Sector Development, Research, Statistics

The collecting, sharing and use of data to improve performance across voluntary organisations is on Knowledge and data sharing page.

See Research Resources for help with doing your own research.

Statistics

NB. This section was previously a separate page, with data put together when sector stats were hard to find on the web.

Scoping the sector is a developing field. There is no single definitive source, or a definitive definition of what the voluntary sector covers (see Glossary for some suggestions).

For instance, ‘registered charities’ will not cover all the small community organisations which aren’t registered in any way, or not-for-profits which don’t fall within the charitable definition (e.g. because their primary aim includes campaigning).

Key sources of charity statistics

General

Specific topics, regions

  • Sector bodies in English regions, and counties, have undertaken a variety of studies. See Local contacts for where to go to find out latest position.

Sector Development

RSA Project 2001 This ran pilot projects in Yorkshire and London, supporting voluntary organisations “in providing a quality learning experience for volunteers, committee members and staff”. The resulting report Making it Work – Learning and Accreditation in the Voluntary Sector, (Mar 01) costs £5 including p&p from 020 7451 6833.

Research Bodies, Think Tanks

  • ARVAC (Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector) aims to increase effectiveness through research, and provide researchers with a supportive network. Acts as a resource for people interested in research in or on community organisations.
  • CAF Research Programme Has Charity Trends website, with research and analysis of data on the sector. This includes: payroll giving, gift aid, income from central government and health authorities, trends in individual giving, local/community income. Free printed copies from CAF Research, phone 01732 520125, email: research@caf.charitynet.orgCAF does/supports various other research. Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4TA, phone 01732 520000.
  • Centre for Civil Society at LSE closed September 2010, but some of its extensive list of publications is still available. The connected Centre for the study of Global Governance, which produced a Global Civil Society Yearbook, also closed July 2011.
  • Centre for Government and Charity Management, London South Bank University. Extends to social enterprise; current and recent masters dissertations on various charity topics available.
  • Centre for Voluntary Sector Research at Sheffield Hallam University. Undertakes contract research for organisations.
  • Civil Exchange “is a think tank that exists to help government and the voluntary sector work better together”.
  • DANGO (Database of Archives of Non-Governmental Organisations) was tackling the availability of records relating to non-governmental organisations and pressure groups active in the UK since 1945, to help assess the impact of such bodies on society. Ended 2007 – see NGOs in Britain below.
  • EMES European Network studies third sector, social enterprises etc.
  • European Research Network on Philanthropy Also see their LinkedIn page.
  • The Evidence Library has been set up by Scottish umbrella body SCVO to “provide a resource for discovering new research, finding out the latest facts and figures and stimulating ideas”.
  • The Galileo Group (not the international investment company) is an independent scholarly community of academics and practitioners whose main interest is to explore the way in which theories can be developed and applied to problems of organisation and management in the voluntary sector.
  • HistPhil is a web publication on the history of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, with a particular emphasis on how history can shed light on contemporary philanthropic issues and practice.
  • Institute for Jewish Policy Research has undertaken studies on governance, resources etc. within the jewish voluntary sector.
  • Institute for Voluntary Action Research, developed out of Aston Centre for Voluntary Action Research, Aston Business School.
  • Institute for Volunteering Research.
  • nfpSynergy, a commercial business, aims to “provide ideas, insights and information to help not for profit organisations thrive in a changing world.”
  • NGOS in Britain (Non-Governmental Organisations UK 1945-1997 – also this link) at Birmingham Centre for Contemporary History. Project was due to run to 2011.
  • OPM (was Office for Public Management) has Voluntary and Community Sector as one its area of work – evaluations and more.
  • Third Sector Development Unit, University of Teesside – possibly now part of Social Futures Institute.
  • Third Sector Research Centre (government/ESRC funded 2008-14).
  • The Royal Irish Academy did have a Third Sector Research Programme but no sign on the website from spring 2013.
  • UK Voluntary Sector Research Group (UKVSRG) brings together the researchers of the four national sector bodies (see Support Bodies page). Wales – WCVA supports sector research and networking. Scotland – try SCVO’s Evidence Library.
  • Voluntary Action History Society aims to advance the historical understanding and analysis of voluntary action, charitable and voluntary organisations and to build a network of academics, students and practitioners working in this field.
  • Voluntary Sector Studies Network “provides a virtual and actual meeting point for scholars and researchers both outside and within the voluntary (third or non-profit) sector(s), with a shared analytic interest in this set of institutions.” Publishes Voluntary Sector Review journal – see Magazines.
  • Various regional statistics have been produced for the sector. See our Local/Regional contacts page.


International (mainly American)

Research Projects and Reports

Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives – website run by run by the British Academy Research Project ‘Digitising the Mixed Economy of Welfare in Britain’ . A five year project (2014-19) which aims to support voluntary sector archives in the preservation and digitisation of their archives and to promote archives as part of the voluntary sector’s wider public benefit responsibility.

