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Impacting Responsibly

May 24, 2019

Designed to help the social sector measure its impact in a responsible manner, the report, Impacting Responsibly, gathers insights from thought leaders in the fields of philanthropy, measurement, and evaluation in nine areas — impact capacity building, impact frameworks and standards, constituent feedback, current reporting burden, resource inequities, impact data ownership, roles and responsibilities, collaboration, and limits of quantitative evidence. The contributions also address questions such as: How can organizations of all sizes and budgets use impact data? How can they better engage those they serve through impact data? How should they handle privacy and data protection? And how can they collaborate to maximize what they can learn from impact data?

More than Grants: How Funders Can Support Grantee Effectiveness

December 14, 2017

Trusts and foundations are increasingly looking to become agents of social change themselves as well as funders of it—asking themselves whether providing more than direct services might make more of a difference. Two common ways that funders do this are through providing support to help organisations develop their capacity, and by using a funder's influence to advocate for change. Here we focus on the former, looking at organisational development support provided by funders from around the world—exploring the types of support given, the evidence for whether it works, and how funders can approach impact measurement.

More than Grants: How Funders Can Use Their Influence for Good

December 14, 2017

Trusts and foundations are increasingly looking to become agents of social change themselves as well as funders of it—asking themselves whether providing more than direct services might make more of a difference. Two common ways that funders do this are through providing support to help organisations develop their capacity, and by using a funder's influence to advocate for change. Here we focus on the latter, looking at influencing practices of funders from around the world—exploring the methods that these take, the evidence for whether it works and how funders can approach impact measurement.

Global Innovations in Measurement and Evaluation

June 26, 2017

We researched the latest developments in theory and practice in measurement and evaluation. And we found that new thinking, techniques, and technology are influencing and improving practice. This report highlights 8 developments that we think have the greatest potential to improve evaluation and programme design, and the careful collection and use of data. In it, we seek to inform and inspire—to celebrate what is possible, and encourage wider application of these ideas.

Charities Taking Charge: Transforming To Face A Changing world

May 24, 2017

NPC's research on the State of the Sector involving 400 charity leaders. The findings hold up a mirror to the sector and highlight examples of those charities leading the way. Many charities are getting bogged down by issues mostly out of their hands. It's true that the sector faces many challenges. But they found some examples of sector leaders taking ownership and using what's in their power to move forward. They think many other organisations can learn from this. By working collaboratively, thinking creatively, and looking afresh at their relationships and resources, there's an opportunity to flip the narrative.

Valuing Data: How to Use It in Your Grant-Making

November 2, 2016

Valuing data: How to use it in your grant-making |There are over 10,000 charitable foundations in the UK. Between them, they generate a vast amount of data. But this data has not traditionally been seen as a resource in the same way that money has been, and this is a missed opportunity. This report outlines how grant-makers can use data at both an individual and a collective level to improve their funding practice.

Giving More and Better : How Can the Philanthropy Sector Improve?

June 28, 2016

How can the philanthropy sector improve? Philanthropy has a long and rich history in the UK, but there is a need for both more and better philanthropy to unlock an additional £4bn of private wealth for public good. This report, which includes donor journeys and theories of change, is the start of a discussion about how this can be achieved.

Systems Change: A Guide To What It Is and How To Do It

June 23, 2015

Systems change has been attracting the attention of a range of progressive charities, funders and practitioners who are interested in dealing with the root causes of social problems. But while there is a buzz about a subject relatively new to the social sector, it is easy to feel frustrated by the literature—much of what is written is abstract in tone and there are few examples of success.This paper intends to address this problem and offer accessible material and recommendations for action. This systems change guide:- Clarifies what is meant by systems and systems change- Describes the main perspectives on systems change- Outlines good practice for systems change- Identifies what is and is not agreed upon by experts in the field- Provides recommendations for charities, funders and the public sector on how to act systemically.The conclusion is that although it may not be as novel as some claim, there is a good deal of value in a systems change approach and it offers a welcome reminder of what effective action looks like when it comes to the pursuit of social change.

