About NPC

Our flagship publications

WMAGC cover 2What makes a good charity?

What makes a good charity? is our practical, step-by-step guide to analysing charities’ effectiveness. Charity analysis can support charities and social enterprises to improve, enabling them to achieve more for the causes they are set up to serve. It can help charities review their performance and also helps funders make decisions about where to focus support. The guide is essential reading for charity leaders, trustees, grant-makers, philanthropists and anyone interested in helping charities to become better.

ToC coverTheory of change: The beginning of making a difference

A theory of change is a tool that shows a charity’s path from needs to activities to outcomes to impact. A few years ago, the term meant little to the UK charity sector—but today, more and more charities are using theories of change, and increasing numbers of funders are asking to see them. Our most popular report—having received close to 25,000 downloads—Theory of change explains the origins of the technique, and discusses how it can be used by charities to clarify strategy and measure impact.

four pillarsNPC’s four pillar approach

At NPC we believe in impact measurement as a way for charities and funders to increase their effectiveness. We know it helps organisations improve what they do and deliver the best results for their beneficiaries. Here we publish our four pillar approach, which provides clear and practical guidance on developing an impact measurement framework. Here we publish our four pillar approach, which provides clear and practical guidance on developing an impact measurement framework.

Making an impactMaking an impact

Ten years ago, critics dismissed impact measurement as too difficult, misleading, or simply not important. Today, 75% of charities measure some or all of their work, and nearly three-quarters have invested more in measuring results over the past five years. NPC surveyed 1,000 charities to understand what has changed in charities’ impact measurement practices, the drivers behind it, and the benefits and challenges that it brings.


 Keeping accountKeeping account: A guide to charity financial analysis

Charities confront a hostile financial environment, with many facing increasing difficulty in bridging the gap between rising demand for their services and falling income levels. With charity expenditure perennially under the spotlight, concern over administration costs and chief executive salaries are adding to pressure. Against this background, understanding balance sheets and financial risk has never been more important. In this report, we think about how charities should manage themselves and spend their resources.

10 innovations10 innovations in global philanthropy

Philanthropy has never been so important to address the complex social and environmental issues we face. In this report, we highlight ten exciting innovations from around the world which are helping to grow philanthropy both in scale and by ensuring resources are used most effectively. We worked with the world’s leading philanthropy experts to identify and select these ground-breaking approaches which have the potential to make the biggest impact on how philanthropy works.

Systems changeSystems change: What it is and how to do it

Systems change has been attracting the attention of a range of progressive charities, funders and practitioners who are interested in dealing with the root causes of social problems. But while there is a buzz about a subject relatively new to the social sector, it is easy to feel frustrated by the literature—much of what is written is abstract in tone and there are few examples of success. We produced this paper to address this problem and offer accessible material and recommendations for action.

Money for good

Money for good UK

Donations from individuals are crucial for charities’ survival. But what do donors think about when deciding where and how much to give? And what would inspire them to give more? This report explores the habits, attitudes and motivations of the UK’s donors. It highlights the lack of a culture of giving in the UK, and shows that donors find it hard to understand where their money goes, and whether the charities they support really make a difference.  understand where their money goes, and whether the charities they support really make a difference.  

Smart money

Smart money: Understanding the impact of social investment

Social investment or impact investing is designed to achieve social impact through financial investment. Smart social investment can bring money to address some of our most enduring social problems. But the pressure is on to prove that these results are achieved. This paper shares our lessons learnt so far and builds on our experience in the social sector to suggest how we might achieve better impact measurement for social investment in the future.

Mind the gap: What the public thinks about charities

At NPC we strive to help charities and funders be as effective as possible, so that their efforts go further for the people and the causes they serve. For this reason, we were keen to better understand how the public feels about the sector they support as donors, volunteers and taxpayers, and to understand the effect—if any—of negative media coverage on their perceptions. This paper explores whether recent attacks on charities from politicians and the media have adversely affected the public’s attitude to the sector.

Tech for common good cover

Tech for common good

Digital technology presents a unique and under-exploited opportunity to address the systemic issues the social sector faces. While charities and businesses are increasingly awakening to the need to engage with digital technology, the pace of change demanded cannot be achieved one organisation at a time. This paper makes the case for a collective approach to digital transformation in the social sector to help effectively tackle social problems.  social sector to help effectively tackle social problems.

Untapped potential_cover

Untapped potential

In October 2014 the NHS Five Year Forward View  set out an ambitious agenda for making our health and care system more person-centred, more embedded in our communities, and more effective at promoting health and wellbeing. We believe that the voluntary sector has a vital role to play in this. This research, conducted on behalf of the Richmond Group of Charities, aims to bring the voluntary sector’s strengths to health and care transformation, and to shape health and care system reform by showcasing the voluntary and community sector’s value add.

Creating a 'data lab'

Creating a ‘data lab’

Most funders and not-for-profit providers recognise the importance of measuring the impact of interventions on beneficiaries. The government has set the agenda to open up and encourage use of its datasets, and a number of organisations and initiatives have been established to make data more accessible. Our Data Labs project aims to open up government administrative data to the not-for-profit sector to help organisations better understand the impact of their services on beneficiaries.


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