Open Volunteer Opportunities
Currently there are no open projects. Please check back periodically.
Sampling of Projects Currently in Progress
Note: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.
LET’S GO Boys and Girls is working to break the cycle of poverty through STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education and workforce development. Based in Baltimore, LET’S GO inspires and supports participation of low income/high risk students in activities that help them develop a STEM identity leading to improved academic achievement and career success in the 21st Century information age. A goal of LET’S GO is to increase the number of STEM professionals from urban underserved communities.
LET’S GO tracks students from the time they register in one of their informal STEM education activities (typically in elementary school) though middle, high, and post-secondary school and ultimately entrance into the workforce. The current system uses an AirTables platform interfaced with Microsoft Power BI reporting. However, the current structure is difficult for LET’S GO staff to generate the reports they need.
LET'S GO would like to enlist our help with:
- Determining if AirTables + Microsoft Power BI is the best system for storing data and generating reports for LET’S GO, and if not, recommending an alternative
- Working with LET’S GO staff to evaluate & improve data quality and design approximately 30 standardized reports.
- Coding the reports so that LET’S GO staff can generate them on demand
- Providing basic user instructions / documentation
Think you've got the skills to help?
Mentoring Mentors (https://www.mentoring-mentors.org/), a Baltimore-area organization, employs an intergenerational team-based near-to-peer mentoring approach to help, guide, and inspire African-American youth to become mentors in their communities. They work with both young men and young women, using a combination of an African American professional, a high-school mentee, and middle-school mentees for young men and small group workshops with working professional women for school-aged young women. Mentoring Mentors is just beginning to explore the use of analytics. They are seeking help from one or more Pro Bono Analytics volunteers to construct an initial data acquisition and storage strategy. Questions to be answered include the following.
- How would the data be used? What are the desired results from analysis of the data?
- What data do they have, what data do they need to collect, and what data can/should they acquire from public sources?
- How should the data be stored?
Since it will likely take time to collect the needed data, analysis of the data will probably not be part of this project. Think you've got the skills to help?
The American Alpine Club works to support a united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes. They focus on being inclusive and fostering diversity across climber demographics. They are a membership-based organization providing benefits and services to members, grants, historical preservation, education, policy and advocacy.
Their State of Climbing report aggregates and analyzes data that reflects American climbing leading up to 2018, with particular attention paid to changing demographics.
The American Alpine Club is seeking a Pro Bono Analytics volunteer to advise their staff about the importance of statistically relevant data and their ability to make assertions and/or draw conclusions from the data they have and/or are able to find.
1. Analyze demographic data collected through Survey Monkey
2. Find sources of similar data
3. Identify additional variables needed and their sources
4. Find sources of historical data (to allow a longitudinal analysis)
WOMBWORK PRODUCTIONS (https://www.wombwork.com/home) WombWork Productions’ mission is to heal and empower youth, families and communities through the performing arts. WombWorks works to achieve its mission not only through performing arts, but through provision of social and public health services as well. WombWork is now partnering with Kaiser Permanente to produce virtues-based classes, assemblies, and workshops at five Baltimore City Public Schools that have some of the lowest socioeconomic and health indicators in the Baltimore area.
WombWork has an excellent track record working in difficult school settings, as evidenced by many testimonials of impacts of their work on the lives of community members. They now want to tell a different story of their work, through quantitative as well as qualitative data that may support rigorous evaluations of their work, and thereby produce evidence that their impact is strong and positive, and potentially scalable, transferable and generalizable.
They have asked INFORMS Pro Bono Analytics for help. Understanding that defining the problem – especially objectives and attributes – is the basis of any sort of evaluation, we seek volunteers with expertise in areas of Decision Analysis problem structuring methods, such as (but not limited to) values-focused thinking.
The Pro Bono volunteer will need to help WombWork define what is really important in terms of impact, what criteria/metrics to measure, and help them outline potential courses of action for evaluation as well as new initiatives. This is an exciting project, in which a skilled volunteer can help WombWork demonstrate their impact, their model and their change efforts to a larger audience with the metrics to prove it.
If you are interested in helping WombWork Productions, please forward your resume and/or CV with a brief paragraph explaining your interest and qualifications. A short description of how you might approach this project would also be beneficial. The deadline for submissions to this project is Dec. 18, 2018.
Collateral Repair Project is a grassroots effort to bring much-needed assistance to refugees and other victims of war and conflict—those commonly referred to as “collateral damage.” They seek to repair some of this damage and, through these efforts, foster peace and reconciliation. They are seeking volunteer analytics help to evaluate their data and process for best managing their nearly 2,000 refugee families. They are interested in the possibility for constructing a data warehouse system and improving their processes for efficiency.
I AM MENtalityYouth Empowerment Project (https://www.iammentality.com/) provides mentoring and leadership development opportunities for male youth, ages 7-18, in Baltimore City and surrounding counties. The organization offers at-risk youth support in leadership skills, conflict resolution, anger management, financial literacy, professionalism, health and wellness, effective public speaking, character building and other life skills. The program uses a variety of services -- individual and family counseling, peer-to-peer support groups and mentoring, and academic tutoring – to reach and help these boys. I AM MENtality is looking to Pro Bono Analytics volunteers for help in identifying, collecting and analyzing data to support its mission, in particular:
- Identifying and selecting outcome measures and models suitable for demonstrating the effectiveness of its programs.
- Determining any additional variables necessary for those models.
- Determining which, if any, data currently collected (as manual records) would be useful for documenting outcomes.
LET’S GO Boys and Girls is working to break the cycle of poverty through STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education and workforce development. Based in Baltimore, LET’S GO inspires and supports participation of low income/high risk students in activities that help them develop a STEM identity leading to improved academic achievement and career success in the 21st Century information age.
