In this interview, published on the Social Science and Humanities pages of the European Commission’s Directorate Generale Research and Innovation, Lester Salamon talks about the difficulty of finding commonalities between many different notions of the third sector across Europe and the work TSI has done towards a consensus conceptualization that also pays tribute to the increasing role of the social economy in social welfare and economic development.

He outlines five important steps that have been made towards third sector measurement, of which TSI is delivering the most recent one: approaching national statistical agencies “to encourage implementation of this new statistical machinery for capturing NPIs, volunteer work, and, eventually, the full TSE sector in the official statistical systems of Europe”.

TSI’s work on third sector barriers is also mentioned, without giving away too much of the findings that will shortly be presented based on research in seven countries. The interview concludes with a confirmation of the question if the third sector offers an example of more solidarity in a world of enhanced competition: third sector organisations are not driven by the maximisation of profit but “the maximisation of service to the individuals and communities they serve. In this sense, solidarity is ingrained in their DNA.”

Read the full interview.