The voluntary sector

A strong civil sector is crucial for freedom, diversity and the balance of power in society.

Voluntary services and public services

The voluntary sector has been a welfare innovator for many hundreds of years. Even today, the human resources and streamlined structures of voluntary organisations allow them to react and meet needs both at home and abroad rapidly, in a manner few other organisations can. The government aims to ensure optimal framework conditions for the voluntary sector and the vital social services it provides.

Voluntary engagement promotes diversity, challenges participants and makes a difference in people’s lives.

Working for others is fulfilling and gratifying, and builds trust between people. By becoming involved and taking responsibility in their neighbourhoods, volunteers combat loneliness and help build a sense of community.

Voluntary work has an intrinsic value precisely because it is based on human empathy, engagement, initiative and drive.

What are the government’s aims for the voluntary sector?

Voluntary engagement has a central place in the government’s policy platform. It is an integral component of almost all policy areas, and is discussed in various chapters of the platform.

The government wants Norway to have a voluntary sector that is based on grassroots support and is freer of political interference. This is why the government has issued a letter of intent on interaction between the government and the voluntary sector.

Several key concepts are relevant in this context:

  • Value – the government recognises the enormous value of voluntary activity as an instrument for building society.
  • Activity – the government will facilitate the development of the voluntary sector based on grassroots support, and recognises that freedom from political interference is important for a vibrant voluntary sector.
  • Participation – the government will promote transparent, vibrant and constructive dialogue with the voluntary sector.
  • Simplification – the government will simplify rules and reduce bureaucracy in consultation with the voluntary sector.
  • Independence – the government recognises the independent position of the voluntary sector in society.