What is the third sector?
How to become a member

The third sector is a term used to describe organisations that are neither in the public nor private sector.

Our sector includes organisations that have a social or environmental purpose – organisations that exist to improve the lives of people and communities in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Devil’s Porridge Museum.

It includes voluntary and community organisations (such as charities), social enterprises, co-operatives, credit unions, and mutuals, and all the people who volunteer and work within.

An organisation is generally regarded as being in the third sector if it:

  • Has a positive community purpose. Our sector is “value driven”, which means that we are motivated by a desire to achieve social goals by improving the wellbeing and prosperity of people and communities.
  • Is run by an unpaid voluntary committee or board of trustees/directors.
  • Is not set up to distribute profit to private shareholders and reinvests any surpluses generated in pursuit of their goals. In many cases, organisations in our sector need to make profits to be financially stable but “not-for-personal-profit”.
  • Is not run by or affiliated to a political party or a statutory body of government – an important part of the history and culture of our sector.

The Scottish Government is committed to the development of an enterprising third sector in Scotland. Further information on the Scottish Government and the third sector.

We welcome applications from all third sector organisations working in Dumfries and Galloway. Membership is free.

Find out more.

Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway also welcomes applications for Affiliate Membership from organisations that share our vision and mission, such as Community Councils. These statutory bodies of government are made up of unpaid members of the local community who give their time voluntarily and are an important conduit for community development.