The mental health benefits of saying thank you

April 3, 2019

The mental health benefits of saying thank you - You’re rushing to a catch a subway – intense and focused on catching your train. An observer might think that you were a roller derby star in a past life, as you have no problem pushing your way to a place in line. Not that you’re overly aggressive, just assertive so that when the doors open you’re positioned to get on board fast, because by the time the subway gets to your stop it’s usually full and one must move quickly to get on.

Leadership conversations: Build trust or break it?

April 3, 2019

Leadership conversations: Build trust or break it? - Ahh, that trust thing – when you have it, everything is good. Without it, so much can go wrong. It takes time to build up trust and yet only a fraction of a second to break it. Every leader will face challenging situations. Navigating change; coping with surprises and/or breakdowns in communications; stakeholder(s) feeling marginalized and/or disrespected – these can all test one’s leadership.

Finally the conversation has begun

April 3, 2019

Finally the conversation has begun - My #METOO happened when I was 19. I was a university student working as a program coordinator and my job was to ensure that the 25 high school science teachers from across Canada had a wonderful time and excellent customer service while they were attending a two-week summer program at the university. He arrived early, having ridden his gold wing motorcycle across the country.

Addressing donor misconduct: Advice to boards and leaders

April 3, 2019

Addressing donor misconduct: Advice to boards and leaders - Last week, the New York Times reported on an ongoing pattern of harassment and abuse by Michael Steinhardt, a wealthy and powerful donor to many Jewish organizations. Fundraisers from several nonprofit organizations came forward as a part of the story, sharing their experiences of painfully consistent and inappropriate advances from Steinhardt over a period of many years.

How to attract younger talent to the nonprofit sector: What are Millennials and Gen Z looking for?

April 3, 2019

On the list of super powers requested by those in the charitable sector, somewhere near the top is surely the ability to know what “they” want. The “they” in question might be donors, board members, leaders or any group that is other than those we consider “us.”

As we ask questions about attracting a younger demographic to the sector, addressing a looming workplace gap, we might make guesses about what they, meaning young people, want.

But, first and foremost, the young workers don’t want you to guess or make assumptions. They want to be asked what they want. They also resist being lumped together as a homogenous group, or a stereotype so we’ve worked at avoiding those traps while still recognizing that there are unavoidable demographic influences that play a role in generational attitudes and preferences.

And so we asked a variety of members of the Millennial and Generation Z cohorts, as well as people who work directly with these groups, to hear what might attract or repel them from the sector. Their answers might surprise you, but so might they.

Stable good work.

Contrary to popular belief, “we’re not looking for unlimited snacks, ping pong tables or napping rooms. We aren’t thinking we will become millionaires,” says Emily Cordeaux, research grants & evaluation specialist, Crohn's and Colitis Canada. “What we are looking for is good, decent work.”

But this can be a challenge for many young workers. Cordeaux, who wrote Imagine Canada’s 2017 Young People and Nonprofit Work report, points to the challenge among younger workers in finding stable nonprofit work. “Although lots of younger people are highly motivated to work in nonprofits and come into this work because they care about a particular subsector or group of people, finding that first stable, paid position can be extremely difficult.” Precarious or temporary work is not sustainable for excellent young workers, many of whom are already challenged by student debt. Being able to secure a fulltime position is enormously appealing for younger workers.

Part of the problem is, as a contributor to the Imagine Canada report says, “The kind of position you’d make available for a new grad, the sector fills with volunteers.” This means the nonprofit sector tends to have a lack of entry-level positions. Further, Cordeaux has seen a number of entry-level positions grow with the employee, but when it is time to replace the employee, the new hire is asked to work at the level of the bigger position, something that usually requires more experience.

One way organizations try to address this is by combining positions, especially in areas that seem to appeal to the digital capabilities of younger workers. One anonymous contributor says, “It’s common to see ‘younger jobs’ include two or three jobs in one with no credit given to how difficult that is, and how skilled that individual has to be. I’ve never seen a graphic designer/manager role, but I have seen a graphic designer/social media role, which are two different skills.” This contributor adds, “Combining what are seen right now as 'young people's work' devalues it and is largely seen as a warning sign. They're called unicorn jobs among my friends.”

Experience and professional development

Mary Barroll, president of Talent Egg, a job site aimed at Generation Z, says that the number one thing the younger generations are looking for is experience and professional development. “They know they are short on workplace skills,” says Barroll, “and they are hungry for an environment that will provide that. More than anything, they want an opportunity to continue to learn, whether that is formally or informally.” While nonprofits with a relatively flat organizational structure and financial constraints may assume that they cannot offer growth opportunities to younger employees, this may be a misunderstanding of what younger workers want in this regard and there may actually be solutions that are feasible in most organizations.

