One of the organization's largest programs in Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood provides academic support to over 800 youth.
A major part of the program involves over 200 volunteer tutors with varying competencies in different subjects, varying preferences regarding student age group, and varying weekly availabilities. Manually producing a schedule to meet the forecast demand had been a significant challenge, often taking up several days of work.
We designed a web application that allowed staff to input volunteer data, specify demands, and, with the click of a button, get the optimal schedule within 30 seconds. The interface allowed staff to make changes to the schedule and see immediately how their changes affect subject coverage.
The scheduling problem was modelled mathematically as a mixed-integer programming problem.
Plank has helped us run our program more effectively and efficiently, saving us on average 30 hours every semester — time that we now use to enhance our services and engage with our volunteers and students!
— Volunteer Manager