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Pro Bono Economics has received 50 requests for help from charities

Martin Brookes, founder, Pro Bono Economics
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Pro Bono Economics has received 50 requests for help from charities

Finance | Tania Mason | 19 Jun 2011

Pro Bono Economics, the charity set up by Martin Brookes (pictured) to match volunteer economists with charities that want help to measure their outcomes, has worked with more than 25 charities since its inception three years ago and been approached by over 50.

The value of the service offered by Pro Bono Economics (PBE) was demonstrated last week with the publication of a report by FTI Consulting analysing the return on investment that welfare-to-work charity Tomorrow’s People delivers for each person it helps into work.

The analysis suggested that for every £1 spent by Tomorrow’s People, at least £2.40 worth of value is created to society.

FTI Consulting was matched to the project by Pro Bono Economics. The charity was set up by Brookes, the chief executive of New Philanthropy Capital, in 2008 to broker economists to work pro bono in the sector, helping charities to address issues around measurement, results and impact.

It was announced at the launch of the Tomorrow’s People report on Friday at the Bank of England that Pro Bono Economics has assisted over 25 charities, and had requests for help from over 50.  Some of the other charities benefiting from free advice arranged by PBE are beat, the eating disorders charity; the Citizenship Foundation; National Children’s Bureau and the coalition Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM), which comprises Clinks, Drugscope, Homeless Link and Mind.

For beat, John Henderson from the Department of Health is looking at the costs of eating disorders in England and measuring the economic impacts on society and the individual.

Global economics consulting firm FTI Consulting has teamed up with MEAM to help with the data requirements for a new model of service delivery for vulnerable people that co-ordinates existing services.  FTI will also undertake the evaluation once the pilots are complete.

PBE has over 100 volunteer economists on its books, two-thirds from the private sector and others from the Government Economic Service and academia.  Its main funders are the Esmee Fairbain Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Monument Trust.  

It is staffed by two full-time employees, director Sue Holloway, who spent 13 years in the Government Economic Service, and operations manager Sarah Hewison.

Charities that would like some assistance from PBE should register on the website www.probonoeconomics.com.

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