Charities[1] and volunteers exist to make communities stronger. For everyone, everywhere.

The UK is facing challenges that no political party can solve alone. To bring about a new era of success and growth across the country, the power and commitment of the voluntary sector must be realised.

Government should invest in the voluntary sector as an equal partner of the state. This will unlock talent, expertise and innovation that is embedded in communities.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to forge a new and innovative relationship with the voluntary sector. We can trailblaze a new model of delivery and create a powerful partnership that builds a fair and thriving society.

We are a force for good, and a force for change.

Why the voluntary sector is essential

The voluntary sector isn’t a ‘nice to have’. Charities don’t exist for handouts. And volunteers shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Charities underpin the country’s social infrastructure. They deliver public services. They meet needs, connect communities and individuals, and help address systemic inequality. Through decades of hard work, they’ve earned deep-rooted trust.

The voluntary sector:

  • helps solve challenges with integrity, drive and dedication
  • has far-reaching knowledge about the people and causes they support
  • works innovatively and responsibly for people instead of profit
  • builds trust with those who are often not heard
  • mobilises, develops and empowers volunteers.

How to use this manifesto

This manifesto presents a range of ways the next government can work with charities to make a positive difference.

It was shaped by NCVO and ACEVO’s 17,000+ combined members. Members were given opportunities to provide feedback and input at every stage.

It presents a clear vision for the future and asks for the next government. You can use it in the following ways to inform your work.

Political parties, candidates and policymakers

  • We want all parties to think about how they can support charities and volunteers.
  • We want party manifestos to show support for charities and volunteers.
  • At a local level, we want candidates to think about how they can support their local charities.

The manifesto offers a starting point for thinking and planning. It’s informed by voices across the voluntary sector – from leaders at some of England’s biggest charities to small community groups.

We're keen to speak to all parties ahead of the upcoming election. We can offer further insight and explanation on the points in the manifesto. We can also advise on how to make sure charities are represented in your policies and manifestos.

Email NCVO and ACEVO's policy teams with any questions, or to arrange a call or meeting:

Voluntary organisations and charities

You can download a PDF version of the manifesto below to take with you to meetings and events.

NCVO developed this maniefesto in partnership with ACEVO.

NCVO and ACEVO logos


  1. Throughout this manifesto, we use ‘charity’ and ‘voluntary sector’ as umbrella terms to describe a range of organisations that are driven by social purpose. These organisations may have different legal forms.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 31 May 2024