Our Editorial Advisory Committee offers questions to the sector for 2023

As we worked with journalist Sharon Riley on our 2023 outlook, we asked our Editorial Advisory Committee to share the questions and concerns they are holding as they begin 2023. Some of these issues have been touched on in Sharon’s piece; some raise new questions and tensions that we look forward to exploring in more depth as we work with our writers, advisors, and partners throughout the year. 

We look forward to our continued writing and collaboration with the non-profit and charitable sector – anticipating and animating the conversations the sector needs to have and the questions we need to be asking.

And if you as a reader have an additional question or thought to add, please get in touch at info@thephilanthropist.ca.

The pandemic – what we learned, the impact

  • “We’re thinking a lot about the cumulative impacts of the pandemic on employee stamina now that we’re at the three-year mark.”
  • “What have been the greatest successes in the sector since the beginning of the pandemic? What were the critical success factors?”
  • “In the wake of the pandemic, many not-for-profits continue to struggle. Where could they find some relief in order to rebuild in some cases? (Raises questions about government programs, municipal tax relief, etc.)”

Equity and inclusion

  • “Can we continue to lead with equity without digging in to dismantle and reconstruct the economic structure that assumes scarcity and haves and have-nots?”
  • “The big issues of our time continue to be top-of-mind: the climate crisis and the reckoning with entrenched inequality, injustice, and discrimination.”
  • “How will we nourish the value that feeds the philanthropic sector: love of humanity. This exists in the very young.  How can we reach them and make spaces for them?”

Decent work

  • “We wonder about the challenges of addressing the cost of living without letting progress slip on climate. How does the philanthropic sector balance responding to the immediate acute crisis without failing to act on the much larger looming crisis?” 
  • “We’re trying to figure out how we pay people the wages they deserve, especially with the high cost of living. Most decision-makers in the non-profit sector want to offer higher wages, benefits, and investments in professional developments, but non-profits are chronically underfunded and overburdened. How can non-profits leverage their limited resources to improve working conditions?”
  • “How about the recruitment and retention of talent in our sector in a difficult labour market and at a time when we are increasingly competing with government and businesses that are often much better positioned to offer generous compensation and benefits.” 


  • “The sector is facing ‘competition’ from crowd-funding projects that can reach the masses easily, and potentially remove would-be donors from the list. What is the effect of this sort of competition on the sector? Are there ways to compensate, and are there ways the sector can realistically use crowd-funding itself to help reach its goals?”

Endowed funds and the future

  • “How might foundations with endowed assets get better at thinking in greater timescales – seven-generations thinking, cathedral thinking, the ‘long now,’ and so on?”

Data and the digital space

  • “What, if anything, limits the usefulness of using US data and narratives about non-profits in the Canadian context?”
  • “As more social impact organizations move to digital models of operating, how might we work to embed ourselves in tech development, a sector that is desperately in need of social innovation – i.e., beyond ethical operations and governance, greater accessibility and inclusivity, and more sustainable footprints. Put another way, how will we expand digital civil society and the digital commons in the face of corporate and proprietary control of most advanced tech development?” 

The sector, the economy, and advocacy

  • “How might the social impact sector insert itself into discussions about the future of the economy, bringing in alternative perspectives to shareholder capitalism and the growth paradigm?”
  • “How can the sector prepare for possible changes in political leadership at the federal level in the next 18 months?”

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