Social Investment

Tiny plant shoots growing in a nursery tray

Social Investment

nfpResearch cares deeply about charity. Quite simply, we do this work because we believe in the projects that we work on. We want to help good organisations to thrive.

Delivering high-quality research to clients is the cornerstone of what we do – but this is neither the beginning nor the end of our charitable mission.

Our social investment programme is the golden thread running through every element of nfpResearch, ensuring that all of our activities are beneficial to the sector as a whole.
We contribute to social investment in three broad ways:

  • By sharing the fruits of our research
  • By working in partnership with the sector 
  • By creating a happy and committed workplace


Sharing Research

At the heart of our social investment programme are the free resources that we publish on our website. These range from research reports to editorials to briefings, and together they amount to an evolving library of over 150 freely accessible, high-quality resources. 
Topics on which we have produced reports include:

  • Branding
  • Fundraising
  • Volunteering
  • Innovation
  • Building trust and confidence
  • Specific charity sectors (such as the children’s sector)
  • Grant making from applicant and funder perspective 

We produce these free reports, editorials and presentations to help small charities (often with little or no budget for research) to benefit from our wealth of data and knowledge of the third sector. We also blog every week on the key issues facing the sector, attracting thousands of readers every month.

Partnerships in the sector

The charity sector is an ecosystem – one that thrives on connection, communication, and the sharing of knowledge. With this in mind, nfpResearch does more than just publish resources. We engage directly with the sector to share our expertise among the broadest possible audience.

Down the years, this sectoral support has taken many forms. Here’s a small selection of examples.

The Small Charity Research Award

nfpResearch has launched its first Small Charity Research Award. This is an opportunity for a charity (or CIC) with an income under £1 million / €1 million to receive a £10,000 research project for free. The nfpResearch team will work closely with the successful charity to design a research project to fulfil your charity and research objectives. Read our announcement of the award here.

Applications for 2023 have closed, and the winner will be announced soon. Consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter to stay updated with dates for next year's award.


Investment in worthwhile organisations

Over the years nfpResearch has lent pro bono support to numerous charities and sector bodies whose work we believe in. Throughout its early years, we helped to incubate CharityComms, an organisation that does vital work improving communications in the sector. Our investment amounted to over £100k in direct funding or in-kind support. We have also provided free office space for the Association of Volunteer Managers. 

What’s more, where a particular research project sparks our interest, we are prepared to get behind it. For instance, we conducted pro bono research for the Institute of Fundraising into text message donations, culminating in the publication of a freely available report that revolutionised the relationship between mobile network providers and the charity sector.


Ethical Leadership

The world is changing, and charity has to change with it. At nfpResearch we are committed to putting our values into action to create a more ethical and just sector. In 2022 we launched our commitment to become carbon neutral by the end of the year. We are also leading the way in improving the links between charities, researchers and marginalised groups, publishing pioneering research into under-represented audiences such as minority ethnic and LGBTQ+ communities. 


nfpResearch runs regular events for clients where we present our latest ideas and research. As part of our social mission, we ensure that a fair proportion of the places on these events are reserved for small charities, free of charge.

We also run free workshops and provide talks designed to help regional and rural charities. We have hosted more than a dozen of these in recent years, taking in locations as diverse as Bournemouth, Slough, Llandudno, Edinburgh and Dublin.

Social investment in the workplace

One of the key resources we can contribute at nfpResearch is the passion and knowledge of our workforce. Every member of staff comes to us with different social commitments, and in the course of working here they develop different areas of expertise.
To make the most of this, we maintain a pot of 100 volunteering days every year where staff can take paid time off help at their chosen charity. In the past, staff volunteering has taken many forms, including:

  • Regular work for the British Red Cross, in Refugee Services at the Hackney Destitution Resource Centre
  • A trustee at Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)
  • Volunteering for Fringe! Fest - a not-for-profit film and arts festival
  • Volunteering for Trees for Cities and Brownies
  • Volunteering for The Silverline and St. Mungo's

We also match all staff payroll charity donations and donations raised by staff for charitable events.