Not erring in our quest for better analysis

By John Copps 27 January 2010

“The more important the subject and the closer it cuts to the bone of our hopes and needs, the more we are likely to err in establishing a framework for analysis.”
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002)

It has taken a long time for people to realise and accept the benefit of rigorously analysing non-profits.

Back in 2005, NPC published its first framework for analysing charities, Funding success.

Five years later, and NPC’s work has been a small but (we think) significant part of a trend towards greater scrutiny of non-profits. Today, charities are expected to be able to demonstrate that they make a difference, and are more and more interested in what they can learn from others.

In two weeks time we publish our second version of our framework for analysing charities.

This time our framework will be published as a guide – entitled The little blue book – and is packed with examples and anecdotes from our work in the UK. It has been designed as a handy A5 booklet, which can sit happily on your desk.

Our updated framework is a collection of what we have learnt since 2001. But we know that it is by no means perfect, and nor is it the only way to analyse charities. We would be delighted to receive constructive criticism of it.

No one can dispute that charity is an important subject. For this reason, the opening quote from renowned Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould seems appropriate. By publishing our updated framework, we hope to make a contribution to a better, more self-critical charitable sector.

The Little blue book will be published on 10 February 2010. It will be available in hard copy or to download from NPC’s website. For organisations or individuals requiring multiple copies, they will be available to purchase at a price of £10 per copy.