Statisticians for Society - volunteers sought for pro bono opportunities

Written by Amaka Nwagbara on . Posted in Latest call-outs to members

As part of Statisticians for Society, The Royal Statistical Society is looking for volunteers to help charities that require pro bono support.

To volunteer, you must be a fellow of the RSS. Please submit your CV and a short cover letter (400 words maximum) to express interest; indicating the project(s) you wish to apply for and why you would be a suitable candidate to deliver the work. For more information and to submit your application please email Amaka Nwagbara at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Evaluation for Lofty Heights
Estimated time commitment: 20 - 40 hours

Lofty Heights (Ipswich) is a social enterprise that provides specialist support to vulnerable and young people in the Suffolk community. They collect routine data about their client enquiries/work and young people not in employment, education or training (NEETS) and their progress into paid employment. 

They would like to extract insights from the data to evidence the impact of their services in order to attract funders. The following three main areas of support have been identified: 

  1. Cost-benefit analysis (e.g. keeping NEETs off benefit, savings from accelerated discharge from hospital etc.)
  2. Prepare descriptive summaries of the impact of their current service.
  3. Design of user feedback tools
  4. Advice on what data to collect in the future to enable ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the service

We are seeking 1 or 2 volunteer(s) with experience/skills in cost-benefit analysis and adept with survey design and evaluation methodology. 

Location: Work can be done remotely, with one preliminary meeting on site. The project will begin when a volunteer is secured.


Statistical stock-take on 5 years of monitoring statistics
Estimated time commitment: 5 hours per week for 10 weeks
TownBreak SCIO (Stirling, Scotland) supports people in Stirlingshire who are living with a diagnosis of early to moderate dementia. The charity has data from two groups: (i) clients; (ii) carers/volunteers and would like to extract insights from the data to evidence the benefits from their services, which include befriending and cognitive stimulation therapy programme. Some data are held on spreadsheets and others need to be entered for analysis.

The charity collects data from carers & clients receiving cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) using quality-of-life questionnaires at 3 time-points (pre-CST; after 14 weeks of CST; at 30 weeks). They have about 500 pre-post-post triples for analysis). They run a befriending service and the volunteers complete a monthly contact-sheet which summarises the client’s mood and activities undertaken per contact. They have monthly-case-summaries for about 100 befriended clients over 5-years, from which a summary report could be prepared.

We are looking for a volunteer statistician with report writing and an interest in longitudinal data. to analyse the data and guide the charity on how best to enter data collected to facilitate planned analyses in future.

Location: The project can be done remotely, but a preliminary face to face meeting would be ideal. The project will commence once a volunteer has been secured.


Questionnaire and survey design for Odd Arts

Estimated time commitment: 9 days
Odd Arts (Manchester) delivers specialist applied theatre and creative arts with vulnerable and excluded groups to address and explore challenging issues.

They have received funding from the Home Office and a number of city councils to inform young people about radicalisation, with the ultimate aim to reduce the number of people who are radicalised. They deliver interactive theatre workshops where they have c. 4000 attendees and currently they capture how this audience feels about the workshop by asking attendees to fill in a paper postcard answer a number of questions. i.e. Did you enjoy this workshop (Y/N) and then a number of open-ended questions.

The feedback report from events is manual and time-intensive, and is analysed by theatre staff. They would like a volunteer's support to better capture information and report the event feedback, so insights can be used to report back findings to home office and other stakeholders. The charity is looking for a volunteer with the following skills and experience

  • Questionnaire and survey design experience - both in the best way to ask the questions and capture the response
  • Experience of automated survey tools/online survey who can recommend what they should use (so information can be captured by all respondents, and it can be easily processed and analysed)
  • Odd Arts does not capture sensitive information on the postcard, but due to the sensitive nature of the workshops, the volunteer would need to be aware of GDPR when designing the survey.

Location: The work can be done remotely with preliminary calls to define the scope of the project. The project will begin in July with completion by September / October 2019.


The costs and benefits of flexible working
Estimated time commitment: 10 days
Working Families (London) helps working parents and carers, and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and in the workplace. 

In October 2018, the Government announced it will create a duty for employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and make that clear when advertising. Working Families would like a statistician’s help to understand the cost / benefit of introducing this policy on the UK labour market.

They are looking for a volunteer with some knowledge of economics in addition to statistics and survey design experience. The volunteer will review existing information on the subject to assess what is already known and whether there is a need for new data to monitor the impact of the policy, if implemented. In particular they will review information on:

  1. The benefits to employers of flexible working in terms of the ability to recruit and retain staff with the skills they need.
  2. The costs and financial benefits to employers of flexible working
  3. The extent to which employers are likely to consider flexible working in response to the new duty.

Working Families conducts an annual survey, the Modern Families Index. The volunteer will look at the data collected to see if they include relevant information and, if not, suggest additional questions which could be added.

Location: The work will be done remotely with an initial meeting to review materials held on site and a second meeting discuss the findings. The project will commence at the end of June with completion by August 2019.


Assessing local gender equality for Camden Giving
Estimated time commitment: 40 hours

Camden Giving (London) is an independent charity that supports projects that make a lasting change to the lives of people who live and work in Camden. The charity has access to  datasets the London Funders Dataset and contacts in Camden Council who can provide data and other e.g. ONS, DoH. The charity would like to establish the demographic and what other available data can tell them about gender equality in Camden and its 18 wards. Once they have established a picture of gender equality in Camden, they would like to develop ways of assessing the impact on gender equality of the projects they fund.

They are seeking a volunteer who can help with the following: 

  1. Liaise with Camden Giving to establish a set of gender equality measures that could be extracted from available data sources relating to Camden.
  2. Extract relevant data from these data sources and summarise in lay report form to provide a description of current gender equality in Camden and its wards.
  3. Discuss future work to assess the impact on gender equality of their funded projects.

A volunteer with knowledge of public-facing demographic, social and health datasets would be an advantage.

Location: The work will be done remotely, with preliminary face to face meetings. The project will commence when a volunteer has been secured. 


Enhancing the IF Index of Young Adults’ Wellbeing
Estimated time commitment: 12-16 weeks

Intergenerational Foundation (IF) is a London-based charity which undertakes research into inequalities between different generations to educate and inform policy-makers and the general public. 

IF publishes an annual wellbeing index which measures how the wellbeing of millennials is changing compared with previous cohorts of young adults. Last year, the work was conducted as a pilot study using a cohort of people aged 20-29 in 1995, 2005 and 2015 for the analysis. The dataset was taken from surveys/studies that are publicly available and a report of the index was published with publicity from the BBC.

IF is now looking to develop the index further with more in-depth analysis and insights. They require a statistician with expertise in social and economic statistics who can advise on methodology, design and provide a review function as the work progresses. The volunteer will have experience analysing cohort data and designing indices in the socio-economic arena. The analysis is produced using the R programming language, so it would be a useful project for someone who is familiar with R. 

The results will be published as a report and credit (or possibly co-authorship) will be offered to the volunteer.

Location: Remote with preliminary meetings to define the project scope. The project will begin in May/June with completion by end of August 2019.


Evaluating impact and survey design for Creative Sparkworks
Estimated time commitment: 4 days

Creative Sparkworks (London) provides film and media training to young adults from under-represented groups in the London Borough of Lambeth. We are looking for a volunteer with survey design and statistical modelling expertise to help with the following: 

  • Designing a survey to gather data on the effectiveness of their interventions.
  • Analysing and presenting data on the impact of their services

Location: The work can be done remotely with a preliminary face to face meeting. This project will begin when a volunteer has been secured. 



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