Social communication, aimed at promoting people’s rights and solidarity, has a marginal role both in the research
and academic education supply of Italy. Yet the nonprofit sector of the country, the protagonist of this
communication and its ideal stakeholder, has greatly developed in the last years, both in terms of dimensions,
competence and reputation. The nonprofit sector today has become strategic for production development and
employment creation of the country.
Our contribution has the aim of exploring the demand of knowledge within the field of communication,
inspired by the perception of the distance between the meagre university research and didactics, and the dynamic
nonprofit sector, with its potential interest in the development of cultural capital.
In particular, we see two main objectives in this paper: first to examine the communication needs of
some of the emblematic institutions of the national Third Sector; second to try to understand what kind of
perception and awareness they have of these needs, trying to reconstruct the context and the ways that favour
or prevent the birth and the recognition of these.
The research is based on the analysis of three projects, realised by just as many national nonprofit organisations,
considered particularly meaningful due to their witness of the ongoing unexpected raise of a problem
around communication, resulting in a surprising urgent social need for professional knowledge and skills
around these themes. These are: FQTS-Formazione Quadri Terzo Settore (Formation of Managers of Third
Sector), a strategic line of intervention by the Fondazione con il Sud (Foundation with the South of Italy);
the project La comunicazione al centro (Communication at the core) by CSVnet, the National Coordination of
Centers which provide services for voluntary associations and Sapienza University of Rome; the activities of
study, research and promotion of the culture of common goods by Labsus-Laboratorio per la sussidiarietà
(Laboratory for Subsidiary Work).
The case study came about thanks to analysis of the research outputs as provided by the organisations,
and of interviews to privileged testimonies.