Pro Bono Week 2015
October 26th, 2015 by Andrew Phillips

Pro Bono Week is a global celebration that takes place during the last week of October and celebrates the pro bono ethic across all professions that use their talents to make a positive difference in local communities around the world.

As the leading skilled volunteering charity, Reach has a proven track record in encouraging and assisting the employees of major companies to use their highly sought after professional, management and business expertise in support of charitable causes across the UK.

Companies are keen to attract, retain and develop their best people. To do so they must provide a range of solutions to a wide variety of different employees. Staff benefit packages need to incorporate a rounded offering that appeals to workforces and which include clear and relevant community involvement opportunities.

A growing number of enlightened companies are therefore committed to the development of a culture of skilled volunteering. Those that give time out for their employees to volunteer, gain the benefit of highly motivated and committed workforce and recognise that personal development and growth needs cannot always be met by in-house work experience and training.

And that’s where Reach Volunteering fits in. Through its unique online volunteering platform Reach provides the facility for company employees to search for their ideal high impact volunteering role, an opportunity to use their high level skills in a volunteering assignment where their skills will be fully utilised and highly valued. Searches can be tailored to the volunteers’ requirements with regard to specific role types, time availability and geographical location. Reach’s research shows that once employees “stick their toe” in the volunteering water they thoroughly enjoy the experience and more often than not continue to volunteer on a regular basis.

Employees gain a wide range of new skills and can apply their learning and knowledge confidently in different types of environment. Employees who participate are known to enhance their negotiation and leadership skills including persuasion, conflict resolution, mediation and building consensus. Skills-based volunteers are also more likely to report significant job-related skills-gains and personal satisfaction as opposed to traditional volunteers

It’s a win–win situation. Charities obtain significant benefit from accessing the high quality corporate skills they could not otherwise afford in order to develop their causes, in areas such as finance, marketing, planning, I.T. HR and the law. Typical employee placements made by Reach include, developing a new website for a small children’s charity, preparing a strategic plan, establishing business performance measures / reporting for a new programme, mentoring young people setting up in business, designing new marketing materials, carrying out a technical audit, reviewing a financial proposal and, establishing HR policies and procedures for a new organisation. Each ‘match’ achieved has a significant positive impact on the organisation and its ability to develop and progress.

Skilled volunteering works for all parties. With its many benefits for both volunteer and employer, Pro Bono Week is a good time to consider getting involved. And a big thank you to all volunteers generously sharing their skills. It’s never forgotten.

For further information about our employer supported volunteer schemes please contact me, Andrew Phillips on 020 7582 6543 or look at our website

Andrew Phillips

Andrew is Reach’s Head of Fundraising

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Felicity McLeister
January 13th, 2014 by Guest Contributor

Felicity from The OR Society returns to dive deeper into the impact that operational research could have on your charity.

No matter what size or at what stage your organisation is, no matter what kind of decision, problem, or opportunity you face, there’s probably a way for Operational Research to help.

Pro Bono OR from The OR Society consistently delivers significant value – strategic to tactical, top-line to bottom-line – to the organisations and executives who use it.

Benefits of OR include:

  • Business insight: Providing quantitative and business insight into complex problems
  • Business performance: Improving business performance by embedding model-driven intelligence into an organisation’s information systems to improve decision making.
  • Cost reduction: Finding new opportunities to decrease cost or investment.
  • Decision making: Assessing the likely outcomes of decision alternatives and uncovering better alternatives.
  • Forecasting: Providing a better basis for more accurate forecasting and planning.
  • Improved scheduling: Efficiently scheduling staff, equipment, events, and more.
  • Planning: Applying quantitative techniques to support operations, tactical planning, and strategic planning.
  • Pricing: Dynamically pricing products and services.
  • Productivity: Helping organisations find ways to make processes and people more productive.
  • Profits: Increasing revenue or return on investment; increasing market share.
  • Quality: Improving quality as well as quantifying and balancing qualitative considerations.
  • Recovery: Gaining greater control and achieving turn-around.
  • Resources: Gaining greater utilisation from limited equipment, facilities, money, and personnel.
  • Risk: Measuring risk quantitatively and uncovering factors critical to managing and reducing risk.
  • Throughput: Increasing speed or throughput and decreasing delays.

Here is what a few of the organisations who’ve received Pro Bono support had to say:

Crimestoppers: ‘We’ve benefited hugely from your work and support in all areas of the project, and from an organisational perspective you’ve enabled us to take a highly professional approach to increasing the efficiency of our charity.’ (Performance Manager)

Participle: ‘I have just started to digest the work you did for us and wanted to say a huge thank you. This will be so critical to our growth and I am very grateful indeed for your time and expertise. The team have described you as “a joy to work with”.’ (Principle Partner)

The Cardinal Hume Centre: “We valued the opportunity to work collaboratively and without doubt benefited from the analyst’s expertise and commitment to the project.” (Operations Director)

We currently have three projects underway with the RSPCA, Work for Us and Harrogate & Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service and a further project about to commence. We have 60 volunteers across the UK who are currently available to work on projects. This puts us in a great position to offer Pro Bono O.R. the third sector organisations across the UK.

For more information please see my webpage or blog, or feel free to connect with me on twitter or LinkedIn.

Felicity McLeister is the Pro Bono Project Manager at The O.R. Society. You can find her on twitter @FMcLeister.

Guest contributors are invited by Reach to give their own take on issues related to skilled volunteering and trusteeship. We hope you enjoy their articles.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer and may not reflect those of Reach.

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Felicity McLeister
November 6th, 2013 by Guest Contributor

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 quoting ‘OR in the third Sector’.

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

Guest contributors are invited by Reach to give their own take on issues related to skilled volunteering and trusteeship. We hope you enjoy their articles.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer and may not reflect those of Reach.

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