We’ve just launched our NPC Ignites programme for 2018. If you’ve not been before, Ignites is the conference where we inform, challenge, and most of all, try to inspire the brightest people in the sector. Our goal is that when you leave, you go with the spark of motivation, and the beginning of the ideas, you need to help change the world.

How does a conference achieve this? By raising the biggest issues and opportunities the sector faces and pairing them with leaders from a range of fields, who can bring a diverse range of solutions to bear.

People like Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta. He’ll be giving a keynote speech about the changing power dynamics all over the world, what it means for society and what kind of place charities might be able to carve out in the future.

Change is often driven by technology, so we’ve brought together Tom Steinberg, Digital Transformation Lead at the Big Lottery Fund; Julie Wilson-Dodd, Director of Digital Transformation and Communication at Parkinson’s UK; and Fran Perrin, Founder & Director of Indigo Trust. Three leading experts in digital who will share how it’s potential can better be harnessed.

Away from tech, collaboration is currently a hot topic in the sector. Can we overcome the practical and institutional barriers and achieve a lot more through working together? We’re pulling together the team from our recent mergers report, Sarah Lindsell, Chief Executive of The Brain Tumour Charity and Duncan Shrubsole, Director of Policy, Partnerships & Communications at Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales to discuss and ask; is collaboration improving or wasting resources?

Another trend is the need to work with the state and other public service providers. When we get it right it’s one of the most powerful ways to achieve systemic change and really have an impact but there are many pitfalls.  The Richmond Group, made up of 16 of the UK’s biggest health charities, are currently trialling place-based collaboration with the health service in Somerset. Their partnerships director Dr Charlotte Augst will be discussing lessons learnt with NPC’s Head of Policy, Nathan Yeowell, who himself led place-based work in local government as one of the authors of The Sutton Plan.

We can’t ignore the challenge of trust, and the seemingly annual cycle of negative stories about charities. One potential solution is that charities must become much more transparent to the public. We’ll be discussing what public attitudes are, and whether this would work, with Gideon Skinner, Research Director of pollsters Ipsos Mori and Alan Gosschalk, Director of Fundraising at Plan International UK.

Another potential solution to the problem of trust is better governance. Good governance should prevent scandals but that shouldn’t be all it brings to a charity. The question is, do we have governance that listens to beneficiaries, promotes diversity and understand the issues the sector faces? Sarah Broad, Chief Operating Officer at NPC will discuss that and more with Peter Olawaye, Trustee of Leap Confronting Conflict.

These are just some of the things we will be talking about at Ignites, there are so many topics we will explore and there’s not space for it all here, so we recommend you check out the full programme. Super-early-bird tickets at a special introductory rate are currently available, so ask yourself ‘where will my next great idea come from?’ and book now.

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