For researchers

Information for researchers

We recognise that there is currently a lack of easily-accessible information for those seeking to use the records of voluntary organisations and NGOs in research.

We hope to address this through production of specialist guidance aimed at academic users, research students and members of the public – Georgina Brewis is currently drafting a book chapter on this topic. Information on how to access ‘informal archives’ retained by a particular charity is particularly lacking. In the meantime we hope the following articles and links will prove useful.

Georgina Brewis, Finding and Accessing Archives for Voluntary Action History (Archives Hub Blog, 15 October 2012)

Charlotte Clements, Preserving Your Charity’s Archives: First Steps (NCVO Blog, 7 May 2015)

Charlotte Clements, Archives in the Wild, (personal blog, November 2014)

Matthew McMurray, Charity Archives in the 21st Century (Report published by Royal Voluntary Service, 2014)

DANGO, the Database of Archives of UK NGOs since 1945, is an online, free-to-access searchable 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, alongside advice for NGOs looking to deposit and preserve their papers.

The Archives and Special Collections department of SOAS Library has produced a useful online guide called Sources for Charity, NGO, and Political Campaign Group Archives.

The Voluntary Action History Society aims to advance the historical understanding and analysis of voluntary action. Its website contains a number of useful resources for anyone researching the history of charity, voluntary action or NGOs including past papers and podcasts of seminar papers and conference presentations, information about upcoming conferences and events and a blog.

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund produced a report in 2011 mapping Trust and Foundation Archives provision in England.

What would you like to see here? If you have a question about research using voluntary sector archives, please send it to