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Our mission is to help philanthropists and the charity sector to maximise social impact in the lives of the people they serve.
Through our think tank and consultancy work, we provide a challenging and independent voice that inspires bold initiatives and much needed innovation in the social sector. We help charities, philanthropists and funders to move from ‘in principle’ to ‘in practice’. We develop and encourage the take up of new ideas and strategic leadership to help the social sector overcome the everchanging challenges they and their beneficiaries face.
Highlights of our year:
Highlights of our Covid-19 response
- As the Covid crisis hit, we published free guidance for philanthropists, charities and trustees on how to respond and what they should be thinking for the medium-long-term. We ran sessions for funders to share their experiences and consider new ways to meet this emergency need. We continue to publish guidance on how to adapt different processes as the crisis lengthens, to help charities respond in a way that best supports the people they serve.
- We built an interactive Covid-19 data dashboard to help charities and funders assess need, risk, and availability of charitable help for Covid-19, building on the success of our ‘Where are England’s Charities?’research. Parastou Youssefi, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, described our data dashboard as “one of the best resources I’ve seen globally that aims to track areas of greatest need in our communities due to coronavirus. A clear, aggregated, data-driven view of the people and places that need extra support is particularly needed right now as charities and donors struggle with prioritization of resources and efforts.”
The project helped some see where they were going wrong. Richard at Sortified, said “My views on where needs were in Greater Lincolnshire had been incorrect, and as a result I had been aiming support at some of the wrong places, and not supporting places where need really was.”
- We contributed to Danny Kruger MP’s review of the role of civil society in Britain’s coronavirus recovery. Many of our recommendations were taken up, and our work was directly cited. We continue to track government response to the Covid crisis and how it affects the social sector in particular.
Other highlights of our work
- We have become synonymous with Theory of Change, helping raise its profile and take up across the UK social sector. We recently published our new Theory of Change in Ten Steps guide, which is simple to follow and based on everything we’ve learnt from helping charities develop their strategies and plans. This was followed by Understanding Impact, an update to our evaluation and measurement guidance. As a result of our work, theories of change have been taken up more widely across the social sector over the last ten years, encouraging a more strategic and evidence-led approach to delivering positive impact for people and communities.
- We started the Data Labs initiative, which enables charities to evaluate their impact by comparing their outcomes to a virtual control group using government data. This helps charities to better understand and report their impact without it taking additional internal resource that they may not be able to afford. We’ve learnt from the justice data lab what works and what’s more difficult and are using this learning to gain traction for similar data labs in education and health. We have inspired similar initiatives around the world, from Israel to Canada and the USA.
- We’ve developed a simple light-touch framework for assessing impact investments. We help investors achieve positive change in communities through strategy, theory of change, and social impact due diligence.
- Through our work on the Transition Advice Fund we helped build the capacity of the charity sector to support EU citizens who need help to secure their rights in the UK. We also helped the sector prepare for Brexit more broadly, such as through joint events with the Brexit Civil Society Alliance.
- We published our Framework for Place, based on common characteristics we’ve identified from our consulting and think tank work. This has already started to influence how local organisations work together to achieve better outcomes for their community.
- We’ve worked as an evaluation and learning partner on multiple big projects, including the Coronavirus Community Support Fund and the Building Connections Fund, representing the unique experience of charities, which can be lost when delivered by private sector consultancies.
- We started NPC Labs, an open innovation space for collaborative working, which provides transparency around how we and others deliver on projects – encouraging shared learning and helping limit mistakes being repeated by others delivering similar projects.
- We continue to run a range of free and paid-for training events and topical debates, that provide charities, funders and philanthropists with up to date knowledge and skills that help maximise impact for people and communities.
Read our strategy and theory of change for more on how we seek to transform the charity sector. Sign up to our NPC Newsletter to stay up to date with our work, and complete our NPC survey to share your views. Explore more of our practical resources and thought leading blogs, debate the big ideas at our events, and gain bespoke support through our consulting.
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NPC's positive influence on encouraging impact evaluation stands out as a key achievement.
Our previous annual reports can be read below: