Pro Bono Economics helps social ventures understand and improve the impact and value of their work by providing affordable high-quality advice and consultancy services, delivered by expert economics volunteers. They staff projects by matching expert economics volunteers with social ventures, and our current database contains over 500 qualified experts. Offering a unique service of economic advice.

Their projects focus on wellbeing, supported by strands of work in education, employment, mental health and resilience and complex needs (people at the edge of communities who are vulnerable to homelessness, addiction and debt).

Who they Support?

Pro Bono Economics work with charities, community businesses and social enterprises, assessing applications against our selection criteria as follows:

  • Be headquartered in the UK
  • Be a charity, community business or social enterprise
  • Have a turnover of between £100k – £10 million (for larger organisations we may ask for a contribution towards core costs)
  • Have at least 2 months’ financial reserves (preferably 3 months)

Support is free, but they ask that for the organisations we work with dedicate a core staff member, time and resources to the project.

Way of working

We start by understanding the organisation’s mission, clients, what they deliver (programme design) and the results they generate (outcomes). This informs a tight project brief. Through our links to prominent economics and statistics organisations, we have wide ranging access to comparative data sets and other evidence to provide useful benchmarks. These assist in finding relevant measures or proxies for value and help validate outcomes (defining and developing relevant counterfactuals).

Our projects typically fall within three categories:

  • data collection advice;
  • economic impact analysis / evaluation;
  • national analysis using national datasets (e.g. the scale of a problem such as low adult numeracy).

When to apply for Pro Bono Economics Support:

Pro Bono Economics strongly believes that a social venture can operate more effectively when it uses data to develop knowledge on what works, what doesn’t and what could work better in delivering outcomes for the people they support. Social ventures approach PBE for support for a variety of reasons and at different times. Organisations often want to know whether their programme is achieving its intended outcomes and how to use data for insights on how to improve. A clear understanding of impact can also help an organisation to make a case for funding, helping to scale a programme in a smart and informed way. Another situation may involve an organisation considering starting a new programme, but wanting to know if their proposed programme design would have impact.

How to apply for support through the Power to Change partnership

Pro Bono Economics are a strategic partner of Power to Change, and are able to provide support to interested grantees that fit within their criteria. To find out if you do, visit their website and fill in the application form if you are interested in receiving support. Please make clear in ‘How did you hear about us?’ that you are part of the Power to Change network.

Nova New Opportunities

How Pro Bono Economics helped Nova

Pro Bono Economics’ report for Nova New Opportunities supported and developed their monitoring and evaluation strategy. Nova, a London-based charity, seeking to help marginalized and disadvantaged people improve their confidence and learn new skills, resulting in happier, more fulfilling and more active lives. They worked closely with clients in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, offering workshops, classes, trips and events to adults and children which enabled the community to come together and recover after the tragedy.

The report looked into their Theory of Change, mapping out the relationship between their activities and the impact on their beneficiaries. Building on the Theory of Change, the report also undertakes a review of existing data and offers advice on data collection moving forward.


How Pro Bono Economics helped HighGround

Pro Bono Economics work with HighGround is a fantastic example of the possible support to community organisations. This small charity prepares serving and ex-military personnel for work in the land-based sector, providing work experience, employment, training and horticultural therapy. Whilst undergoing a period of development, they approached Pro Bono Economics for help examining their objectives and activities. One of their economists supported the charity with its business plan, using economic insight to clarify objectives, design performance indicators, gather data and draft supporting documents. This will enable HighGround to plan and measure activities better, as well as secure more sustainable and diverse funding.