Mission and Vision of ISTR

The Third Sector is increasingly recognized as playing a significant role in the development of almost every country of the world.  Research is a major component of this growing understanding and ISTR is at the forefront of advancing this field of knowledge.  Membership in ISTR is the best way for scholars, researchers, and practitioners to keep abreast of changes and participate in a dialogue with others with similar and complementary interests.  ISTR is an indispensable professional asset.  Your membership is vital to the continuing international growth of Third Sector Studies.



ISTR’s mission is to:

  • Support the production of knowledge by the global third sector community, identify emerging trends, and advance effective dissemination of research findings.
  • Nurture early career third sector researchers through targeted mentorship and investment in their development.
  • Foster research in civil society, its relationships with state and market sector engagement and philanthropy that brings about positive social change and informs public policy.
  • Recognise and support researchers in the Global South through promoting their voices and knowledge in all of our activities.
  • Promote academic integrity and freedom as well as freedom of association and expression for civil society practitioners globally.


ISTR’s vision is to develop a global community of scholars, researchers and practitioners whose members celebrate diversity, non-profit and philanthropic commitment to society and rigorous interdisciplinary approaches in third sector research.

Our definition of the third sector is broadly defined to include civil society in all its forms, including nonprofit organizations and NGOs, voluntary associations, social economy organizations, community organizations, selfhelp and mutual support organizations, foundations, endowments, as well as other manifestations of civil society globally and locally, such as social movements, formal and informal networks and social forums, unions, religious organizations, cooperatives, philanthropic practices and volunteering.

Read ISTR's Strategic Plan


Contact Us

International Society for Third-Sector Research
5801 Smith Avenue
McAuley Hall, Suite 245
Baltimore, MD 21209

Tel:   410-735-4221
Fax:   410-735-4201

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