Building powerful philanthropy

Effective philanthropy is in NPC’s DNA. We were set up by philanthropists and we count some of the world’s most progressive philanthropists and funders among our supporters and clients.

Over 15 years we have assisted many philanthropists and funders on their philanthropy journey—some at the early stages in terms of strategic philanthropy advice i.e. developing a strategy and approach, and others with detailed philanthropy impact research and charity evaluation analysis so that funding is targeted effectively.

We know from feedback that our work influences the approach of funders we work with. In some the research has led to practical action, such as the set-up of the National Numeracy Trust or the Children and Young People’s mental health coalition. We have also supported the development of influential funders, including the Stone Family Foundation, Private Equity Foundation (now merged into Impetus-PEF) and Synchronicity Earth.

Creating access for all

Via our downloadable publications, charity conferences, training and events we make the knowledge gained through our charity sector research and experiences available to all so anyone can draw on it freely. For instance providing a step-by-step guide to charity analysis, helping funders engage with impact measurement, and helping funders think through the benefits and risks of social investment.

Our research and analysis of different sectors helps philanthropists and funders engage with the key issues, and provides insight into where their charitable giving and funding can make a difference, whilst also providing focus on socially responsible investing. Charity begins at home was our first sector report, published in 2003 and provided the inspiration for one of the authors, Diana Barran MBE, to go on to set up domestic violence charity Safelives.

NPC is one of the names most regularly referenced as leading the thinking in strategic and impactful philanthropy.

Cheryl Chapman, Managing Editor, Philanthropy UK

Challenging thinking and bringing new ideas

We also want to inspire funders and philanthropists to push the boundaries and look for new ways to increase impact, for instance through our work on exciting innovations from around the world, how grant-makers can use data to improve their funding practice, and systems change. At times we bring funders together to drive approaches forward. Working with a group of research and funding partners, we have published our case for a collective approach to digital transformation and are convening groups of interested parties to put collective digital transformation projects into practice.

Improving and increasing charitable giving

Beyond supporting funders we make interventions where we think the impact of the sector as a whole could be improved.

Most recently, in 2015–2016 we worked alongside philanthropists, charity advisors and academics, to explore how the philanthropy sector could improve. The discussions were published as Giving more and better, and have formed the basis of an ongoing conversation about a collaborative effort to increase and improve philanthropy impact.

We have worked to grow and improve the availability of philanthropy advice, so that more people are encouraged and supported to give effectively. Our 2010 report exploring how to stimulate the provision and take up of philanthropy advice resulted in the set-up of the Philanthropy Advisors Forum, which later joined forces with other organisations to become Philanthropy Impact.

Our analysis of how charitable funders share knowledge identified a key gap, so we worked with ACF and other partners to pilot a knowledge-sharing site, which today still exists as the Funder Network.