Policy Press

Moving pictures

Realities of voluntary action

By Duncan W. Scott, Pete Alcock, Lynne Russell and Rob Macmillan


May 24, 2000

Page count

72 pages




297 x 210 mm


Policy Press
Moving pictures

Despite the growing significance of the voluntary sector in political planning, and despite increased research into the size, shape and structure of this sector, we still know little about its everyday dynamics.

Drawing on detailed case study research with eight organisations in the UK in 1999, Moving pictures fills this gap, providing an accessible and lively account of the working of voluntary sector organisations. It identifies eight key dilemmas of voluntary action and explores how these are experienced and managed within particular organisations. In addressing these issues through practitioners' voices, it highlights the human perspective on policy and practice.

The report will improve understanding of how voluntary organisations are structured and evolve, and how they respond to, or resist, opportunities and constraints. Issues covered include:

the infrastructure of small and medium sized voluntary organisations, and how they achieve much with little;

the values and dilemmas of volunteering;

the dilemmas of strategic planning;

the issues and tensions associated with external agencies and partnership working.

Moving pictures will appeal to practitioners and policy makers, to workers, volunteers and users, and to a wider academic and student audience endeavouring to make sense of their findings in a critically analytical way.

The purposes and potential of the case study approach; Infrastructure; Values and identity; Social entrepreneurs; Stakeholders and issues of accountability; Managerialism; Strategic planning; Networking; External agendas; Implications for policy and practice.

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