LET’S GO tracks students from the time they register in one of their informal STEM education activities (typically in elementary school) though middle, high, and post-secondary school and ultimately entrance into the workforce. They need a database system to track demographics, history of participation in activities, academic record (grades, test scores, attendance, and disciplinary record), high school and post-secondary school completion, and entrance into the workforce.
LET’S GO would like to work with Pro Bono Analytics volunteers to improve their ability to measure program impact. They currently track students from the time they register in one of their informal STEM education activities (typically in elementary school) though middle, high, and post-secondary school and ultimately entrance into the workforce. They are planning to improve their data collection and data storage, and would like to use this opportunity to explore improved outcome measurement options. Key questions include:
- Is there evidence that low income/high risk students’ participation and persistence in informal STEM education activities leads to improvement in students’ academic achievement and life skills?
- What is the necessary quality of STEM activities and dosage/duration of delivery of activities for low income/high risk students to develop a strong enough “STEM identity” that motivates students to improve their academic achievement and life skills putting them on a pathway to success to economic prosperity?
- Does participation and persistence in informal STEM activities lead to the desired end goal of low income/high risk youth breaking out of generational poverty?
Volunteer Request Form - Lets Go Boys and Girls
Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI) celebrates Maryland’s industrial legacy and shows how innovation fuels ongoing progress. Their exhibitions, educational programs, and collections engage visitors in the stories of the people who built Baltimore and those who shape the region’s future. BMI is currently working to implement a new strategic plan which charts a bold course for the museum’s future, envisioning the BMI as a community anchor where pride in Baltimore’s industrial past fuels imagination and inspires innovation.
BMI currently tracks revenue and the number of people served by some of their programs, but there is clearly a richer set of metrics that can expand and improve the understanding of their impact on the community. Pro Bono Analytics is seeking one or more volunteers to provide BMI with support in defining and modeling metrics that can form a comprehensive dashboard to measure, across the organization, outcomes that demonstrate both the quantitative and qualitative impacts that tie directly to its strategic plan. Please view the complete form for tasks that the INFORMS Pro Bono Analytics volunteers will be asked to perform.
Volunteer Request Form - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Young Audiences of NJ & Eastern PA (YA NJ/EPA) inspires young people to expand their learning through the arts. They do this by bringing arts experiences by professional teaching artists directly to students; making the arts accessible regardless of socioeconomic background, geographic area, and ability.
YA NJ/EPA would like to work with one or more Pro Bono Analytics volunteers to help design a monitoring system for inclusion in their grant application, which is due by April 30, 2018. This system will use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative information to assess the program impact. In addition to data provided by the local school board, the monitoring might include periodic surveys of students, parent and/or teachers, conducting focus groups, mining of social media data, etc. Again, the goal of this project is to design, not build, an implementable and practical monitoring system.
Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania Volunteer Request Form
Houston Methodist Hospital (HMH) Volunteer Services Department is responsible for providing engaged, well trained and resourceful volunteers who produce exemplary and meaningful service and support while demonstrating ICARE values to their patients, guests and the hospital they serve. HMH would like to work with a Pro Bono Analytics volunteer to better understand how to interact with existing and potential volunteers in three primary areas:
- Engagement – The list of volunteers contains a mixture of (a) people regularly volunteering for specific assignments, (b) people volunteering only once or twice, and (c) people never volunteering for a specific assignment. There are cases where volunteers receive training yet never sign up for an event. What are the reasons behind different levels of engagement?
- Communication – HMH uses a variety of methods to advertise specific volunteering opportunities. These include email, website postings, social media, etc. However HMH, currently does not utilize text messaging as an avenue for communication. How effective will text outreach be in communicating with volunteer? Which methods are most effective, and how does this differ by demographic?
- Branding – Although HMH is a well-known and respected organization, it still must compete with other international, national and local non-profits for volunteer time. What methods are most effective for encouraging volunteers to sign up?
Houston Methodist Hospital Volunteer Services Department Form
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
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. One set of volunteers is working on developing this physical tool and another set is working to developing the Assesment Intervention Center (AIC), a key component of the mental health diversion aspect of the criminal justice reform in Indianapolis. The AIC is a choice for clients, it is not a mandatory treatment component, not a secured facility and clients can choose to leave at any time with an anticipated that lengths of stay will range from 1 to 14 days. It will operate during regular business hours with outpatient services that are rooted in an intensive case management model. The goal is stabilization and (re)connection to services in the community. Located in close proximity to the AIC will be an overnight facility for people are engaged in services who need a place to stay while they are being (re)connected to services. The AIC will be operated by Midtown Community Mental Health Center through Eskenazi Health (the public hospital system for Marion County) and will facilitate the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's mental health screening initiative.
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.
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.
SkillWorks at The Boston Foundation is a multi-phase initiative that began as a $25 million public/private partnership in the Boston area designed to meet worker and business needs while developing pathways out of poverty in an economy where growth is for middle to high-skill jobs, while a large percentage of the workforce is unprepared for those jobs. The initial engagement would focus primarily on understanding Skillworks' data, formulating and investigating options for storing this data and for automating production of performance metrics that are consistent with the organization's budget, and, finally, helping SkillWorks put together a more comprehensive plan for moving forward in meeting its strategic objectives as a more analytic and data savvy organization.
Meals on Wheels for Western New York is an essential program that delivers meals to members of the community who need it most. Their mission is to enrich lives and promote independent healthy living by offering nutritious foods and a friendly visit. Our volunteers are working to help them improve their processes for maximizing their warehouse space. They are working to improve storage and efficient use of space.