Third Sector Impact, a research project bringing together over thirty researchers from 10 European universities and more than 100 stakeholders, was launched January 2014. It aims to understand the scope and scale of the third sector in Europe, its current and potential impact, and the barriers hindering the third sector to fully contribute to the continent’s welfare.

Charity Law and Policy Unit, University of Liverpool. Some publications:

    • Charities and the Contract Culture. Report, July 99, on a year-long research project to identify problems of a legal nature which have arisen for charities as a result of the ‘contract culture’.
    • Legal Issues in Charity Mergers Report, Jan 01, on a year-long research project to identify the legal issues arising in charity mergers and the different responses to them, and to consider the most appropriate solutions to commonly experienced problems.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation carries out some research of relevance. Published 12/3/01: ‘The role and future development of black and minority ethnic organisations‘. This mapping exercise looks at the role of black and minority ethnic-led voluntary and community organisations in England and Wales.

Public Management Foundation Wasted Values: harnessing the commitment of public managers (Nov 99), available from their online book store. A report on research into the goals and motivations of senior public managers. It concludes that public sector managers and their private sector counterparts are motivated by very different things. In June 99, the Foundation undertook a nationwide survey of 400 of the UK’s top public, private and voluntary sector managers. Asked about their goals and about what motivates them to do their job well, managers in the three different sectors gave some revealingly different replies. Voluntary sector managers show a mixture of public and private sector views.

Also see Training – professional development as most of the higher education establishments listed run research programmes to some extent.

Support Bodies

The main national support/ infrastructure bodies, those for community/small/ethnic groups, charity managers.

The number of groups that seek to support particular functions or issues within voluntary organisations has been growing slowly. Co-operation has also generally improved. While many of those listed here operate on a membership or subscription basis, some useful info may be available to non-members.

Also see: function-based support, issue-based supportlocal and regional. And Community Groups Resources for multi-function/ social action centre networks etc.

General National Bodies

For smaller organisations

Gender, ethnicity etc.



Managerial support

Misc support

  • Professional Associations Research Network Membership body for professional associations, increasingly international in scope.
  • Charity Staff Foundation “Help, advice and practical support for people in the voluntary sector”. Seems to have disappeared December 2016 – last sighting March 2016, Facebook.

Publishers

Non-profit and commercial firms with relevant publications.

Non-profit Publishers

  • Directory of Social Change Full catalogue on the website. The widest range, and they sell selected titles from other publishers. 24 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2DP – drop-in bookshop and library open 9am to 5pm Mon-Fri (near Euston station). Phone 020 7209 5151, email: books@dsc.org.uk
  • ICSA Bookshop (Institute for Chartered Secretaries and Administrators). Have Marketing, IT, Project Management titles as well as more general charity administration books and manuals. ICSA, 16 Park Crescent, London, W1N 4AH, phone 020 7580 4741.
  • LVSC (London Voluntary Service Council) publishes Just About Managing and a number of other titles.
  • The Policy Press Based at University of Bristol, policy type publications on everything from Ageing to Welfare/Poverty, and some on Voluntary Sector (eg Partnership working: Policy and Practice; A right result?: Advocacy, justice and empowerment).
  • Many of the organisations listed on the Professional/Support Bodies pages produce some useful titles. Relevant titles and publishers are also mentioned on other VolResource pages, such as Volunteer management.

Commercial with Sector Focus

  • Chapel and York International Fundraising (especially from US sources). Books are half-price to any charity or nonprofit with an annual income of less than £60,000.
  • CharityFinancials from CaritasData Following publications no longer listed, so not produced any more? Top 3000 Charities, UK Top 10,000 Charities, Top 1000 Charities in Scotland, Who’s Who in Charities.
  • Earthscan, now part of Routledge. Originally set up to publish titles on environment, development and sustainability, it now does co-publishing on a wider area, including books on ‘Urban Development and Community’.
  • Civil Society Media Publish Charity Finance and other charity titles. The autumn 2016 web revamp seems to have dropped a number of finance checklists and the Charity Finance Yearbook but might reappear. 15 Prescott Place, London, SW4 6BS, phone 020 7819 1200.
  • Russell House Publishing A lot of social services, youth and community work related titles, as well as some useful ones on general sector management issues. 4 St George’s House, The Business Park, Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3LS. Phone 01297 443948, email: help@russellhouse.co.uk
  • White Lion Press Fundraising related, now based in France! Kermarquer, 56310 Melrand, France, email: marie@whitelionpress.com

