Voluntary sector leaders have been joining in a debate about the future of the voluntary sector in a series of blogs – featured below – and a published collection of essays, Making Good: the future of the voluntary sector.
- strong leadership around an ambitious agenda for change in society
- A mission focused on prevention, not just the alleviation of problems, acting as an enabler of people and communities, rather than treating them as passive recipients of charity
- Collaborating within and beyond the sector to make change happen for the common good
- Promoting the distinctive social value and social capital generated through people coming together in voluntary activity
- Celebrating the ability of activities located within communities to generate this value – with ‘local first’ as a new default switch, rather than ‘big is best’
- Speaking with a more confident voice, backed by a Compact with teeth
- Seeking better public services, not just through delivery, but through co-operation, collaboration and co-design
- Looking for funding that better supports social value, locally based activity, innovation and the longer term.
There have also been a number of discussions amongst essayists over the last few months, including at a debate at the Baring Foundation on 10 November 2014 which marked the launch of the publication. Here are some of the points which seemed to generate particular excitement and interest at that event:
- the importance of social value and capital as an engine of positive social change;
- the potential for the sector to coalesce around mission and purpose, despite the many different views and diversity within it;
- The value of local voluntary activity where it engages and strengthens communities and helps cement effective relationships with beneficiaries;
- The importance of collaboration within and across sectors, despite the challenges;
- The need to address a ‘communications gap’ with politicians and the public about the nature of voluntary activity and how it can be best harnessed.
- The voluntary sector must ask itself challenging questions about how well it actually collaborates with others and lives up to its values.
Click here for more detailed reporting by Civil Society news of the discussion.
Caroline Slocock from Civil Exchange and editor of Making Good: “It is time for voluntary sector leaders to set a new direction.”
Professor Nicholas Deakin from the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector: ‘The sector risks becoming nothing but a voiceless and toothless instrument of a shrunken state’
Dan Corry from New Philanthropy Capital: ‘The danger is that too much of the sector has become obsessed with trying to win contracts’
Steve Wyler from A Call to Action for the Common Good: “Are charities doing enough to contribute to the common good?”
Sir John Elvidge from the Carnegie UK Trust: “Charities must play a part in the growth of the enabling state.”
Cathy Pharoah from the CASS Business School: “The Social Value Act may backfire on voluntary organisations.”
Heidi Sandberg from the Swedish National Forum for Voluntary Organisations: “Civil society organisations across Europe are seeing their independence come under threat.”
Sir Bert Massie from the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector: “The government is failing on its promise to consult the sector when preparing policy.”
David Robinson from Community Links and the Early Action Task Force: “Charities should comfort beneficiaries and disturb those in power.”
Richard Jenkins and Keiran Goddard from the Association of Charitable Foundations: “Independence of charitable foundations key to independence of sector.”
Chris Mould from the Trussell Trust: “Government needs to treat charities as equal partners.”
Kathy Evans from Children England: “You can’t put a price on the value of charity work.”