Growing Pains: Getting past the complexities of scaling social impact

December 1, 2014

In communities across the UK, organisations develop new ideas to improve the lives of those around them. And yet despite growing demand for charity services, concerted attempts to take proven approaches to scale are few and far between, and successful examples are rarer still. This paper aims to bring about a change in tack by proposing a way of assessing the viability of scaling in different contexts.

10 Innovations in Global Philanthropy: Concepts Worth Spreading in the UK

October 8, 2014

Innovative philanthropy is essential if philanthropists, and the charities and social enterprises they fund, are to address the complex social and environmental issues we face today. Improving philanthropy is about channelling more money and better money. We have highlighted ten exciting innovations from around the world which are helping to grow philanthropy -- bringing in more money -- or to ensure resources are used more effectively -- spending money better. We worked with the world's leading philanthropy experts to identify and select these ground-breaking approaches which we believe have the potential to make the biggest difference to how the philanthropy sector works. Among other criteria, we chose innovations which can be replicated in the UK. And we focussed on giving-related innovations rather than social innovations that philanthropists can invest in. We would like to see these innovations replicated or scaled up in the UK. And we would also like to see new innovations emerging. For this to happen, we believe that greater openness, bolder leadership and a more confident approach to trying new approaches is needed.

Best to Invest? A Funders' Guide to Social Investment

July 1, 2013

Social investment offers the opportunity for socially-minded investors to increase the impact of their money. It's still early days, but already the concept has attracted much interest from funders and has the potential to help charities access long-term, affordable finance. In Best to invest? A new social investment guide for funders published today, NPC finds that the crucial 'next wave' of potential funders are being put off by the perceived complexity of social investment. People interested in social investment are being deterred, as it can be challenging to value accurately social investments in terms of the likely social and financial risk and return; the legal structures involved are complex and often bespoke for each investment; and it can be difficult to obtain investment advice, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The final barrier identified is that investment decisions tend to be outsourced to professionals who are not comfortable or familiar with the blending of the financial goals of investment with the social goals of grant-making. However, interest in social investment among funders is growing. In a time of spending cuts and austerity, many funders are seeing increasing demand for their funding to pay for services previously supported by government contracts or public donations. At the same time, many trusts and foundations have seen the return on their investments dwindle, making it harder to sustain their grant-making. In this context, social investment is an attractive prospect for funders who want to do more to support charities and social enterprises, in a way that has the potential to make both more sustainable in the long term.

Unlocking Offending Data: How Access to Offending Data Could Help Charities Improve Outcomes for Offenders

January 17, 2013

In this report, NPC finds that providing better access to offending data through a 'Justice Data Lab' would have huge benefits. The government's recent introduction of payment by results contracts means charities are under renewed pressure to prove their impact on things like reoffending. But the lab would not just be about payment by results -- it would have three other major benefits for charities: * It would help charities to prove their impact on reoffending, by showing how their users' offending behaviour changes over time, and assessing whether reductions in offending were due to the charity's support; * It would help charities to improve their impact, for instance by identifying groups that continue to reoffend in spite of support, and may need more attention; and * It would help charities to identify what works, by analysing the impact different services have on offending to identify which is most effective at reducing reoffending. In an era where government cuts to services are commonplace, the potential benefits of knowing what works are significant. If the Justice Data Lab proves a success, the concept could be adopted by other government departments in the UK and abroad. This could mean providing access to data in areas such as drug use, mental health, and housing, where there is a real need to improve our knowledge of what works. Establishing a Justice Data Lab will be complex and certainly will not happen overnight. However, we are heartened by the commitment of the Ministry of Justice and the contributions of the charities that have been involved so far. We also appreciate the tenacity of NPC in supporting the Ministry of Justice to take this challenging work forward. We are optimistic that the Justice Data Lab can be turned from concept into reality, bringing us one step nearer to the long term transformation in data sharing and improving services that we all want to see.