General Publishers, some relevant titles

  • Croner Publish various manuals, such as Management of Voluntary Organisations; Care Homes; Financial Reporting for Charities, available on 10 day trial, with regular update services. I’ve always found these the easiest of the loose-leaf manuals to use, but not cheap. The online Croner Select regulation compliance information facility changes in Feb 05 – limited access without a subscription. 145 London Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT2 6BR, phone 020 8247 1261 (Customer Services), email: info@croner.co.uk
  • Jordan Publishing Various charity titles including The Charities Administration Service (with NCVO), updated twice a year £117-50 plus p&p including first year updates. They have a Charities section on the web site. Phone 0117 923 0600.
  • Key Haven Publish legal and tax titles.
  • Kogan Page Publish How to manage a voluntary organization with CD-ROM of templates, checklists etc.
  • Palgrave All areas of Social Care – Health, Nursing, Social Work, Social Policy and Counselling. Contact Fiona Woodruffe-Peacock, phone 0256 302611, email: f.woodruffe-peacock@palgrave.com
  • Routledge, part of Taylor and Francis. An academic focus, with various social care related titles. There is a Routledge Studies in the Management of Voluntary and Non-Profit series. Relevant titles include The Governance of Public and Non-Profit Organizations (Chris Cornforth, Open University, Oct 02/paperback May 05); Nonprofit Organizations (Nov 04), Fundraising Management, Arts Management, Strategic Management for Nonprofit Organizations, Financial Management in the Voluntary Sector. Phone 020 7583 9855, email: business@routledge.co.uk You can also check out their journals on the Taylor and Francis website, if you know the title.
  • Many of Tolley’s/Butterworth range of ‘Charity Administration’ titles are now with Bloomsbury Professional. Relevant titles (prices at 2004!) include: Charities Manual (£154), Charity Administration Handbook (£44-95), Charity Investigations (£48-95), Charity Accounting and Taxation (£59-95).


Charities etc. with subject range

Also see Areas of Concern section.

  • Community Links produces a number of titles of interest, in particular the Ideas Annuals which provide practical examples of projects tackling local community issues.
  • National Children’s Bureau Online bookshop. Subject areas include Young children and their families, Child protection and health, Education, Disabled children and special needs, Children living away from home, Children and young people’s participation. Note: at Sep. 2014 NCB’s publishing arm has been sold to Jessica Kingsley Publishers, so this info may change. 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE, phone 020 7843 6000
  • UK Youth resources are for those working with young people.

Information Sources

Key sites for information, news, sector directories etc.

Key sector information sites

Other key resources

  • Directory of Social Change Training, conferences and information (a wide range of publications) for the voluntary sector. Particularly known for fundraising advice, but covers most aspects of running a charity.
  • Business in the Community encourages all sorts of involvement by commercial organisations with not-for-profits. In Scotland, try Scottish Business in the Community.
  • JustAct – “how to make things happen and improve your community” – is developing a ‘knowledge bank‘ pointing to resources particularly useful to community organisations, but many will have wider relevance.

News sources

  • Our VoluntaryNews website carries practical news for charities, voluntary organisations, community groups, social enterprises etc. Going into retirement, autumn 2017.
  • VoluntaryNews also has a page of websites carrying news for voluntary organisations – more than just the occasional press release. Some of those appearing above, and other specialist sites listed elsewhere, will also carry relevant news for their areas.

Other media

Also see: Getting your message across.

Blogs, Social Media

Blogs and forums often come with RSS (news) feeds built-in – a simple way to deliver summaries of frequently changing web content via news readers or similar tools.

  • Our CharityBlog lists a range of blogs produced by and for people involved in charities, including those designed to be read by a wider audience (donors, members, volunteers, general public).
  • Discussion lists and forums connected with a specific function (e.g. IT support) will appear on the relevant page covering support bodies.

Directories – voluntary organisations, charities

There are a number of websites vying to be the directory of choice. The online registers from the charity regulators are also generally quite useful.

  • GuideStar is based on the database held by Charity Commission (England and Wales) registered charities. Charities are encouraged to expand on their entries.
  • Get Involved “is powered by a collaboration of infrastructure organisations across Scotland”.
  • Open Charities is a project “to open up the UK Charities Register” (although it only has done England and Wales so far).
  • Charity Financials (was Charities Direct) from Caritas Data. They claim to have regularly updated info on over 10,000 charities, although there have been queries about how accurate it is. Also lists/profiles various professional advisers.
  • Charity Choice This database is also available in hard copy. Online you can search by category, name, location, charity registration number etc. Has phone numbers and some web site links. From business information publisher, Wilmington.
  • CharityLibrary hasn’t developed very far (approx 2000 with some form of listing at spring 2014).


Useful non-UK sites

The following are worth checking out if you have a) the time b) the inclination to filter out the foreign, mainly American, specific content. Remember that legal matters, non-profit boards and the whole approach to philanthropy/giving can be very different to that in the UK.