Alyssa Lai, co-chair, Connect the Sector says, “Growth opportunities are not necessarily about someone moving up the ladder, but having stretch assignments and opportunities to add value to a role.” The Imagine report says, “Young people are drawn to employment that allows them to engage in different kinds of tasks and work in flexible and dynamic ways. They appreciate being trusted to take on new responsibilities and problem-solve, whether this means tackling new information technology challenges, learning to create a program budget, or writing a grant proposal for the first time. They appreciate work that is dynamic and that allows them to learn as they go.” Growth opportunities can include having a chance to job shadow someone in a very different role, sitting on a committee or working group within an organization, or developing new aspects to one’s work.

Clarity and candour

One generalization about younger generalizations that seems widespread is a craving for authenticity and transparency. Barroll says, “Authenticity is really what engages young people. They’ve been on Glassdoor and they can figure out what is hyberbole, misrepresentation, etc., and if an employer isn’t walking their talk in the recruitment messaging, the candidate will discover it and look elsewhere.” An anonymous contributor adds, “Your best bet to find young people’s feeling is GlassDoor. Those still working in the sector won’t speak up.”

Along with authenticity comes a desire for clarity. Cordeaux says, “Younger workers want flexibility but not ambiguity.” For Lai, this works its way out at all levels. She advises: “Lay out deliverables clearly. Share real expectations and lay out the state of your organization frankly, being willing to talk about where your organization might fall short.” She adds, “Even a job description is sometimes a problem in smaller organizations.”


What makes the difference for many young employees is the level of support they receive from their managers. “Young workers shared that how they were managed could make or break their experience at an organization in spite of their passion for the cause,” said Cordeaux. “There is some truth to the saying, people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” Barroll says that younger workers want feedback beyond simply an annual review. They look for regular, informal face-to-face feedback about how they are doing, and want to have access to management on a regular basis.

Younger workers also appreciate their managers taking an active role in their career development, something that is more widespread in other sectors. Lai says that too often nonprofit managers focus on the mission or the lack of budget rather than the career growth of its employees. At the same time, when Lai was once hired for a contract position, her manager demonstrated opportunities she would get within the role, opportunities that would help her achieve her larger career goals. “People think employees should start career conversations, but especially when someone is in their first job, they may not have the courage or the awareness to ask such questions. Leaders in other sectors think about how to help their employees progress in their careers. If nonprofit employers opened the door to that conversation, it could have huge positive implications.”

Culture of diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are values that most Millennials and Generation Z take as a given and see as essential in the organizations they work for. Lai says, “Language of diversity and inclusion should be second nature to organizations. For an organization to function well, it is imperative to adopt this lens in everything you do.” This means understanding the complexity and intersectionality of identities and experiences, and diversifying an organization’s workforce, governance, culture and conversations. At the same time, Lai suggests that organizations need to create space where honest, safe conversations about inclusion can happen, and workers can generate solutions to diversify an organization.

Interestingly this emphasis on diversity can overcome a factor that some nonprofits may have thought about as a liability: the reality that they don’t have other Millennial/Generation Z staff. Cordeaux says, “Just because an organization has no other young staff doesn’t have to be a deterrent – it might even be an attraction. I really enjoy working in intergenerational workplaces, where you can learn from people with different life experience and backgrounds. In that diversity is strength. Diverse teams are more creative and can come up with innovative solutions to complex problems.”

Culture of collaboration and appreciation

While Millennials and older workers appreciate being able to work from home, Barroll has observed that this is “not nearly as popular with Generation Z.” This is because younger workers place a high value on working collaboratively. They also highly value relationships with colleagues and the opportunity to work together. (This doesn’t mean that younger workers never want to work remotely; they like the opportunity for flexible work, but it is less of a draw that it once might have been. Barroll notes that this may change as Generation Z moves through the life cycle.)

This relational aspect to work extends to looking for opportunities to socialize with colleagues and supervisors. Barroll says, “Social gatherings shows younger workers that they are appreciated and gives them the opportunity they want to build greater relationships.” She adds that this can be as simple as employees gathering after a fundraising event.

Openness to change

The worst phrase for a younger worker to hear is “This is how we’ve always done it,” says Lai. In a rapidly changing world, younger workers want to work with organizations that are keeping up with the pace of change, and are open to taking risks, thinking creatively, allowing employees to take on different work. One anonymous contributor said, “I worked in the nonprofit sector for over seven years and left because of the intense pushback to bringing in modern workplace policies (i.e. working from home, flex hours), and the complete lack of response to feedback given to upper management at every place I worked, small and large.”

