What is ANZTSR?

The Australian and New Zealand Third Sector Research Inc (ANZTSR) is a network of people interested in pursuing and encouraging research into private, not-for-profit, community of voluntary organisations and the activities of volunteering and philanthropy.

ANZTSR was launched in 1993. It arose from the growing awareness of the importance of the Third Sector in Australia and New Zealand, and paucity of reliable information about it and the difficulty of working as isolated researchers.

ANZTSR is an Incorporated Association.

ANZTSR joins similar organisations in the US (ARNOVA) and the UK (ARVAC) and the International Society for the Third Sector Research (ISTR) as active networks that promote communication between researchers and help develop synergies in the research endeavour. Research networks have also formed in several European countries and regions, in Latin America and Japan.

These all testify to growing interest in the Third Sector.

The Third Sector is an important, but hitherto under-valued and under-researched sector of societies, political systems and economies.

Information about ANZTSR and the Third Sector can also be found in our Brochure.

A brief history of ANZTSR is available here .

ANZTSR is now on Facebook .

What is the Third Sector?

The Third Sector is constituted by all those organisations that are not-for-profit and non-government, together with the activities of volunteering and giving which sustain them. These organisations are a major component of many industries including community health services, rural, education, housing, sport and recreation, culture and finance.

Although they differ amongst themselves, third sector organisations differ as a group from for-profit businesses and from government departments and authorities.

Third Sector organisations vary greatly in size and in their activities. They include neighbourhood associations, sporting clubs, recreation societies, community associations, chambers of commerce, churches, religious orders, credit unions, political parties, trade unions, trade and professional associations, private schools, charitable trusts and foundations, some hospitals, welfare organisations and even some large insurance companies.

The Third Sector is gaining recognition in most countries as an important but hitherto undervalued and under-researched sector of society and of the economy. The experience of Eastern European countries has led many to recognise that third sector organisations are key institutions in civil society.

Many terms are used to refer to third sector organisations in different industries and countries. These include non-profit, non-government, community, voluntary, club, society, association, cooperative, friendly society, church, union, foundation and society.

The name Third Sector has gained international acceptance as a positive and inclusive term.


The Third Sector is widely recognized as playing a significant role in policy and service governance, development and social justice in Australia and New Zealand. The ANZTSR is at the forefront of advancing knowledge about the third sector as it supports, encourages and disseminates research from scholars and practitioner researchers in Australia and New Zealand. Membership in ANZTSR is the best way researchers and practitioners to keep abreast of changes and participate in a dialogue with others with similar and complementary interests. ANZTSR is not only an indispensable professional asset for scholars and practitioner researchers – it also promotes positive social change through the exchange of ideas and through associational solidarity. Your membership is vital to the continuing growth of Third Sector research.


ANZTSR’s mission is to increase, share, and apply knowledge about the Third Sector in Australia and New Zealand. Achieving its mission relies on ANZTSR:

  •  promoting the development of high quality research and education on Third Sector related issues, theories and politics;
  •  continuing to enhance the dissemination and application of knowledge about the Third Sector as widely as possible;
  •  stimulating and facilitating collaborative research initiatives;
  •  maintaining strong interdisciplinary engagement and broaden the participation of researchers;
  •  enabling scholars, educators and Third Sector practitioners to keep abreast of
    transformations and changes in the third sector and to be aware of best practices and available research;
  •  facilitating regional research networks that foster individual and institutional capacities for Third Sector research, education, and practical application.


ANZTSR will be recognized and respected for:

  • Its inclusivity, diversity, breadth of vision, critical engagement with major social, resource and political issues,
  • Its commitment to excellence in research and;
  •  Its collaborative approach in the pursuit of its mission.