FAQ’s

What does 501C Economics do?
501C Economics strives to match volunteer economists, consultants, statisticians, and data scientists with nonprofits in order to improve the efficiency, efficacy, and impact of nonprofits. This mission is based on the basic belief that the continual improvement of nonprofits can have a profoundly positive impact on the causes they serve.

Sometimes a nonprofit may not have enough or the right kind of data for analysis. In these cases, our economists work with the nonprofit to identify what kind of data would be required for analysis. 

How does this process work?
Our process is designed to avoid surprises for both economists and nonprofits at every stage of the process. Before bringing an economist in, 501C discusses project goals with the nonprofit to determine feasibility of the project. It is important to remember that our economists are volunteers, along with determining what sort of work needs to be done, realistic timelines are defined, and suitable modes of communication are set between both parties.

Please see our process page for a step by step guide to how it works.

Do you charge a fee?
We do not charge for this service, as our economists work as unpaid volunteers. We encourage nonprofits that can afford to make a contribution consider doing so, but we never make this a requirement of doing a project.
Why do nonprofits participate?
These are challenging times for nonprofits and charitable organizations. The lack of resources makes the problem of keeping essential programs afloat seem insurmountable. Professional economic consultants can contribute a great deal of knowledge and advice to nonprofits; they may even bring them from the brink of financial insolvency. However, professional economists are often more expensive than most nonprofits could reasonably afford.

501C Economics recognizes the need for volunteer economists and believes a supply exists. We work diligently to pair the right economist with each nonprofit based on the specific needs of the organization and the economist’s talents and stated specialization.

Why volunteer?
A natural question for any economist to ask is, “What’s in it for me?” Our response is threefold. First, we believe you will gain exposure to problems you might not encounter in your current position, be it in academia or the private sector. Therefore, we believe there is an opportunity to expand upon your skills and broaden your professional experience, making you more valuable to any organization.

Second, if you are a researcher, we believe there is much to gain from continual exposure to the problems faced by nonprofits and the people or causes they serve. If your research interests align with the aims of the nonprofit you volunteer for, there may be potential research questions and problems you might solve that you might not have been privy to without volunteering your time and interacting with subjects in the field.

Lastly, economists are humans, too. Economists do not exist in a purely rational and self-interested mindset. Therefore, we believe that economists will want to volunteer their time and effort simply because it is good to do so.