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The Pro Bono Economics project team works to match the needs of the charity to the skills and experience of the volunteers in our network.
The Pro Bono Economics team works to match the needs of the charity support to the skills and experience of the associates in our network. Pro Bono Economics adds new volunteer opportunities to their website routinely and registered volunteers can review and apply to those opportunities that they are interested in.
This varies in response to charity need, but typically we undertake around 30 pro bono engagements each year across our four strategic areas; education, employment, mental health and poverty.
Pro Bono Economics has hundreds of active volunteers including professional economists drawn from the public and private sector as well as academia. These volunteer economists are highly-skilled professionals, some with many years of experience.
This varies depending on the charity need. Some projects are suited to one individual working in collaboration with the charity. For bigger projects we take a team-based approach.
The average project takes around one year to complete, but this can vary. Please see project types for more detailed information.
Although the detailed economics work is done by volunteers, Pro Bono Economics sources, project manages, reviews and helps interpret and communicate results using a small staff team. Therefore, we ask charity partners to contribute to project costs where they can.
As part of our charity agreement, the charities we work with agree to cover all reasonable out-of-pocket travel expenses incurred through Pro Bono Economics projects. In the first instance expenses should be recouped from the charity, but should there be any difficulty the volunteer can then contact Pro Bono Economics.
At the beginning of the project, we will estimate how much time this project will entail. At the end of the project, we will ask you to let us know if this is a correct estimation of the time you have contributed pro bono and the commercial value of that time. This helps us understand the scale of pro bono work undertaken and to recognise the huge contribution of our pro bono partners.
We focus our work with charities that work in education, employment, mental health and poverty.
Each year we carefully select a portfolio of charities/subjects which can benefit most from the application of our economics expertise. For the wider charitable sector we are developing training and masterclass offers which can build early understanding and confidence in impact assessment.
For bespoke projects our high-level eligibility criteria are as follows:
Work in one or more of the following areas:
We help charities in many ways, but most commonly in data advice, analysis of interventions and research to support advocacy and campaigns using national datasets.
For charities that are looking to find out how cost-effective an intervention is, our volunteers use tools such as cost-benefit analysis, but have a range of skills that they can deploy. Our volunteers often spend time advising charities on data collection methods.
In general, looking at the impact of one service or intervention is more straight-forward than conducting analysis of an organisation as a whole.
This is difficult to answer and we simply can’t tell until we have scoped and planned each assessment. This helps how much data and other support is required from charities and the demands on your staff.
Some charities find projects easy, needing only a light touch with data close to hand. For others, it means working hard to engage stakeholders, digging out data hidden away in filing cabinets and spreadsheets. The most successful projects are those where the charity is engaged and able to commit time and resources with a project manager to drive the work forwards.
Our average project length is six months. If the outcome of the advice is data collection, a charity can expect to be collecting data for at least a year before anything can be done with it. It can be a commitment of several years.
Pro Bono Economics provides independent analysis rooted in economic principles, which makes our work distinctly robust and authoritative. As an organisation, we are committed to transparency and proud to champion the evidenced strengths of the social sector and the work of individual organisations, as well as to be honest about improvements that are required.
In the interests of transparency, we have committed to publishing some information on each project that we complete. If the results of an economic evaluation are not what a charity had hoped for at the start of the process, we will work collaboratively to ensure that all parties are satisfied with what is published. Where possible, we will then work alongside those organisations to support them in implementing changes that best enable them to capture and communicate their impact.
Social Return on Investment is a framework used to help understand the social outcomes generated by an organisation.
We are not SROI practitioners and are not SROI accredited, nor are our volunteers. Our volunteers are economists who will bring to any project a range of skills and tools, and will use the most appropriate methodology to address the issues at hand.
If you are specifically seeking an SROI analysis we would recommend that you approach the SROI Network who have a directory of practitioners. However, take the time to think about whether an SROI analysis is right for the needs of your organisation. It may be that there are other types of analysis are more appropriate.