social innovation

The Canadian Federation of Voluntary Sector Networks

The CFVSN draws together local, regional, provincial and territorial networks of voluntary organizations. The Federation is dedicated to exchanging information and resources within the voluntary sector; facilitating and promoting collaboration; raising the profile of the sector; building the capacity of the voluntary sector; influencing public policy development; and entering into dialogue with other sectors. Many of the member networks are organizing around funding challenges and opportunities, including:

For more information on voluntary sector networks, visit: Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development (CVRSD) (now merged with Carleton Centre for Community Innovation).

Funders Forum, Red Deer, Alberta

Local funders have been meeting over a number of years and have pioneered innovative solutions to address local social needs. The Funders Forum is a collaborative effort among various levels of government and charitable organizations that play a funding role in central Alberta's human services sector ( This group meets informally to network on topics of shared concern and work toward meaningful support of Red Deer's nonprofit community. In November 2004, it hosted a second Opening Doors Community Conference for arts, heritage, social, education, sports and recreation organizations across the region.

The Centre for Community Organizations (COCo): Community Cash Workshop Series

Montreal, Quebec. October 2004-May 2005.

This ONLINE series of workshops focuses on financing issues for community groups in Quebec. Participants can connect from anywhere, email or phone their questions to the speakers, and view background documents. The first workshop featured the CCSD research Funding Matters, and a discussion of the current status and trends in funding for the community sector in Quebec. Other topics include financial management and taxation; developing a funding plan for your organization; and social enterprise.

For more information on this innovative approach, visit COCo's website.

Community Development Halton

The workshop, Funding Matters: A Warning and An Opportunity, took place November 25, 2003. Over one hundred and fifty individuals attended. The event was presented by Community Development Halton in partnership with the Canadian Council on Social Development, the Ontario Social Development Council and the Halton Learning Foundation.

The purpose of this workshop was to provide an opportunity for Halton nonprofit and voluntary agencies as well as other representatives of the community to dialogue about:

  • the changing funding landscape in Canada, Ontario and the Region of Halton;
  • the impact of these changes on the financial capacity and long term sustainability of nonprofit and voluntary organizations;
  • the economic and social contribution of nonprofit and voluntary organizations;
  • the nature of the funding regime and the restructuring of the nonprofit and voluntary sector and needed changes to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations and the voluntary sector in Halton.

Katherine Scott's Keynote presentation at the workshop is available for download.

Funding Our Future - A Community Consultation for Ottawa's Voluntary Sector – Ottawa. June 2004

Over one hundred and sixty participants attended this event sponsored by the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, in partnership with local agencies.

Participants explored the primary impacts of funding structures on the voluntary sector in Ottawa, and responses to those impacts; proposed what strengths of the sector should be protected and built upon; suggested necessary elements, tools, resources and participants for working collectively to move toward the goal of an improved voluntary sector in Ottawa; and made recommendations for action which will move forward.

For more information, download the reports:

London's Voluntary Sector Employment and Training Needs Study Pillar Voluntary Sector Network

Shahin Daya, BBA, MBA, Mohamed Haitham El-Hourani, Ph.D Economics, Beth De Long, April 2004

This study serves as a starting point for understanding the sector and its role in the City of London as it highlights both the successes and challenges facing the voluntary sector. This report includes a comparison of London results to other studies and research reports conducted worldwide. In addition, focus groups have been conducted with respondents to further probe areas of interest. This report will form the basis of other studies to further our understanding of the voluntary sector.

Visit the Pillar Nonprofit Network website for additional information and reprts.

Niagara Voluntary Sector Labour Market Study, Centre for Community Leadership, Niagara College

This 2003 study was undertaken to sustain the significant contribution of the voluntary sector to Niagara's economy and quality of life by facilitating the development of a community owned strategic plan that would assist the voluntary sector to identify and meet its workforce needs. The report outlines recommendations to address key issues identified in the survey.

The study is available for download.

Similar studies have also been / are being undertaken by:

Building Strong Communities, A Call to Reinvest in Ontario's Nonprofit Social Services 2004

A network of concerned community service organizations and unions are working together to redress the factors that are undermining the effectiveness of Ontario's non-profit social service sector. The position paper referenced below outlines the problems of increased demand and insufficient funding in our sector and proposes short-term and long-term solutions, including a call for the provincial government to take specific steps to strengthen government social and economic supports for all Ontarians.

For more information, download the Building Strong Communites report.


Canada's Social Development Convenors

Phone: 613-236-8977

Kanata, ON

P.O. Box 13713 K2K 1X6

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