Welcome to the Social Sector!

Social Sector is a group of professionals working in, caring for, and championing for the charitable sector and all social enterprises. We are looking to deepen the understanding of the national state of the relationship as an important first step in moving towards a more equitable, transparent relationship between foundation funders and charities and changing the face of philanthropy in Canada for good.

Canada has the second largest charitable and non-profit sector in the world.

We want to create a lens through which to better see and understand what’s working and what can be improved in our sector – a sector that represents 8.2% of the GDP (an estimated $151 billion per year) and employs over a million people across the country. In fact, 10% of working Canadian’s are employed in the charitable sector full-time, which amounts to approximately 1.4 million people.

Our project

We are building a multi-phase project that begins by conducting baseline quantitative research to better understand the state of the relationship between foundation funders and charities in Canada; what’s working, what’s not, and what the implications for action are.

For the first time in Canada, a comprehensive analysis is underway to gather insight into the state of the relationship between funders and not-for-profits. In the first phase we surveyed over 600 Canadian charities. The findings reveal exactly what the pressing issues are for these essential social responders and are intended to open up the conversation.

Philanthropic foundation funders are a major and potentially growing source of funding and support for charities.

For the sector to thrive, the relationship between foundation funders and charities needs to be a healthy, efficient and effective one. How well are we doing? Though there is anecdotal evidence to suggest we could be doing a better job, we don’t really know.

Canadian research is needed to help increase understanding and alignment between foundation leaders and charity leaders in Canada to help strengthen the overall impact of the sector.

The goal of the proposed research is to:


  • Allow both foundations and charities to better understand what is needed of each other to guide conversations and explore solutions for stronger, more efficient partnering
  • Help foundations better understand how to help support charities so that charities are getting the right support for their needs
  • Review the strengths and weaknesses of the grant-making process to find ways to improve it
  • Help guide charity CEOs in understanding the needs of foundations.

This research will help foundation and charity leaders work together to have stronger positive impact and create lasting health, social and environmental change across Canada.

What does this mean for the sector?

  • Fewer, or the same dollars, delivering more positive social and environmental change
  • Transparent healthy relationships between foundation funders and charities
  • More focused efforts of what matters most
  • Increased responsiveness, resilience and effectiveness on the ground where the need is greatest.

How can we collectively focus our efforts on what matters most and remove barriers that keep the social sector from its full potential?

If you want to be a more effective funder, or if you want to get out of survival mode as the leader of an organization on a social mission – then join the conversation that allows us to better understand each other.

Get Social with the Social Sector

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