Free course

Working in the voluntary sector


Browse the glossary using this index

Special | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | ALL

Page:  1  2  3  4  5  (Next)


active listening

Listening actively rather than passively to what a speaker is saying. It involves concentrating on and remembering what is being said, resulting in more engagement with the speaker. It is a technique used in resolving conflicts between people as well as supporting people.



Beneficiaries include service users, participants, and so on. In other words, the people whom voluntary organisations aim to benefit. The term incorporates a wider view, however. If an organisation provides activities for children with disabilities, are the beneficiaries the parents or guardians of the children? Or is it the children themselves?



A way to use marketing and communications to distinguish organisations or products from their competitors.



Someone who takes control of a meeting and helps it run efficiently, facilitates and summarises discussions, and ensures the meeting achieves its aims.


A paid street charity fundraiser who asks for donations, usually by direct debit.

collaborative advantage

Organisations working together find they can achieve more together than operating apart. This is usually attributed to sharing resources and expertise. Research on partnership working has found evidence of both collaborative advantage and collaborative inertia.

collaborative inertia

Organisations working together may make slow progress and achieve little. Research on partnership working has found evidence of both collaborative advantage and collaborative inertia.


A type of document setting out an organisation’s purposes and rules. This is the most commonly known name for a governing document. For some organisations this document may be called memorandum and articles of association, trust deed or rules instead.


Written agreements enforceable by law. In the context of the voluntary sector, it usually relates to a specification for service delivery between a voluntary organisation and local or central government.

core competences

Used to describe a set of skills, knowledge, behaviours and expertise required for a person to do a particular job.

Page:  1  2  3  4  5  (Next)


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371