The third sector is the primordial sector. Throughout history, humans beings have always established social communities first. They develop rules of social exchange, embed their members in complex reciprocal relationships and build up social trust. The third sector plays a critical role in establishing social trust and making markets and trade possible. The cultural institutions of a society, its churches, secular institutions, civic associations, fraternal organizations, sports clubs, art groups, non-governmental organizations and the like are the well-spring of social trust.
For three-quarters of a century the National Council for Voluntary Organizations has championed the cause of voluntary organizations in the UK and worked to increase their effectiveness. It provides services in securing resources and effective management, and provides information and advice on developing voluntary work.
Third sector participants share the belief in the importance of service to the community and the creation of social capital. The potential for a new third force in political life has not yet been galvanized into a mainstream social movement. This is because the millions of people who either volunteer or work in this sector have not seen themselves as part of a potentially powerful constituency.