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Scope and Contents

From the Collection: The Independent Sector Records are divided into eleven series: Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations (CONVO), National Council on Philanthropy (NCOP), Board of Directors, Presidential Papers (Brian O’Connell) and Presidential Papers (Sara Meléndez), Annual Membership Meeting and Assembly, Program Areas, Subjects, Publications, Photographs, and Audio-Visual Materials. The first two series, CONVO and NCOP, are the predecessor organizations to the Independent Sector. The remaining series are post-1980 after the merger of the two organizations into the Independent Sector.

Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations (CONVO) Records, 1977-1980, consist of meeting files, legislation, and memos to members. These records document CONVO just prior to its merger with the National Council on Philanthropy (NCOP) to create the Independent Sector and are related to merger efforts. More complete information about the merger is located with IS Board of Directors Organizing Committee files.

National Council on Philanthropy (NCOP) Records, 1954-1979, consist of minutes, audits, correspondence, and publications. These records deal mainly with the organization just prior to its merger with CONVO, but do contain some in depth information about how it operated before the merger.

Board of Directors Files, 1970-2003, contain board minutes, reports, correspondence, and papers from the organizing committee of the merger. The main portion of this series includes a complete run of board minutes between 1980 and 1994 and the organizing committee files that provide a broad overview of the development of the organization. The organizing committee files document extensively the steps taken during and immediately after the merger in 1980 to make Independent Sector operate effectively. This series also contains financial information and program proposals usually within the board minutes. It also documents the strategic planning efforts of IS board members, with particular detail from 1999-2000.

Presidential Papers (Brian O’Connell), 1961-1995, consist of records of Brian O'Connell, the first president of the Independent Sector. These papers include an extensive collection of his speeches covering almost the entirety of his tenure as president. This series also contains his correspondence documenting the activities of his office. Another significant portion of this series is his Memo to Members, a publication providing information about the major political and social issues facing nonprofit agencies and O'Connell's thoughts concerning them, and status reports of IS activities.

Presidential Papers (Sara Melendez), 1994-2002, documents the Independent Sector presidency of Sara Meléndez. It includes her memos to member organizations, as well as drafts and presentation text of her speeches.

Annual Membership Meeting and Assembly Files, 1980-2007, consist of meeting summaries, correspondence, memoranda, minutes and agendas of voting member meetings, minutes of conferences, conference packets and brochures, program plans, and financial reports. The series contains a complete set of the programs and proceedings of the annual meetings. Audio cassettes for several of the meetings are also available in the Audio-Visual Materials series.

Program Area Files, 1971-2007, contains the records from the five major program committees of the IS: Effective Sector Leadership Committee (ESLM), Government Relations Committee, Membership Committee, Public Information and Education Committee (PIE), and Research Committee. This is the largest and most detailed series in the collection. It is divided and arranged alphabetically by the committee name.

The Effective Sector Leadership Management Committee, 1980-1997, promotes effective leadership in the nonprofit sector and establishes professional criteria for its managers. The records in this group include committee meeting minutes and correspondence, grant requests for programs, specific program information from campaigns like Daring Goals for a Caring Society and Measurable Growth, survey findings, brochures from executive recruitment firms, correspondence, and two newsletters: Quarterly and Leadership IS. Program files include subjects such as board development, ethics and standards, and management. These subjects are used to educate and train those in leadership roles in various organizations.

The Leadership Committee, 1992-2002, took over much of the work of the Effective Sector Leadership Committee when Independent Sector reorganized its committees. This series includes leadership studies, awards, and reports, as well as discussion of international ethics and standards.

The Government Relations Committee, 1971-2007, represents nonprofit interests in government policy issues. Records include transcripts of Congressional testimony, Roll Call tally sheets, drafts of position papers, drafts of bills, correspondence, and hearings briefings. The committee also published two newsletters: Government Relations Info and Action and State Tax Trends. This series includes extensive coverage of the Charitable Contributions Legislation hearings, interaction with the United States Office of Management and Budget, and efforts to raise awareness on current political issues through lobbying. It also includes records of the Electronic Data Initiative for Nonprofits (EDIN) and the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector.

The Membership Committee, 1979-2002, was formed to encourage growth in membership, foster good relations with current members, and coordinate campaign efforts. The files include committee minutes, memoranda, correspondence, prospect lists, prospect meeting packets, member profiles, flyers, brochures, progress reports, meeting attendance lists, membership lists, and the newsletter, Corporate Philanthropy. The minutes for the committee are complete through 1992 and document thoroughly its activities and agendas.

The Public Information and Education Committee, 1979-2007, handles publicity for IS programs and creates a public awareness of projects in the nonprofit sector. Records include news releases, correspondence, and award nominations and invitations for the annual John Gardner Award presentation, scripts of the film "To Care," and news print copy and PSA electronic media spots for the "Daring Goals," "Give Five," and "Lend a Hand" campaigns. These campaigns are documented extensively in this series and include information on the development and promotion to the public. The newsletter, Corporate Philanthropy, and the semi-complete set of minutes and packets serve as valuable tools for understanding the operations of the committee.

The Public Affairs Committee, 1997-2007, which includes the Public Policy Committee, continued the work of the Public Information and Education Committee and the Government Relations Committee. This series contains meeting minutes and agendas for the public policy committee, public policy reports, and documented efforts towards public outreach.

The Research Committee, 1978-2006, advances academic research in the nonprofit sector through its publication of yearly academic forum research findings in a compendium. It also conducts research and surveys in the nonprofit sector. These files consist of research publication compendiums from the annual Spring Research Forum, surveys, survey results, and documentation of the Hodgkinson Research Prize. Further information about the research committee includes audio cassettes of Spring Research Forums and interviews on philanthropy conducted by Richard Magat (available in the Audio-Visual Materials series).

Subject Files, 1957-2005, includes articles and publications published elsewhere and collected by Independent Sector for use in their work.

Publication Files, 1979-2007, contain general publications of IS and include annual reports, brochures, program plans, reports and pamphlets, occasional papers, and two newsletters: What IS Happening and Update. These records provide a broad overview of the finances and activities of the organization through annual reports and activity reports. The newsletters, program plans, and Overview of Major Activities offer condensed information about what the organization does. The annual reports provide not only program information, but financial statistics as well.

Photographs and Slides, 1970s-1995, contain photographs from Independent Sector events and campaigns. Included are photographs of former president of IS, Brian O'Connell, images from the Give Five volunteerism campaign, board and committee members, and publicity photographs.

Audio-Visual Materials, 1978-2003, contain audio and video documentation of the activities of the Independent Sector. The main portion of the audio cassettes is from the Annual Conference on Philanthropy and the Research Committee. The conference tapes cover a wide range, but only three of the conferences are documented extensively: 1980, 1987, and 1988. Other years include highlights or an important speech given. The Research Committee cassettes include Spring Research Forums and the interviews Richard Magat conducted while doing research for his paper, Prospective Views of Research on Philanthropy and the Voluntary Sector. All are good sources for historic trends and viewpoints from those active in the sector.

The videos in the collection include press coverage and a publicity video for the membership drive. The collection also contains a film of the charter meeting of the Independent Sector.


  • 1905-05-03 - 2003

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction.


From the Collection: 58.8 Cubic Feet (53 cartons, 6 cassette boxes) : Includes various audio formats (audio cassettes, dictabelt, 33 rpm records, open reel audiotapes) and video formats (U-matic, VHS, betamax, Super 8, film)


Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA