The NCVO is the largest membership body for the voluntary and community sector in England, with more than 7,000 members. Charities with income of less than £10,000 can join for free; others pay a membership fee.
The NCVO says its goal is to support its members by “creating an environment in which voluntary organisations can flourish and develop”. It campaigns on generic issues affecting the whole of the sector such as the role of the voluntary organisations in public service delivery and the future of local government.
It represents the views of its members as well as the wider voluntary sector to the government, European Union and others. It has specialist teams that provide information, advice and support to others working in or with the sector. They produce reports and books, run conferences and networking events, manage and facilitate many forums and offer a consultancy service.
It is a strategic partner of the Office of the Third Sector, meaning that it receives a strategic grant in return for meeting certain objectives agreed with government.
Stuart Etherington is the chief executive and has been since 1994. Television broadcaster Martyn Lewis took over as chair in late 2010.
The NCVO was founded in 1919 as the National Council of Social Services thanks to a £1,000 legacy from Edward Vivian Birchall who died at the Somme in France in 1916.