Many issues the charity sector is trying to tackle are systemic—originating from how our society is structured, rather than any isolated factor. Systems change—or ‘systems thinking’—is a way of trying to get a handle on this complexity to bring about positive social impact. What’s more, we think it helps charities and funders to be more aware of the systems they are a part of. This way, they can be sure they are making things better, not worse, in the long run, and are working towards lasting change.
Featured resources and commentary on systems change
Systems change has been attracting the attention of those in the social sector who want to deal with the root causes of problems, but, despite the buzz, much of what is written is abstract in tone. With the support of LankellyChase Foundation we have produced this guide to plug a gap in the systems change literature—providing accessible material and recommendations for action.
We think that, applied well, theory of change can support charities and funders to take a systemic approach to their work. This report identifies five common pitfalls that organisations fall into when using theory of change, and walks through five rules of thumb that will help organisations to use the approach to tackle complex problems.
'Charities and funders don’t need to become experts in theory of change and systems change to benefit from them.' A week after we launched our new guide to theory of change for systems change, one of it's authors, Katie Boswell reflects on the process the team went through to create it, and what they learned about thinking big in pursuit of change.
Julian Corner Chief Executive of the Lankelly Chase Foundation argues that as change rarely comes in the form we expect, our strategies to achieve it should be just as flexible.
Charities and funders seem to be missing from all the parties' manifestos in the 2019 general election, but they will be a vital partner for any future government. NPC Head of Policy Leah Davis introduces our manifesto, which explores the openness required for the future relationship to have impact.
State of the sector, our comprehensive survey of the opinions of charity leaders is returning for 2020. Theo Clay, lead researcher on the project sets out what's changed, what's stayed the same, and what we hope to achieve.
After a period focused on outsourcing, some in local government seem to be taking services back in house. Why is this happening and is there a danger charities will be cut out of providing vital services.
Becky Elton, Executive Director of Operations at Changing Lives shares the lessons she's learnt about system change.
The NPC team provide recommendations on what books to read this summer.
Our letter to the incoming Minister for Civil Society (and former NPC staffer), Diana Barran.
Here NPC's Chief Executive Dan Corry provides highlights from his work on the recent Charity Tax Commission report.
Organisations like Extinction Rebellion are pushing the concept of systems change, which the social sector has been using for some time, up the agenda. So what lessons can we offer on the subject?
How can funders boost the capacity of charities and communities advocating for change?
Labour launched its own Civil Society Strategy this week. Here Tom Collinge, NPC Media and Communications Manager draws out what this means for charities and funders.
The role of funders in tackling social problems is increasingly under public scrutiny. With power comes responsibility, but you must recognise you have power before you can be fully aware of how far your responsibilities extend.
Jane Thomas, of the Brexit Civil Society Alliance, explores the Brexit related issues the Alliance is hearing discussed by third sector and civil society organisations around the country.