Faculties and research

Charity Talks

Charity Talks are one of our most popular offerings, with over 10,000 attendees since they were founded 25 years ago. The next series launches in October 2017 and runs until July 2018. The series are curated and chaired by Professor Ian Bruce CBE, President of the Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School. They take place at Cass, 106 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8TZ, starting at 6 for 6.30pm.

Each Talk consists of four parts:

  • Presentation – by a leading figure in the sector of a current key issue facing people in nonprofit organisations.
  • Response – from a top academic or consultant broadening out the topic to develop the issues and offering guidance for action.
  • Discussion – an opportunity for the audience to question, debate and share their ideas.
  • Buffet reception – a chance to meet and talk with the speakers and colleagues from other similar organisations.

The talks in the 2017/18 series will take place as follows:

Wednesday 25 October 2017:

The New Economy of Free Work – the role of charities in a post-employment world

Charles Handy CBE, Humanitarian thinker and author

Dr Justin Davis-Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School, City, University of London

Known for his radical, humanistic analysis, Charles Handy will be looking to the near future. We heard predictions of unemployment in the 1980s, but the rapid expansion of the application of AI (artificial intelligence) and robotisation in the last five years means this era will be with us sooner than we think. For many, work gives meaning to life. How do charities prepare for this? What can we offer the workless population? How do we re-organise?

Putting the current position and charities’ plans for the future into perspective is Justin Davis Smith, immediate past Chief Executive of Volunteering England (now part of NCVO) and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School.

You will be the first to hear Charles’ developing ideas on this subject.

*The above talk has already taken place

Wednesday 21 February 2018:

Good Practice Now: What have been the effective changes to running charities over the last 25 years

Professor Ian Bruce CBE, President, Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School, City University London

Professor Paul Palmer, Director, Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School, City University London

As chair or speaker at every Charity Talk, Prof Ian Bruce has heard over 150 charity chief executives and responders present and has gained a unique knowledge of changes and progression in nonprofit management and leadership over the past 25 years. In addition, he has lectured on the Charities Masters programme for 22 years. During this Charity Talk he will share lessons learned and conclusions on trends which are and should be directing charities today.

Wednesday 25 April 2018:

Managing and leading inside nonprofits

Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive, Stroke Association

Professor Marianne Lewis, Dean and Professor of Management, Cass Business School

Managing and leading in a charity is a tough job, not just at the top but at all levels. The theory is fine but often it doesn’t take account of the competing demands placed on us. Our two speakers have a wealth of experience to share. Juliet Bouverie, for two years CEO of the Stroke Association was previously a senior manager at Macmillan. She has also worked at the British Red Cross in strategy and service evaluation, the Community Development Foundation in fundraising and in a political consultancy firm.

Marianne Lewis is Dean of Cass Business School and Professor of Management. She is an international thought leader in the field of leadership and organisational paradoxes. Change and complexity accentuate tensions – competing demands, contradictory pressures and challenging double-binds. Her research applies a provocative paradox lens to such domains as organisational change, governance, and innovation. This relatively new way at looking at organisation and leadership has a lot to tell us about how to be successful in charities and other nonprofits.

Wednesday 11 July 2018:

Helen Stephenson CBE, CEO, Charity Commission

Caroline Copeman, Consultant, Cass CCE

Helen Stephenson joined the Charity Commission as CEO in July 2017. Helen has extensive experience of senior leadership across the public and voluntary sectors, having previously served as Director of Early Years and Childcare at the Department of Education and Director of the Office for Civil Society.

Helen has also filled senior roles at the Big Lottery Fund and the Shaftesbury Society and was, chair of the National Childbirth Trust and a member of the Advisory Council of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The topic for this Charity Talk is to be confirmed, please check back here for further details in the coming weeks.


Following the first talk, you are able to book for individual talks at £35 each.

Please use the red button to the right of this page to book on to individual talks (£35 each) via our e-store payments site.

At each talk, there will also be a plenary discussion for sharing views and experiences and a reception with an opportunity to network. Refreshments and wine are included in the price.

Charity Talks Archive