Third Sector Values
National Association for Voluntary & Community Action (NAVCA)
Third sector values and principles
The third sector encompasses a wide range of organisations, undertaking different types of activity, but sharing a common desire to make a positive difference to society. Characteristic of the sector is a commitment to the following values and principles:
• Independence: embodying people’s right to associate and organise to help themselves and others, independently of the state.
• Social justice: making a difference and promoting lasting social, environmental and economic change, for example through: different ways of doing business; campaigning; giving people a voice in the community and in the workplace; and through valuing volunteers and the paid workforce by striving towards best practice terms and conditions, good HR and training and development.
• Diversity, dignity and respect: recognising and celebrating diversity and viewing this as a strength, both in relation to society and to the sector; promoting social inclusion and equality of opportunity by reaching out to, and engaging with, the most disadvantaged and excluded communities.
• Participation and empowerment: enabling people to participate in their community and places of work; give their time and money to causes they care about; have a greater say in the decisions that affect their lives, collectively and individually; and greater control over their local economy.
• Collective wealth creation and social entrepreneurship: using surpluses to further social objectives; investing in human and social capital.
• Responsiveness: providing quality goods and services (including support and advocacy) in response to people’s needs.
• Accountability: achieving our mission; being transparent and accountable to our users, members and/or beneficiaries.
• Sustainability: working towards sustainable economic and community development, for example through economic regeneration; developing people’s skills and capacities; and building social capital within and between communities.
It is these principles and values that drive the work of third sector organisations, not government and not shareholder value or personal profit. Therefore whilst other sectors may share these values, they are not the driving force that they are for the third sector.