RSS Members' Week: Data for good: Volunteering with the RSS

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There are many ways to volunteer with the RSS. Whether you want to provide statistical expertise to a charity, help shape the future direction of the RSS, or ensure that statistics is top of the education agenda, there’s a volunteering opportunity to suit all our fellows.

Share your statistical knowledge

RSS fellows who are interested in volunteering their skills for good causes should sign up to our Statisticians for Society initiative. Earlier this year the RSS secured Big Lottery funding to directly connect volunteers to small, UK-based charities that need help in analysing data, designing surveys or questionnaires, or collecting data for research purposes. So far volunteers have been matched to 12 charities and there are new opportunities coming up on a regular basis. As part of this project, we’ve also teamed up with Partnerships in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) and Reach Volunteering to connect RSS fellows with international volunteering and UK-based trustee opportunities.

The RSS also works with the African Institute for Mathematical Studies (AIMS) to provide RSS fellows with the opportunity to volunteer in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon or Tanzania. Depending on the time you have available, you can teach a three-week course at an AIMS centre or volunteer for 6-12 months as a tutor. If you’re not able to travel to Africa, you can also supervise or co-supervise an essay by an AIMS student. The RSS has committed to covering the air fares of two statisticians each year, as well as a PhD student tutoring for six months. You can read about RSS fellow Will Hulme’s experience as a volunteer for AIMS here.

For RSS fellows who would like to help increase the visibility of statistics in the public eye, we have set up the RSS Statistical Ambassadors programme, which provides early-career professionals with training and support to help them improve their skills and confidence in talking about statistics to the media, in schools and at public events. RSS Statistical Ambassadors are chosen by a competitive selection process – keep an eye out on our latest call-outs to members for the next round of applications.

Get involved in governance

If you’d like to help shape the strategic direction of the RSS, there are several committees you can get involved in. Our key governance committees are:

  • Council
  • Executive Committee
  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Professional Affairs Committee

Elections to Council take place each year and RSS fellows are welcome to put their names forward. Council manages our income, funds, property and activities, according to our Charter and bye-laws. Council members come from a wide range of statistical backgrounds and comprise honorary officers, including the President, and 24 ordinary members. Executive Committee and the Audit and Risk Committee are sub-committees of Council.

There are occasional call-outs to members for co-opted members where a specific skill or area of expertise is required. Keep an eye out on the member e-bulletin for these opportunities.

Our Professional Affairs Committee (PAC) consists of a chair and up to 11 elected members. An election is held each year and all Chartered Statisticians may participate. PAC is responsible for the professional aspects of the Society’s work, including the conferral of professional status and continuing professional development.

In addition to our governance committee, every section and local group also has a committee and these are a great first step in volunteering your time. These committees are responsible for organising events and meetings, sharing statistical expertise with local organisations and industry, and promoting statistics to students. Joining a section or local group committee is a great opportunity to network with other statisticians in your local area, raise your profile and help determine the strategic direction of the group.

Encourage the next generation of statisticians

For those of you who are passionate about inspiring students to enter a statistics-based career the RSS offers a number of different resources and volunteering opportunities.

STEM Ambassadors volunteer their time, enthusiasm and experiences to encourage young people to progress further in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects through activities, presentations, mentoring and careers talks.

To help STEM Ambassadors (and any RSS fellows) who participate in careers events or talks, we have developed a selection of different free resources for your use.

Our Hands-On statistics resources have been designed for volunteers to use at careers fairs and in schools. They consist of short, practical activities for face-to-face interactions and each come with a short instruction sheet and a video demonstrating the activity in use –  take a look. We’ve also developed statistician workshop resources aimed at upper secondary students titled ‘your career today is’. The workshops offer a realistic taster of what a career as a statistician is like – analysing data, solving practical problems, working in teams and communicating results.

Finally, one of our most prestigious volunteer roles is the RSS William Guy Lecturer, intended to recognise Fellows with a successful track record in undertaking school outreach activities. We give the lecturer support to deliver the RSS William Guy Lecture to UK school students each academic year. Applications for this volunteer role are sought each year.

Lecturers are drawn from industry, education and academia and have spoken on a wide variety of topics in the past. 

We hope this has given you an idea of the various volunteering opportunities open to you as a RSS fellow. Do keep an eye out on our call-outs to members for details on the latest opportunities. If you have any questions about volunteering with the RSS, please feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To hear about the volunteering experiences of some of our existing fellows, click here.

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