Our past and our future maximising the sector’s social impact

By Emily Allen 31 March 2022 3 minute read

I wonder if you can remember what you were doing in March 2002? Here at NPC, this March marked 20 years of our organisation, and two decades of innovating, influencing and helping the charity and philanthropy sector to improve.

On 24 March 2022, we held a celebratory virtual event with former and current NPC trustees. Danielle Walker Palmour, founding Director of Friends Provident Foundation and a trustee of NPC in its earlier days, chatted to Fran Perrin, who has been an NPC trustee for many years, and Albert Tucker, who joined our board more recently in 2021. Our panel discussed the journey NPC has taken from its establishment to the present day, how we have built our reputation as the think tank and consultancy for the social sector, and the influence that our innovations have had and will continue to have as the sector faces the challenges of the future.

Continuing to evolve

I, like Albert, am a relative newcomer to the NPC story, having joined almost a year ago. I was drawn to NPC’s position at the crux of charities and philanthropists, and I was keen to hear from Danielle, Albert, and Fran about NPC’s growth over the years. From primarily advising philanthropists, to subsequently working closely with charities, foundations, philanthropists, impact investors, social enterprises, corporates, and the public sector to maximise social impact in the lives of the people they serve.

As a newcomer, learning only recently about our history, I am fascinated to see how NPC will continue to evolve and take on issues that will face the charity sector in the future. I am particularly inspired by the growth of trust-based philanthropy and how the practice surged forward at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, at a time of great uncertainty and need. I believe there is great opportunity in carrying this practice forward—flexible funding processes in response to the covid crisis put funders and grantees on a more equal footing, working as partners with common goals in mind. I hope that over the course of my time at NPC, I will see more trust-based giving and more goals being realised through the flexible use of the funder’s resources and the charity’s activities.

How the sector has changed over 20 years

The world in which NPC operates has changed a lot in 20 years, and NPC’s work now directly addresses issues that were not part of the conversation at our birth. Taking action against climate change and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, are two issues that are rightly far more ingrained in the sector’s consciousness than in 2002, as our Chief Executive, Dan Corry, highlighted at our recent event. A core aim of NPC is, and will continue to be, to try and change the conversation and the culture within the charity and philanthropy sector.

Reflecting on NPC’s past, whilst looking towards how NPC can continue to innovate with the social sector over the coming decades, encompassed the whole discussion at our event. What really resonated with me though was a viewpoint that Albert touched upon, of NPC being in a unique position to offer information to people who don’t usually have access to it, in order to make genuine change. As discussed by all our participants, there is fantastic energy and appetite for societal change around the globe, particularly amongst socially aware Millennials and Generation Z, and harnessing that energy to continue strengthening the dialogue between charities and philanthropists offers immense potential going forward.

Excited for what the future holds

What truly unites those who work in NPC’s sphere, as Fran asserted, is an impatience to help charities more and a desire to maximise every penny given by philanthropy. Within NPC’s fundraising team, I am excited for what the future holds, and I am keen to see a network of next-generation philanthropists grow and to help NPC to continue to facilitate conversations about philanthropic best practice.

As we look ahead with anticipation to NPC’s future, we invite you to join us on the next stage of our journey. Your donation to NPC’s 20th anniversary fund will enable us to rise to the challenges of the future and ensure that we are able to work for charities of all sizes, pursuing initiatives like open philanthropy, and innovations in data and digital. We are determined to help more charities improve, influence more policymakers, and ultimately support more groups in need than ever before—including by growing our library of free resources and providing free access to events and training opportunities wherever cost is a barrier. We are excited to announce that all donations up to a total of £200,000 will be doubled, as some of our trustees have agreed to provide match-funding in this landmark year. We warmly encourage you to help NPC ring in the next 20 years and consider donating here.

How has the social sector changed over the last 20 years? This year marks 20 years of NPC Click To Tweet


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