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.
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