In the context of the project Third Sector Impact, trends of the third sector developments were investigated in eight European countries (Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom). The project teams investigated barriers that third sector organizations are facing, documented solutions to these challenges and identified general trends of the third sector development. On the basis of this work on barriers and trends, policy recommendations were developed for each country under investigation, published and disseminated as TSI Policy Briefs for national level policy makers and third sector leaders. The results are published on the TSI website

The challenging environment in which TSOs have to survive is widely acknowledged. Numerous obstacles impede the societal functions TSOs perform for the social cohesion of Europe. While some of the challenges are derived from an increasingly harsh environment, other challenges are inherent to certain types of third sector organizations (TSOs). This Policy Brief presents a cumulative comparative reading of common barriers the third sector faces across Europe and proposes how to address these challenges.

The aim of this Policy Brief is to deal with the question of how the unique value the third sector adds to European societies can be preserved or further expanded. On account of our investigations and close cooperation with stakeholders from the sector itself, we developed solutions that aim at enhancing the capacity of TSOs to contribute to the socio-economic development of Europe.

The following issues are addressed:

  • Technological infrastructure for organizational learning;
  • Funding for sustainability;
  • Use of public spaces and facilities;
  • Job conditions in third sector organizations;
  • Support systems for volunteering;
  • Credibility in public sphere; and – last but definitely not the least,