Finally, Cordeaux suggests that employers “remember what it’s like to be new to the world of work. It’s hard doing things for first time. You make a lot of mistakes, You say things in funny ways. You misunderstand tasks that may seem easy to a more seasoned employee.” She adds, “But everyone starts there. People can learn quickly – they just need you to give them that chance. A bit of empathy goes a long way.”

Susan Fish is a writer/editor at Storywell, a company that helps individuals and organizations tell their story well. She has written for the nonprofit sector for more than two decades and loves a good story.

Please note: While we ensure that all links and email addresses are accurate at their publishing date, the quick-changing nature of the web means that some links to other websites and email addresses may no longer be accurate.

How volunteering can increase your chances of getting a job

April 3, 2019

Volunteering allows you to gain experience, develop skills, and figure out what types of roles and responsibilities are best for your next move. In a way, you can think of volunteering as a tester job, but one that has the added benefit of helping organizations achieve their mission and vision.

My career in the nonprofit sector began with volunteering. I organized a successful fundraiser for the Canadian Liver Foundation and months later, was encouraged to apply for a job as Regional Coordinator. Leaping into the nonprofit world, my career began—and it wouldn’t have happened without having that initial volunteer experience.

Marsha Doucette, past GTA Regional Coordinator for the Canadian Liver Foundation, speaking at the 2012 Stroll for Liver.

Here are three reasons why volunteering can increase your chances of getting a job.

1. Gain skills and experiences. Through volunteering you can try new things and take a leadership role on areas of interest—in a relatively risk-free environment—possibly discovering skills and interests you were previously unaware of. Organizations will typically adhere to what skills and experiences you are looking to gain, which can set you up for the most success. There are so many different opportunities out there—it’s up to you to select the right fit and start building distinct skilled-advantages over other job-seekers.

2. Develop a professional network. Making purposeful contacts is extremely worthwhile. Through these networks you will find great personal resources of information, support in advancing through your career, alongside elevating your visibility amongst experienced, influence leaders in the community. When you’re volunteering, look to build the right relationships with a variety of individuals. You never know, they might be the connector to a future employer, or better yet, think of you when they’re ready to hire.

3. Boost your resume. Experience is valuable and is often a key characteristic of what employers look for in a valuable candidate. From resume to interview, when asked certain questions, ‘Describe a situation where working with a team allowed you to overcome a challenge’ can be answered with a volunteer experience. While demonstrating skills and gaining unique experiences is one thing, caring for the community with a willingness to learn new things in your own personal time, can be attractive attributes to a prospective employer.

Now, speaking with volunteer managers, we learn time and time again how many others got their start with a charity by volunteering. The organization recognized their impact, and enthusiasm for the cause, and saw there was less risk in hiring as they already knew there would be a great fit.

So if you’re looking to gain new skills, or take a fresh path into the workforce, consider volunteering your time first. After all, it will also let you know what kind of environment you’ll be walking into if things turn into a permanent placement.

Marsha Doucette (@marshadoucette) is the Head of Partnerships at Timecounts, an all-in-one modern volunteer management solution. Prior to joining Timecounts, she worked in the nonprofit space for over seven years; from organizing large-scale fundraising events for The Canadian Liver Foundation and motionball for Special Olympics, to presenting in front of thousands on stage representing Ronald McDonald House Toronto, to securing multi-year partnerships with major corporations at WE. She now connects nonprofits globally with Timecounts, a modern volunteer management solution.

Second Harvest to study and accelerate food rescue with a $1.8M investment from the Walmart Foundation

March 27, 2019

Second Harvest, Canada's largest food rescue organization, is undertaking the first national study of food programs offered by public sector and community service organizations though a $1.8 million CDN grant from the Walmart Foundation. Second Harvest will again partner with Value Chain Management International, a leader in food industry research, to map food programs across Canada. Their recent research collaboration, The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste, reported that 11 million metric tonnes of potentially rescuable food is lost or wasted across the food chain each year. This new study will determine the location and capacity of current food programs, as well as identify gaps in existing food rescue networks.

Thirty-six free nonprofit webinars for April 2019

March 27, 2019

Thirty-six free nonprofit webinars for April 2019 - Spring is here! Start it the right way by learning something new from our list of free nonprofit webinars the internet has to offer. Topics this month include how to build relationships using content, legal advice for nonprofit websites, convincing your board to fundraise, Google Ad grant help, and more!

