Third Sector

Sector Overview

touchstone-logoThe third sector, or charity sector, is made up of organisations whose primary focus is to improve the world around us. The purse strings are often tighter than in other sectors but, despite this, many charities are still thriving.

The third sector includes everything from health charities to lobbying groups, with remits ranging from local to international. Roles include service delivery, fundraising, communications, administrative functions and many more. The organisations that Stonewall works with understand the need for a diverse workforce to strengthen their creativity, productivity and campaign
effectiveness.

They also understand the importance of recognising the diversity of the communities they work with and tailoring services accordingly. For our Top 100 charity employers alone, this year has seen the creation of LGBT housing pathways, LGBT-specific adoption services and LGBT-tailored mental health outreach.

What staff in the sector told us
“The workplace culture in my organisation is inclusive of trans people” – 66% of LGBT employees said yes
“I would feel comfortable disclosing my sexual orientation to my colleagues” – 60% of LGB employees said yes
“Senior managers in my organisation demonstrate visible commitment to trans equality” – 56% of LGBT employees said yes
“If I was a victim of homophobic and biphobic bullying and harassment, I would feel confident in reporting it to my employer” – 88% of LGB employees said yes

2018 Workplace Equality Index statistics

67% of organisations provide information on language, terminology and different trans identities in their policies
Best sector for demonstrating commitment to LGBT equality on their social media websites (92%)

Third Sector section supported by Touchstone

In Focus

Third sector - Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall, Best Start Peer Support Project Coordinator, Touchstone

How did you come to work in the third sector?

I started my working life as a youth and community worker, but my first full time job was in a women’s emergency hostel. Now I’m at Touchstone developing a programme to give new parents and carers the confidence and tools to deal with personal and professional
relationships.

As an LGBT person, what’s it like working in the third sector?

I’ve been out for over 30 years, so I’ve seen the landscape change dramatically, but I think historically the third sector was viewed as an alternative type of career, where anyone
could fit in. I’ve always chosen jobs where I can be authentic and true to who I am. We’re here to represent people who may not otherwise have a voice, so as organisations we need to reflect all of society and give a voice to all communities.

What’s the best thing about working at your organisation?

At Touchstone I feel totally safe, included and respected for my diversity. I feel I’m actually celebrated for my uniqueness and all I have to offer, including identifying as part of the
LGBT community. That helps me to feel valued and encouraged. I also value that, as an organisation, we really try to listen to our service users. We strive to deliver services to people who would otherwise be excluded or marginalised and I feel fully supported by the management team to do this.

Are you involved in LGBT inclusion work at your organisation?

I helped set up the staff network. We’re a support to each other but can also provide expert advice to our LGBT/non-LGBT alliance, Pink Pals. There’s always power in numbers, so the group gives a sense of belonging to newcomers and reinforces our organisational
commitment to LGBT inclusion. As the LGBT lead at Touchstone, I’ve also helped set up an LGBT service user network and we recently held a consultation event on service users’ experiences of mental health services in Leeds.

What advice would you give to an LGBT person thinking about a career in your sector?

The third sector is big, so do your research and ask around to find out if the organisation is walking their talk. My area is mental health, where you can make a real difference to people’s lives by being a role model within a safe environment. It’s also an opportunity to provide services that give people an authentic voice and to create safe spaces where no one is judged. It’s a very rewarding and fulfilling job, made all the better working for an employer that strives for equality.