General Election 2024

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Saskia Konynenburg

Saskia Konynenburg

Executive Director

Executive Director

The Voluntary Sector Manifesto: Raising our voice

Saskia Konynenburg

Saskia Konynenburg

Executive Director

Executive Director

The 2024 general election presents a rare opportunity for charities – not only to raise much-needed awareness of important issues, but to also reset our sector’s relationship with government.

The talent, expertise, and innovation of the voluntary sector is often undervalued. Even though we've demonstrated it in how we've responded to crises and achieved meaningful change for our communities.

The UK is facing challenges that no political party can solve alone. We need to build a partnership with the next government that empowers our sector to play a full role in tackling those challenges – as policymakers, service deliverers, and the voice of our communities.

NCVO and ACEVO’s Voluntary Sector Manifesto provides the foundation for this new approach.

Shaped by our 17,000+ combined members over a series of workshops and consultations, it’s a clear statement of what we aim to achieve over the next five years as crucial and trusted partners of government.

At NCVO, we’re using the manifesto to engage with political parties and kickstart conversations with parliamentary candidates across the country.

Manifesto explanation

A political manifesto is a document published by a political party before a general election, setting out the policies they would deliver if they were to win.

Similar to a political manifesto – our manifesto sets out our priorities.

It’s a tool for all of us in the sector to use to set out our collective and brighter vision for the future. It allows us to demonstrate to the next incoming government how we can work together in partnership to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our society.

The value of a manifesto

One of the main purposes of a manifesto is to inform and influence political party manifestos. But with an election only weeks away, each political party will have an already near-complete manifesto ready to go. This means an opportunity to change the current policy agendas of the parties is slim.

However, the value of a manifesto doesn’t end after election day. The task of influencing a new government and forming a stronger partnership is a long-term goal. A manifesto sets out your stall to start constructive conversations and build working relationships.

With some longstanding MPs stepping down and constituencies across the country being contested, the next parliament will likely welcome many new MPs.

This brings the potential for charities to gain new support and advocates within parliament. A manifesto helps to get key issues in front of new candidates and informs what issues they focus on as they step into their new political careers.

Recording responses to your manifesto from candidates and following up with successful candidates who endorsed your manifesto, means you can build up a network of supportive MPs after the election, regardless of the result.

It’s also important for manifestos to reach the political party researchers, think tanks and civil servants who will advise those elected. Sharing your manifesto with these policymakers will make sure they’re aware that you’re one of the organisations to speak to on certain issues as the government progresses.

The importance of the Voluntary Sector Manifesto

Because we’re so busy supporting our communities, we don’t normally take time to think about our sector as a whole and its contribution to social, economic, and environmental progress.

The Voluntary Sector Manifesto is a single document that provides this big picture and makes sure every corner of our sector is considered by policymakers.

The policy recommendations it puts forward are the result not only of recent workshops and consultations but of years of careful thinking in our sector about how we can have a bigger impact.

It allows us to speak with one clear voice up and down the country and over and over again about the improvements we would like to see in society.

That gives us the best starting point for achieving our policy goals over the long term.

How to use the manifesto to inform your work and amplify our collective voice

Promote on social media to share our vision

We want to make sure our sector has a loud voice during the general election. You can help raise your voice by promoting the manifesto across your social media platforms. Download our manifesto social media asset and use the hashtag #VoluntarySectorManifesto.

Share the manifesto with your future MP

One of the easiest ways to engage with your local parliamentary candidates is by sharing the manifesto with them by email. It's a straightforward way to make sure candidates are thinking about our sector and for you to start building a relationship.

Download our template letter below to help you do this – and don’t forget to copy us into your email at policy@ncvo.org.uk so we can track our collective impact.

Learn more about issues that affect our sector

The manifesto provides a broad overview of the issues affecting our sector. Use the ‘Our Vision’ and ‘Our Asks’ sections to understand this big picture.

Develop your election campaigning strategy

You can use the manifesto together with our political campaigning guidance for charities to start planning your activity up to 4 July and beyond.

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