Volunteer Opportunities

Open Volunteer Opportunities


Sign up using the form on the right to be a Pro Bono Analytics volunteer and receive notifications about new opportunities as they become available.

The Criminal Justice Innovation Lab at NYU School of Law is designing and building a mental health screening tool for police officers to identify and divert individuals suffering from mental illness out of the criminal justice system and into treatment.  This tool will be a mobile and desk top application that can be used by officers when they first engage with individuals.  The tool will determine whether or not an individual should proceed through the traditional criminal justice system or should be diverted to a nearby mental health treatment facility for treatment.

This project represents an effort to move upstream to treat the underlying causes of crime, and to ensure that those individuals who can be safely diverted to mental health treatment are diverted at the earliest point in time.  For this to happen, we need to provide tools to police officers so that they can identify and divert individuals at the initial point of contact.

Although mental health screening tools exist, these tools have not been designed or validated for use by police officers during a street encounter.  Relying on existing research and a team of excellent clinical practitioners, we are presently designing a mental health screening tool that can be easily used by police officers in any location.  They have built this project in partnership with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, where they anticipate testing and implementing the tool.

They are seeking an operations research specialist to make this process effective and efficient. Police officers will need to operate this tool with ease and the screening must be brief and accurate. The logistics of diverting someone to a mental health facility also need to be designed.  They believe that an OR specialist could greatly assist in helping us build an innovation solution for responding to and treating mental illness.  Further, they believe that this could serve as a national model for police departments across the country.

Criminal Justice Innovation Lab at NYU School of Law Form

Deadline for submissions is Friday, October 27th 2017

Projects in Progress

These projects are currently in progress and are no longer seeking volunteers. Please view the following to exemplify the wide variety of projects from nonprofit organizations that benefit from the work Pro Bono Analytics volunteers. 


Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization committed to covering one of America’s most important stories: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to a quality education. Chalkbeat is intent on making evidence-based decisions, but the evidence is spread across multiple systems and it often may not be clear which are the “metrics that matter” during any given period of time. Automated spreadsheets are being used for exposing the most frequently requested data in Google Analytics to all staff, but neither allow for deeper queries nor include meaningful automated data from other sources, including Facebook/Facebook Ads, Mailchimp, Pardot, Salesforce, or Eventbrite. Therefore, Chalkbeat would like to work with a Pro Bono Analytics volunteer to help evaluate whether or not a data warehouse / business intelligence (DW/BI) system is feasible and practical for their organization. The project would be split into two steps, assessing the feasibility of a DW/BI system and establishing the practicality of a DW/BI system.

Chalkbeat Volunteer Request Form


Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) is dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by schizophrenia-related brain illnesses through support programs, education, collaboration and advocacy.  SARDAA is looking for help in reviewing their data and then creating a plan for moving forward.  SARDAA data is currently accessed using Salesforce.com as the underlying infrastructure.  The current contact database includes members, supporters, stakeholders and other interested parties.  In addition to gaining a stronger understanding of the information in the database (e.g., geographic distribution, completeness of the data, etc.), the project will include investigating options for potentially expanding but more importantly using this data to benefit the organization by improving operational performance and supporting decision-making. Initial ideas suggested for consideration are creating a profile of members and using better visualization and communication tools to share this information with managers and leaders within SARDAA.  SARDAA is also considering a survey of their membership, e.g., to gain a better understanding of the interests of those currently in their database and how that differs by various factors such as location, type of member, level of support, and other features in the database.  This project would begin with a focus on the Salesforce data; the next step would be to help SARDAA create a plan for moving forward with some of the other ideas mentioned. 

SARDAA Volunteer Request Form

Goodwill® Industries of Greater Grand Rapids – The mission of Goodwill® is to “strive to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by helping people reach their full potential through education, skills training and the power of work.” Goodwill is one of the most respected companies in the US and Canada; known for operating hundreds of thrift stores based on extensive donation efforts, and for its successful job training programs. The Grand Rapids headquarters operates 20 stores in an eight-county region in Michigan. They are faced with a problem most brick and mortar stores are having – declining foot traffic in the stores. The stores and online sales help provide funding and opportunities for job training.

This Pro Bono Analytics opportunity is to work directly with the VP of Business Intelligence at the Grand Rapids Goodwill to evaluate the different campaigns used by Goodwill, and their effectiveness in generating foot traffic at eight of the stores in their region. A secondary assessment is how the campaigns impact donations. Kent county has the largest population in the Goodwill region and the focus will be on the eight stores residing within that county. The marketing campaigns involve a variety of media, including television ads, social media, Pandora, print and billboards. Counters have recently been added to three of the stores to measure foot traffic. Other data include sales receipts, a recent survey of 300 people, and the ability to send a short survey to the 36,000 active members of the Goodwill loyalty shopper program.

