We hope these links will be helpful for those interested in researching the history of voluntary organisations. If you would like a link to your organisation added to this page, please e-mail Louis Carserides at


The British Records Association (BRA) aims to encourage and assist with the preservation, care, use and publication of historical records. The BRA’s main function is to rescue documents in danger of loss or destruction.

Charity Archivists and Records Managers Group (CHARM) is a support network made up of those responsible for or involved with the management and care of the records and archives of charities and voluntary organisations. CHARM is an affiliate of the Archives and Records Association Section for Specialist Repositories.

The Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives raises awareness of the importance of voluntary sector archives as strategic assets for governance, corporate identity, accountability and research. It encourages all charities, voluntary organisations, trusts and foundations to take responsibility for their archives by providing for their management, preservation, use and promotion. The Campaign brings together researchers, custodians, creators of records and others to share expertise and resources.

DANGO, the Database of Archives of UK NGOs since 1945, is an online database produced by a team at the University of Birmingham. Reading lists for specific areas are available, as are guides to sources and particularly interesting archives.

London Metropolitan Archives contains many records of national and local voluntary organisations, charities, parishes and individuals.

The Women’s Library at the London School of Economics (LSE) holds archival collections of many women’s voluntary organisations, including the Fawcett Library, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Female Emigration Societies and Women’s Suffrage Societies.


Relevant history societies and institutes

The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) is a resource and meeting place for anyone undertaking historical research. The IHR runs a series of seminars and lectures open to the public, training events for historian and a hub for postgraduate researchers called the History Lab.

International Network for the History of Hospitals exists to promote studies related to the historical evolution of hospitals from their beginnings to the present day by providing an international forum for communication and discussion among scholars interested in the subject.

Similarly, the Society for the Social History of Medicine promotes inter-disciplinary approaches to the history of health, welfare, medical science and practice through academic conferences and publications.

The History of Education Society seeks to further the study of the history of education by providing opportunities for discussion among those engaged in its study and teaching. It organises an annual conference and a postgraduate conference.

The Economic History Society exists to support reseach and teaching in economic and social history, broadly defined. It does this through publications, conferences and workshops, through the finance of research fellowships and research grants, and through bursaries and prizes for younger scholars.

The Social History Society was formed to encourage the study of the history of society and cultures by teaching, research, publication and other appropriate means. It organises a conference annually and acts to represent the interests of social and cultural history and of social and cultural historians both within higher education and in the wider community.


Relevant contemporary research institutes and networks

The Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR) aims to develop knowledge and understanding of volunteering in a way that is relevant to practitioners and policy makers in the UK and internationally.

ARNOVA is an international membership organisation dedicated to fostering through research an understanding of the nonprofit sector, philanthropy and volunteerism.

ISTR is a major international association promoting research and education in the fields of philanthropy, civil society and the nonprofit sector. ISTR reflects the growing worldwide interest in Third Sector research and provides a permanent forum for international research, while at the same time building a global scholarly community in this field.

The Leisure Studies Association fosters interest and research in Leisure Studies, encourages debate and the exchange of ideas on contemporary leisure issues through publications and conferences and seeks to disseminate knowledge to create better-informed policy decisions.

Occupy Oral History is an international network set up in 2012 that aims to record and support the recording of the experiences of Occupy protesters and to inspire the further contribution of oral history to the needs of the 99 per cent.

The Third Sector Research Centre exists to develop the evidence base on, for and with the third sector in the UK. Working closely with practitioners, policy-makers and other academics, TSRC is undertaking and reviewing research, and making this research widely available.

The Voluntary Sector Studies Network promotes understanding of the UK voluntary sector through research.

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