Where it all began
The idea for NPC was hatched by the well-known economist and then Goldman Sachs partner, Gavyn Davies, and his fellow partner, Peter Wheeler.
Reflecting on their decision to found NPC, Davies says: ‘In financial markets in the late 1990s there was an enormous industry dedicated to putting capital to use where it gets the highest returns. So why couldn’t the same be true of philanthropy? We found there wasn’t enough information produced in a hardheaded, independent, high-quality way.’
Davies and Wheeler proceeded to find like-minded donors to join them and, in 2002, NPC was registered and launched as a charity. Peter Wheeler, and founding trustee Harvey McGrath, remain on our board today.
How we’ve developed
From those early days NPC has evolved dramatically, responding to our successes and failures, what we found to be making a difference, and changes in the external environment.
A strategic rethink in 2008–2009 laid the foundations for NPC today. From this we made major changes including working with charities, investing in building measurement expertise, and recognising the power of our communications in influencing the debate. We started to diversify our funding sources to remove reliance on our founders and research funding, which led to the development of our consulting services and programme of events.
Throughout, at our core, has been our dedication to:
Our approach has encompassed working with individual organisations, sharing our knowledge widely, influencing the environment so it is supportive, and innovating with new approaches.
Where we are now
15 years on, NPC has grown into a respected consultancy and think tank. We sit at the nexus between charities and funders, and our work spans the charity sector.
We are proud that over our first decade and a half we have persuaded the sector to embrace impact as a key measure of success. Our mission has been to challenge thinking and practice, and provide guidance and tools so that charities and funders can achieve the most with their limited resources. We are a critical friend of the sector, respected for our rigour and our knowledge and understanding of funders and charities alike.
Where we’re heading
This history of achievement is no cause for rest, but a platform to continue to challenge. In the coming 15 years, the most ambitious leaders in the sector will demand new approaches to achieving change. Incremental improvements in practice are important, but significant progress will come from systems change, innovation, prevention and early intervention, application of data, and digital technologies. It will require new alliances and bold leadership. NPC understands this and is uniquely placed to help drive this change and forge these transformational approaches and alliances—whilst retaining our focus on impact above all else.