Impact of Third Sector Organizations in Croatian Local Communities: Welfare State Helping Hand?
This paper aims to show how the third sector impacts the socio-economic development of local communities. We will present part of the results of the research conducted in the frame of a doctoral dissertation, "The impact of the third sector on the socio-economic development of Croatia”(Baturina, 2016) and research conducted as part of EU Seventh Framework Programme project Third Sector Impact 2014-2017 (grant agreement 613034). Both types of research were conducted using the qualitative methodology that included interviews with key stakeholders and case studies of different types of organizations in the sector.
The impact of the third sector on local communities was found in several different areas: building of social infrastructure and social capital, the creation of community identity, social inclusion of different social groups, providing social services developments and enhancing the local economy.
We will discuss the potential of the third sector as possible carriers of modernization on Croatian social policy. Changing characteristics of the third sector/welfare state relationship would be especially highlighted. In conclusion, we will explore what are some obstacles to realizing bigger decentralization of Croatian social policy that presumes cooperative relationships between state and third sector and further development of welfare mix and good governance principles for achieving the greater quality of life and social cohesion in communities.