Independence and values

Voluntary organisations exist because people with shared values come together to achieve something independently of state and markets.

These shared values include:

  • a belief in collective action
  • social justice and making a positive difference to people's lives
  • taking a holistic approach to people's needs
  • empowering people and making voices heard
  • building social capital and reinvesting financial surpluses for community need.

Threats to these shared values also jeopardise the independence of voluntary organisations and the sector as a whole. These include:

  • the 'top-down' nature of the relationship between government and the voluntary sector
  • funders preventing legitimate campaigning, lobbying and advocacy either directly or implicitly
  • funders influencing the activity and direction of voluntary organisations
  • voluntary organisations relying too heavily on one source of funding or contract
  • perceived pressures to become more like a business, rather than more business-like.

Individual voluntary organisations – and the sector as a whole – must hold onto their values and continue to operate independently of both state and markets.

Our independence and values give users and donors confidence in our services and advocacy. They enable us to challenge government and markets and speak up for individuals and communities who might not otherwise be heard.

In short, the sector's independence and values are vital for democracy.

Review of fundraising self-regulation

NCVO’s chief executive, Sir Stuart Etherington, has been asked to lead a review of the current system of fundraising self-regulation.

Find out more

Latest independence and values press releases

Sir Stuart Etherington's 2017 state of the sector address to NCVO Annual Conference delegates

Good morning and welcome, everybody. It’s good to see so many of you here today in what we believe is the biggest conference of voluntary organisations that we have ever held.

NCVO responds to Charity Commission research on public trust and confidence

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said:

Charities have listened to public concerns – and have taken concerted action to ensure that members of the public can have complete confidence in what they do.

Charities, and all that they achieve, only exist thanks to their supporters and the wider public. We must ensure that all charities – regardless of size or sector – are well-run and well-regulated and that the mistakes of last summer are not repeated.

All press releases

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