Just a month ago, we celebrated NPC’s 20th anniversary, kicking off a year of exploration, events, publications, knowledge-sharing opportunities and more. We’ve all been reflecting on where we’ve come from as an organisation, taking honest stock of our current position (with the help of many friends made along the way), and keeping an eye firmly held on the future. The path certainly hasn’t been linear since 2002, but the desire to maximise social impact has been resolute.
So, with challenges and needs currently incredibly high across the UK and beyond, how do we ensure that NPC is able to rise to the occasion and innovate, influence those in decision-making positions, and improve conditions for the entire social sector and those it serves?
Creating solutions to the issues of today and tomorrow
Of course, having spent the past year as NPC’s Head of Fundraising (maternity cover) and now happily spending a bit longer with NPC as Head of Philanthropy, this question has dominated many of my waking hours. One thing that has become abundantly clear to me; while NPC packs a serious punch as the social sector’s leading think tank and consultancy, many of the partners who work with us every day, or perhaps benefit from our free resources, tools or events, aren’t aware that we are a charity and share the same struggles to secure funding.
For an organisation of ‘do-ers’, the sheer possibility of where and how NPC can work to make a difference is hugely motivating, if not often overwhelming! How can we build on two decades of learning and progress, to keep shifting the dial for our communities, in the toughest fundraising climate of our organisation’s lifetime? Well, on our 20th anniversary we are looking to create solutions for the issues of today and tomorrow, and so NPC’s 20th anniversary fund, or the ‘Future Fund’, has been born.
NPC’s 20th anniversary fund
NPC’s Future Fund will provide the space to explore, develop, test and launch innovations which will allow people, places and the planet to thrive for years to come. Support for the Future Fund is support for the development of ideas and programmes which will go on to hopefully be adopted by many, shaping our world, and impacting countless lives by lessening the burdens on others and clearing obstacles in their paths. We are so excited to share that there has already been early support, and we have the incredible seal of approval from several of our trustees, who are match-funding the first £200,000 of donations. That means that donations to the 20th anniversary fund will be doubled, multiplying the opportunity for impact. We need the space to dream, invent and test the waters for tomorrow’s solutions, and we hope you can join us for the journey.
What does this mean for the NPC of 2023? 2024? 2025?
The Future Fund will empower our vision for people in need to be more effectively supported through data-driven decision-making and digital tools. For one, we know that there is incredible untapped potential for our Local needs databank, with possibilities for this tool to inform and improve data usage among small charities and beyond. We are also working hard to build digital tools that can fundamentally change the way young people access services in their communities. Charities and those they serve deserve robust, sound data and effective digital tools, and we are determined to continue building the resources and skills required to help make that a reality.
Personally, I hope to see NPC grow its network and convening power in the coming years, using that privilege to continue making space for those individuals, groups and small charities who have previously been massively underrepresented and haven’t had a seat at the table. I want to see the microphone handed over to those with lived experience. Better yet, I’m hugely excited by the fact that funding innovation in our sector allows the chance to totally uproot and rebuild those tables—or whatever takes their place! NPC’s Open Philanthropy programme (which happened to spark my own interest in joining NPC) is a prime example of the type of work that the Future Fund will enable, and aims to turn traditional philanthropy on its head. The programme’s initial focus will be on supporting those facing financial hardship.
Our Future Fund channels your worries, concerns and frustrations into opportunities to create tools that alter our society and planet for the better. We work hard to ensure that the experience, knowledge and tenacious curiosity of NPC and our partners improves daily life for those who need it most. Though progress can be frustratingly slow, there can also be meteoric phases of improvement—with the freedom provided by funding often being the necessary catalyst. When people are empowered to do their best work, and to convene with the voices who so desperately need to be heard, the dial can start to shift for everyone.
If you are in a position to support innovation through NPC’s 20th anniversary fund, please reach out to me. Or spread the word and get involved in our initiatives. When it comes to maximising social impact, we know that we are all much stronger together!