Six steps to conquer The Evolution™: Social enterprise replacing charity

March 27, 2019

Social enterprise is replacing charity and that is great news! Given the space TACK10 Strategy works in and the audience reading this right now, I know that statement ruffles more than just a few feathers. Before getting too alarmed, understand that this represents an amazing opportunity for the charitable sector and all of us who have made it our life’s work.

Slow economic growth is the new normal in Canada. Overwhelmingly, most economists agree that the ten year outlook for growth is going to be much slower and lower than we have been used to over the past few decades. Led by uncertainty in the stock markets and political unknowns, Canadian businesses and Canadian families will continue to have more pressures on them when it comes to making financial decisions, inclusive of their philanthropic support for the causes that matter to them.

Sounds like a lot of bad news

All of this leads to the underlying factors contributing to The Paradigm Shift (covered in a CharityVillage article in February). Giving trends are changing. Younger audiences are increasingly supporting the causes that matter to them through their daily buying decisions. Daily choices have become a fundamental component of the giving lexicon. These same audiences are placing less value on what you do and are more interested in how you allow them to engage. They want you to allow them to contribute in a manner that is relevant, feels personally meaningful and makes them feel part of a larger community. Writing cheques or making direct financial contributions does not feel authentic or relevant to them… heck, they do not even have cheques!

The Evolution

The major output of The Paradigm Shift that we are now seeing is The Evolution. Social enterprises have emerged as the new model of engagement for consumers who wish to have cause impact. Charities are trying to solve the same issues as these social enterprises but have been slow to adopt this new model of fund development and stakeholder engagement themselves. That needs to change and the change needs to happen now as the current path has been identified as unsustainable to deliver on organizational impact goals.

Sustainable funding, sustainable businesses

The charities we all work for, with, or represent are in the business of delivering cause impact. Through their missions and working their visions, they are having significant positive impact, but funding this work is a looming dark cloud that seems to seldom pass. Funding for charities generally comes by way of three revenue sources; philanthropy, government funding and earned income. By now, every one of us should be accepting of the fact that philanthropy and government funding are on the decline or at risk and only earned income represents a model for sustainable fund development.

Social enterprise replacing charity

Going back to my opening statement, social enterprise is replacing charity and that is great news! It is great news as it means social enterprises have found dedicated audiences and they are building engaged communities. Businesses have taken the risk and have proven for charities that there is demand for this type of offering. Our focus now becomes creating an authentic and relevant in-house social enterprise model within the organizations we represent. The second thing these successful social enterprises give us are some great examples to learn from and if desired, even mimic their business practices and positioning. In so many ways, they have done much of the heavy lifting. It is now on the charitable sector to create their own earned revenue channels that support and advance the brand value they have built over the years.

Six steps to conquer the evolution

To successfully identify and build out an in-house social enterprise model, charities should follow these steps:

  1. Define the charity’s unique value proposition to its stakeholders
  2. Determine which audience segments the charity is best positioned to deliver value to
  3. Define that audience’s needs
  4. Ideate product or service offering that deliver on the charity’s unique value proposition and deliver on target audience needs
  5. Complete competitive analysis & develop the product or service offering
  6. Create the communications and partnerships plans that will support the charity’s launch of its social enterprise offering

As a charity, you have an advantage over new social enterprise businesses as you have already established relationships with your supporters. These individuals and/or companies represent the early adopters you will seek to engage as supporters of your social enterprise. While this is a distinct advantage, it also comes with great responsibility as that audience has defined expectations of how you as a cause brand will act. This is where authenticity and relevance come in. Own who you are as a charity when you look at options to create an in-house social enterprise and be authentic above all else. If you read the 6 steps and still feel overwhelmed or want further support to investigate this opportunity, reach out to us for a complimentary consultation as part of our 5% Pledge.

The final bell

The Evolution represents the opportunity of a generation for leaders of traditional organizations to think and act like entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and deliver long term, sustainable revenue models and engagement for their organizations. An in-house social enterprise model may not be right for every organization, but we would implore every leader to at minimum explore the possibility today of how The Evolution could apply and deliver value to advancing your cause mission.

