to rely on gut feelings.

An OR practitioner comes armed with an array of analytical tools plus the skills and experience to identify the critical factors and issues, explore the different options and explain the impact of them in real terms.

It won’t make the decisions for you, but it provides some of the head to your organisation’s heart and, when you combine the two, you are more likely to act in the interests of your organisation and its beneficiaries.

We have already helped several third sector organisations and are keen to work with many more.

If you work for a third sector organisation, would like to discuss pro bono support or need more information, please email me on felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com quoting ‘OR in the third Sector’.

Felicity  McLeister blogs in behalf of the Operational Research (OR) Society

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November 6th, 2013 by