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

By on March 10, 2016

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 NPI Handbook, expected to be published in 2016, reflects revisions that have been made to the broader international economic accounting standards and incorporates lessons from the more than 25 countries that have produced the nonprofit data to date. In addition, the revised NPI Handbook will:

  • Present an international standard methodology for the collection of basic data on volunteering;
  • Include new discussion of the measurement of the social impacts of the nonprofit sector; and
  • Provide new guidance for expanding these accounts to include cooperatives, mutual societies, social enterprises, and informal (direct) volunteering.

This latter focus has arisen from the work Dr. Salamon and Dr. S. Wojciech Sokolowski have undertaken under the auspices of the Third Sector Impact (TSI) Project in Europe, and is based on the resulting TSI consensus definition of the third sector. This revision will thus bring the social economy, social ventures, and both direct and organization-based volunteering into an expanded third sector/social economy “TSE sector satellite account.”
Dr. Salamon is pleased to have had this opportunity to bring these important steps forward to the attention of statistical officials. Following Dr. Salamon’s presentation, Helena Cordiero of Statistics Portugal (INE) reported on INE’s experience implementing the original NPI Handbook and strongly encouraged its use by others, and Naiara Costa of Beyond 2015, an international network of civil society organizations, spoke about why basic knowledge of the sector is needed, particularly in the context of achieving the 2030 Agenda.
You can download Dr. Salamon’s presentation to the UN Statistics Division here.