New Official Visibility for the Global Third Sector and Social Economy: A Major Statistical Breakthrough

Capping a three-year process, the United Nations has released a new statistical guidance document for nations to use to generate solid data on the world’s third, or social economy, sector—the TSE Sector.   Unknown by most observers, this sector—embracing nonprofit institutions, public-benefit oriented cooperatives and mutuals, social enterprises, philanthropy, and volunteer work—makes up the third largest workforce of any industry in Western Europe and the U.S.   In the developing world as well, these entities, and the volunteer effort they motivate, are widely regarded as crucial to the success of the 2030 Development Agenda.   To date, however, reliable data on these institutions and volunteer activities have been missing or obscured in official international statistical systems. The just-released United Nations Satellite Account on Nonprofit and Related Institutions and Volunteer Work (UN TSE Sector Handbook) now promises to remedy this problem and bring this TSE sector into systematic empirical view by equipping statistical agencies with comprehensive methodological guidance on its measurement.   This new Handbook, produced in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, revises an earlier UN Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts and extends its coverage to all entities and activities...

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Lester Salamon speaks to the UN Statistics Division on the revision of the UN NPI Handbook

Center Director Lester Salamon was invited by the United Nations Statistics Division to present the work our Center is doing to advance the international statistical revolution in the measurement and understanding of the third sector during a side event of the 47th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission titled “Measuring the Contribution of Non-profit Institutions, the Social Economy, and Volunteering to the Economy and Well-being” on March 8, 2016 in New York.   Dr. Salamon’s presentation focused on the underlying work and on-going revision of the United Nations’ Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts (2003), developed by our Center in collaboration with the UN Statistics Division and an international team of experts. The NPI Handbook guides national statistics agencies in reporting – in collaboration with civil society partners – key data on the size, scope, activities, workforce (paid and volunteer), and financing of the nonprofit sector in their countries. This NPI Handbook thus overcomes the problem that national economic accounting structures currently often classify nonprofits as part of the government or business sectors making it difficult to account for the contributions the sector is making around the world.   The revision to the 2003...

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Reflections on Volunteers, Civil Society, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In September, the United Nations will adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an overarching set of collective objectives for the development of people and the planet that will replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on January 1, 2016. The SDGs For the next 15 years, the SDGs will drive the development agenda and will shape the way the United Nations, governments, development agencies, businesses, civil society (nonprofit) organizations, and volunteer groups engage in efforts to combat global poverty, income inequality, and environmental degradation.   But more than just replacing the MDGs with a new set of goals, targets and indicators, the SDGs promise a new way of doing business. There are three especially important differences to be aware of.   First, the SDGs recognize the inter-related nature of social, economic, and environmental development work and no longer keeps these work streams in separate silos.   Second, the SDGs recognize that development work is not something that is confined to developing countries. The SDGs are will only be considered achieved if they are achieved for all, and no one should be left behind. This means that developed countries have a responsibility to work inside their own borders just as...

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Cameroon releases its first NPI satellite account, providing inspiration for other countries

Cameroon became only the third African country to complete a satellite account on nonprofit institutions and volunteering since the 2003 publication of the UN Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts. The only other African countries to have done so are Mozambique and Morocco. The National Institute of Statistics of Cameroon (NIS) worked closely with the country’s nonprofit sector to gather these data and to produce this outstanding report, which includes data on the number of NPIs, how many paid and volunteer workers they employ, how much value they add to the country’s economy, what fields they work in, and where their operating revenue comes from.   The NIS recognizes that the development of these data “opens new avenues of research for ways and means to strengthen the fight against poverty and the search for elements that can contribute to the growth of the economy…the NPI satellite account sheds light on a form of national solidarity characterized by voluntary work.”   The release of this report is especially significant in light of the barriers that developing countries often face in finding the limited resources needed to pursue major data gathering undertakings such as implementing the UN...

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Statistics Norway releases nonprofit funding data for the first time

Statistics Norway recently released an updated report on its satellite account on nonprofit institutions (NPIs), resulting from their continued implementation of the UN Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts. For the first time, this report includes data on funding, finding that in 2012, NPIs in Norway received a total of NOK 90.5 billion (USD$1.2 billion) in funding to carry out their work. Of this, almost 40 billion came from public sources, which represents about 43 percent of organizations’ overall operating income. Roughly 39 percent of overall nonprofit income was derived from households, while the remainder (approximately 18 percent) was funded by the corporate sector. This income includes both payments for goods and services and philanthropic contributions, but does not include funds contributed for investment purposes.   The report shows, however, that distribution of funding sources varied significantly by field. Organizations working within health, social services, and education and research received most of their funding from public sector contributions, while organizations in other fields – such as culture and recreation organizations – relied more heavily on funding from households and corporations.   Employment In total, NPIs employed 83,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) paid workers – an increase...

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Revision of the UN Nonprofit Handbook underway

  In 2002, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies partnered with the United Nations Statistics Division and an international team of statistical experts to develop the first UN Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts. This NPI Handbook offers a way for national statistical agencies to identify and measure nonprofit, or civil society, organizations in their countries in a comparable manner.   To date, nearly 20 countries have produced official data on the nonprofit sectors in their countries shedding far more clarity on the size, scope, revenue, and contributions of this important sector around the world. The latest comparative results of these efforts are reported in The State of Global Civil Society and Volunteering: Latest findings from the implementation of the UN Nonprofit Handbook (2013).   Over a decade after its publication, we are excited to report that a revision of the UN NPI Handbook is now underway. The revision will draw on the experiences and lessons-learned from the countries that have implemented the Handbook, and will provide additional practical tools and guidance materials to make it more straightforward to implement and produce comparative data.   The revised UN NPI Handbook will not change...

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NEWS RELEASE | The State of Global Civil Society & Volunteering – Latest findings from the implementation of the UN Nonprofit Handbook

  Today, we are happy to announce the release of our new report, “The State of Global Civil Society and Volunteering – Latest findings from the implementation of the UN Nonprofit Handbook,” which compares data from the 16 countries that have produced nonprofit satellite accounts. Please see the news release below. You can also see an infographic here, and you can download the full, 16-page report here.     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NONPROFITS A MAJOR SOURCE OF EMPLOYMENT GROWTH GLOBALLY SAYS NEW JOHNS HOPKINS REPORT A new report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies reveals that nonprofit organizations are major employers and major sources of employment growth in countries throughout the world. The report draws on new data generated by statistical offices in sixteen countries that have implemented a new United Nations Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions. This Handbook calls on national statistical offices to report on the economic scale and composition of nonprofit organizations in their countries for the first time.   Key findings to date from implementation of this Handbook, as summarized in this report, include these:   A major employer In 6 of the 16 countries for which data are available, nonprofits employ 10...

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New international comparative data from the implementation of the UN Nonprofit Handbook

On Monday, March 11, we will be releasing our newest data comparing the nonprofit sectors in 16 countries. This data is the result of the implementation of the United Nations Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts. This data sheds new light on the true scope and scale of the nonprofit sector in these countries. Below is a small taste of the data featured in the report “The State of Global Civil Society and Volunteering: Latest Findings from the implementation of the U.N. Nonprofit Handbook.”     click to download....

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