Defining and exploring the voluntary sector

1.  Defining and exploring the voluntary sector


In this section you will be introduced to the voluntary sector and will consider what is unique to voluntary organisations and to charities specifically: what defines them. You will explore the context in which voluntary organisations work, some history of the sector and what brings all different kinds of voluntary organisations together.

Section 1 is divided into three topics:

  • Structure and regulation in the voluntary sector looks at where voluntary organisations have come from, how a typical voluntary organisation might be organised and what rules they have to follow.

  • Size, scope and role of the voluntary sector steps back to give an overview of the sector as a whole: what kinds of voluntary organisations are out there, what they do and who works in them.

  • Values-based organisations explores the guiding principles that underpin the voluntary sector and encourages you to consider them against your own values.

If you are already active in a voluntary organisation then it will help you to keep that organisation in mind throughout this section and think about how the organisation compares to others in the voluntary sector. If you do not yet work in the sector then this will help you to think about the kind of organisation you might be interested in being involved with.

Learning outcomes