The Basics

We provide charities with a free service: the expertise of economists to help them answer questions about measurement, results, impact and value. Charities often lack resources internally to answer these questions, and may not be able to pay for expert help.

We offer economists an opportunity to apply their skills, sometimes those they are not using in their day jobs, to a new sector. Often, economists don’t see the end result of their work, but volunteering may allow them to visit a charity and get closer to the sharp end, perhaps seeing how services are delivered and how their work can contribute to this. We know that many economists want to ‘give something back’, and not just by taking their old records to the local charity shop. 
Very few projects are straightforward and we do our best to set clear expectations with both parties. We spend lots of time talking to charities about their needs, discussing expectations, limitations and challenges, and helping them think through issues that they may not have considered in detail before approaching us.
Finding the right economist, or team, at the right time can be tricky, and it may take weeks just to find a time in the diary that is convenient for all parties to meet. Projects can take up to a year to complete, often held up because of issues with pulling together the necessary data or charity staff finding they just don’t have the time for an extra piece of work. It is important to recognise that, although this is a free service to charities, it is not without cost, and can require a long term commitment.
We want to ensure the best experience for charities and economists coming to us and being clear on what to expect is the first step. Read more about our process here.