In this blog for our 20th anniversary, NPC’s newest trustee, Emily Wheeler, details why she is excited to join our board—as we prepare for our annual conference and during this milestone year for NPC. We are delighted to welcome Emily, who in 2018 was named in Civil Society’s 25 under 35 fundraisers.
As I came to the end of my tenure on the board of Nightline Association, having served as a trustee for six years, including almost three as Chair, I was excited to find the opportunity to apply to join the board at NPC. This was not only as it could allow me to put my experience to use for an organisation that seeks to maximise the social impact of philanthropists and charities, but also because such open recruitment is still rare (but needed) in much of the third sector.
As a career high-value fundraiser, I have always been a frequent user of NPC’s work, guiding both funders and charities to their excellent resources. What really drew me to the organisation was a mutual passion for uniting the sector to catalyse collaboration and share best practice and, therefore, the chance to hopefully increase my own impact through this role.
The value of young trustees
But why a trusteeship? My other passion is to see more young trustees on boards. This is not just to build the pipeline, but because young trustees can bring and develop new skills which will ultimately maximise their own impact both in and out of the sector (you can read more about this in my blog for the Association of Chairs here). While my day job is also in the charity sector, as Head of Development for the brilliant MQ Mental Health Research, the UK’s leading mental health research charity, being a young trustee allows me to strengthen my abilities in governance, critical thinking, finance, leadership, team work, and more—all things that can have a positive impact on my leadership at MQ and elsewhere.
This has been even more true over the past few years of the pandemic. Whilst so many of us experienced huge challenges, personal and professional, it also allowed for growth and learning. Being able to be a small part of supporting charities through this time, when they had never been more needed, was a privilege, a privilege now being extended through joining NPC. Their guidance through the pandemic enabled funders to improve their practice and provide quick and vital support, to those most in need.
More recently, NPC’s focus on social needs, in their ‘levelling up’ reports, has helped influence the government and opposition parties on how the levelling up agenda can best serve communities, and NPC’s innovative thinking has allowed charities and others in the social sector to embed evidence-led impact practice.
Change is the only constant. Now we enter the next age of uncertainty with war in Europe, the cost of living crisis and, as I write this, a new Prime Minister. NPC has proved, not only in the last few years but during its 20 year history, that it is responsive, agile and much needed. I am excited to be joining as we celebrate our 20th anniversary and as we look to the next 20 years ahead of us.
Learning at NPC Ignites
Finally, as I go through a thorough and extremely engaging induction with the staff at NPC, I am excited to be able to round off this first stage of learning with NPC Ignites, our annual conference, on 11, 12 and 13 October and I urge you to book your ticket and join me! For the first time since 2019, there will be an in-person day on Wednesday 12 October and I cannot wait to meet some of the staff and board in person, as well as connect with NPC’s wider networks. In this new hybrid world, you can of course join virtually for the whole conference and I look forward to seeing many of my third sector colleagues take advantage of the best of NPC at this collaborative learning opportunity.
Thank you to the staff and board for welcoming me so warmly into the charity. I look forward to continuing to learn throughout my time with NPC and hope that I can add value to the organisation and, as a result, the wider sector.