Goodwill® Grand Rapids Volunteer Request Form

Nashville Zoo is a progressive and dynamic zoological park serving Middle Tennessee, southern Kentucky, and hundreds of thousands of tourists who travel to Nashville every year. The zoo’s Education Department is working on a comprehensive evaluation methodology for all their programs that will measure knowledge, attitude, and behavioral change among participants. The zoo has developed a uniform approach to evaluation and has tested several methods.  The biggest hurdle is quantifying the results.  At this point, they are relying on Survey Monkey for basic data management, but would like help in improving the data analysis and the overall program evaluation process.  The goal of this volunteer project is to pull all department surveys into a program such as Tableau to generate regular reports on program effectiveness that would help the zoo make strategic decisions about improving programs and also provide information to funders.

Nashville Zoo Request Form


Youth Encouragement Services (YES) - YES works to enrich the lives of children in inner-city Nashville, helping them to develop academically, physically, spiritually, and socially. YES purchased a data management system called KidTrax through NFocus Solutions and need someone to help navigate pre-filled data, measure outcomes, and provide suggestions/tools for staff to use for continued enhancement of programming. 

YES Volunteer Request Form

American Red Cross - Tennessee Chapter - The Nashville Chapter of the American Red Cross has 900 volunteers helping with blood collection and humanitarian response services in Central Tennessee and neighboring areas. The Nashville Chapter would like to better understand how to interact with existing and potential volunteers in three primary areas.   

American Red Cross - Tennessee Chapter Volunteer Request Form

LawNY: Legal Assistance for Western New York – LawNY is a nonprofit legal firm that provides access to the justice system for low-income people and other vulnerable populations who have civil legal problems. In 2015, the firm closed 8,877 cases benefiting 18,246 people across Western New York. LawNY is seeking analytics help in developing a business process map of the intake system used in its seven offices, analyzing where barriers exist, and making recommendations for improvements. Their ultimate goal is to improve the intake system so it works as efficiently and effectively as possible for its clients, intake workers and advocates. See more details in the Volunteer Request From.

LawNY Volunteer Request Form

Family Service of Greater Boston (FSGB) has focused on improving the lives of at-risk urban children, youth and their families since 1835. They currently provide services through three main programs: an outpatient mental health clinic, in-home therapy team, and a residential program for teens. FSGB needs analytics help in developing a data management strategy that can standardize data collection, better coordinate care across programs, and better serve their clients.

vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document FSGB Volunteer Request Form

Community Empowerment Solutions
 empowers community members in countries like the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, and Nicaragua to implement high social impact technologies that address education, economic, energy and health challenges. CESolutions has designed a survey to assess the outcomes of their program. They are looking for a volunteer who can review the survey design, ensure that it meets best practices, and that it asks questions that will yield accurate and useful data for assessing their program.

vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document CE Solutions Volunteer Request

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is facing a large decision. Should a Board Certified Music Therapist have a master’s degree or be allowed to continue to practice at Bachelor’s level? AMTA is in need of an analytics coach who can help define the issue, identify relevant data, and develop a decision model to support an informed decision that is in the best interest of their members and the general public seeking their services.

vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document AMTA Volunteer Request Form

The Indiana Association for Community Economic Development (IACED) is an intermediary agency, working with local communities and regional, state and national stakeholders around economic development. They are looking for analytics assistance to design a common outcome framework that will assist Indiana-based nonprofits to report, track and measure performance outcomes.

vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document IACED Request Form



Express Interest
In Volunteering

  1. Email probono@informs.org to express your preliminary interest, and provide your resume or CV and a summary of your experience and areas of expertise, particularly as they may relate to the specific project. Let us know if you’d like us to match you with other volunteers to create a project team.
  2. We’ll set up a call between you, the Pro Bono Analytics Committee member who was the initial contact with the nonprofit, and the organization staff. The Committee member will have already conducted a “scoping” call to understand the nonprofit’s goals and help them better define the problem and project. You may decide to drop out after that call or continue.
  3. We will forward all submitted proposals by interested volunteers to the nonprofit, and they will make the final selection.
  4. We then ask the nonprofit organization and the volunteer(s) to sign an Engagement Confirmation agreement.
  5. After signing, the project is ready to launch, with you and the organization working directly.  Pro Bono Analytics steps back from direct involvement, but we maintain contact with you and the organization to check on progress and to serve as a sounding board.
  6. As a final step, we ask the volunteer(s) and the organization to provide feedback on your experience.



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    Benefit Too!

    Wherever you are in your career, you’ll find many benefits in volunteering your time and talent through Pro Bono Analytics. You will:

    • Make a contribution and a difference to underserved communities
    • Expand the depth and breadth of your CV
    • Interact with people who are passionate about the work of their organizations and appreciative of the contributions you bring
    • Be exposed to new analytics problems, different from what you may have encountered in your education and work 
    • Demonstrate your soft skills in facilitation and communication
    • Take a project through the full cycle of problem definition to solution
    • Continue to apply your skills usefully in society, even after retirement
    • Raise the profile of analytics in this important sector