Sector News Digest – January 12, 2021

This week: pandemic pressure on women’s shelters; Nova Scotia non-profits facing rising demand; new forecasting tools for fundraisers, and an announcement about The Philanthropist’s masthead.

Some of our own news to share

Danny Glenwright, our managing editor since August 2016, as well as executive director of Action Against Hunger Canada, is taking on the role of president and CEO of Save the Children Canada, beginning March 1. The decision was announced this week by Save the Children board chair Richard Stursberg, who described Danny as “a standout candidate.”

“Danny has a wealth of experience in the development sector, is a brilliant leader, and most importantly, he has the passion and drive to make a lasting change in the lives of children whose rights are most deprived,” Stursberg said.

Leslie Wright, publication manager at The Philanthropist and a member of the Agora Foundation board, said she was “pleased to see him take on this critical role with our colleagues in the international sector.” Succeeding Danny as managing editor is Lesley Fraser, who is currently associate editor. She launched her editing career just over a decade ago as the first copyeditor at Pink Triangle Press, overseeing the Xtra website and newspapers until 2015. As a freelance editor, she also contributes frequently to Corporate Knights and HarperCollins Canada.

Resilience and the non-profit sector

Carleton University’s Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program released a list of a tough year’s 10 most impactful reports, with an eight-page reflection on navigating uncertainty from accounting giant PwC and the McConnell Foundation in top spot. The concise document includes core questions for directors and leadership teams, the survey results of how more than 400 organizations are making strategic investments, and insights on the role that “collaborative technologies” can play in creating more agile organizations.

“Virtual work presents new opportunities for teams to use technology to engage, collaborate and find efficiencies that build relationships while driving longer-term effectiveness,” the report notes. “By investing in the right skills to help people move from a short-term focus on ‘business as usual’ towards a culture of lifelong learning, leaders can help promote the mindset and behaviours required to transform and adapt to an increasingly digital world.”

Sheltering places

Pandemic-related stress, cramped apartments, and rising unemployment have combined to produce a noticeable uptick in domestic violence and abuse, according to new research coming from a national network of women’s shelters.

“According to Women’s Shelters Canada, which released results of a survey of 266 Canadian shelters, 16 per cent of women admitted to shelters reported experiencing ‘much more severe’ violence,” CTV News reported this week. “Thirty-six per cent spoke of dealing with ‘somewhat more severe’ abuse.” Many shelters are finding it more and more difficult to respond to need.

“Isolation is almost like a gift for an abuser,” Nina Gorka, a director with YWCA Toronto, told CTV. “When you remove accessibility to resources, to supports, to transportation, to childcare, all of those pieces become a very insular experience for people who are experiencing violence in the home.”

Nova Scotia non-profit squeeze grows

The Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia in late December released an eighth-month check-up on how the province’s non-profits have fared during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on surveys completed by 211 groups. Besides the generally anticipated impacts – increased stress, reduced revenues – a handful of new findings has added troubling details about the pandemic’s fallout:

  • Some sub-sectors seem more vulnerable to temporary or permanent closure than others, including voluntary organizations and those operating in culture, sports and recreation.
  • The number of groups reporting an increased demand for services has jumped to 40%, from 27% in April.
  • Barely half of the responding groups – 52% – said they had received federal funding since the pandemic began, with less than a third reporting provincial top-ups or assistance.

The complete report is here.

Picking winners

Future of Good has put out a call to solicit votes on its list of the top 100 recovery projects for 2030. The organization has assembled and mapped a wide range of environmental, social justice, community development and innovation-oriented initiatives from across the country. They focus on a diverse set of goals, from seniors’ health to decent work to sustainable cities. Some are grassroots initiatives, while others have brought in funding from social innovation funds. To vote, you need to register with Future of Good. More details here.

Fundraising help

With so many charities and non-profits scrambling for revenues these days, insights into more effective fundraising techniques and tools have become the coin of the realm. To that end, Imagine Canada and Keela, a firm that develops software for non-profits, have teamed up to create a fundraising forecasting tool that is meant to help organizations make more accurate projections in periods of fluctuating income.


  • The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations will be holding a web forum on social finance and social entrepreneurship on January 21, at 2pm MT. Neetu Sidhu, of ATB Financial, will moderate the session, which looks at why these approaches have become increasingly important for non-profits. Details/tickets here.
  • The RBC Launchpad Music Entrepreneurship Program, in partnership with Toronto’s Artscape Daniels Launchpad, is hosting sessions on life in the music world and networking in a virtual – i.e., no live performances – era. January 18 and 25, both from 5pm to 7pm. More information on these two sessions and other Launchpad programming here.




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