James Chalmers is the Group President and CEO at TACK10 Strategy. “Manifesto: TACK10 is an award-winning professional consultancy focused on building and delivering products, tools, services and training in the areas of Growth Strategy, Performance Management and Partnership Portfolio Optimization. We work across four business groups; Brand, Cause, Property and SME to deliver unparalleled measurable results against organizational objectives. As a for profit business, TACK10 believes it is our role to have a positive impact in the communities in which we operate. In 2017, TACK10 made the bold decision to become a Certified “B” Corporation. The ethos of this manifests through a commitment to: People, Purpose and Profit. 5% Pledge: Annually TACK10 invests 5% of the previous year’s total revenue in providing complimentary services to organizations who themselves are having a positive social, environmental and economic impact in the communities in which they operate.” They can be reached at

Women and nonprofit work: Ontario Nonprofit Network's Decent Work for Women initiative

March 27, 2019

Want to learn more on this topic? We've partnered with the Ontario Nonprofit Network to present a free webinar on April 4 to explore this subject more fully. Register here.

At the 2018 Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Congress in Toronto, the closing keynote speaker, fundraising strategist Samantha Laprade, asked, “What can we do to change the way women are treated in the nonprofit sector?”

In order to answer and address this question, the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) received funding in 2017 from Status of Women Canada for a three-year project to look at how positive systemic change can come about for women in the nonprofit sector.

“Women have always talked informally about their employment experiences in the nonprofit sector, whether it’s about being stuck at a certain employment level or some other issue,” says Pamela Uppal, Project Lead - Decent Work for Women, ONN. “But it hasn’t been documented and until now no one has brought a gender-based intersectional (GBA+) lens to labour issues in the nonprofit sector in Canada.”

Last summer, under Uppal’s leadership, the ONN conducted a series of learning circles, key informant interviews and surveys, talking with more than 730 self-identifying women who work in Ontario’s nonprofit sector across subsectors. It looked at barriers women working in nonprofits face, examining whether barriers facing women in the broader labour market were also present in the nonprofit sector, as well as considering compensation, leadership development and other systemic supports that allow women to thrive in the sector. The ONN also conducted a literature review.

And while this might look like another Ontario-centric study, Uppal notes that in terms of numbers of organizations, two-thirds of Canada’s nonprofit sector is located in Ontario, with more than a million workers. She also notes that many of the findings from ONN’s work can be applied to the state of the sector across the country, and these findings reflect similar concerns coming out of US studies of women working in the American nonprofit sector. In October 2018, the ONN released the report that marked the end of the first phase of their project: Women’s Voices: stories about working in Ontario’s nonprofit sector.

We talked with Uppal to understand what the report showed and what the next steps are for the ONN, the Canadian nonprofit sector and the women working within it.

What did the report show?

In simplest terms, the report identifies the nonprofit sector as a femininized sector, with women within the sector experiencing discrimination in a variety of ways.

With 80% of workers in the nonprofit sector being self-identifying women, the nonprofit sector is often considered women’s work. One of the biggest takeaways from the study for Uppal is that this understanding of the sector has historically led the entire sector to be undervalued, something that seeps into its labour structures. She also observed that the ways in which we think about femininity have become embedded within the sector’s narrative and structures, even in seemingly positive or innocuous ways, such as passion for a cause.

Similarly, patriarchal thinking can be seen in everything from the relationship of an executive director to the board, to lower pay both generally and for women in relation to men in the sector.

Discrimination has a variety of faces within the nonprofit sector. One of the biggest myths when the study began, says Uppal, was the idea that when you have more women in a sector, things will be better. Similarly, an unspoken belief was that in a sector that addresses social justice, there would be no issues of sexism, racism, ageism or ableism. By contrast, the Women’s Voices report says that 46.4% of survey respondents said they have experienced sexism in the nonprofit workplace while 11.6% were unsure and 48.4% of respondents said they had experienced some form of discrimination other than sexism.

The report also reveals that this discrimination is often compounded by other parts of a woman’s identity, such as age or race. There is both a gender and racialized hierarchy in the sector where it's "women-majority but not women-led" in larger, big budget organizations, while across the sector a glass ceiling particularly exists for Francophone, immigrant and racialized women.

This can also be seen in one of the few other studies where any gender lens has been put on the nonprofit sector, CharityVillage’s own Canadian Nonprofit Sector Compensation and Benefits Survey. The most recent survey backs up the ONN study, contrasting the facts that women make up 85% of nonprofit support and program staff but only 71% of chief executive positions. The CharityVillage report observes that “the higher the seniority level, the higher the portion of male employees.”

The CharityVillage report also concurs with the gender wage gap that is evident in the ONN study. The CharityVillage report says, “Results continue to show that men who work in management positions in the sector earn more on average than women. The largest gap continues to be at the Chief Executive level, where average compensation is 17% higher among men than women.” The report goes on to observe, however, that the pay gap is shrinking and pay disparity may also be related to organizational size. Workers in women-majority subsectors reported fewer disparities between salaries in the ONN study, but these entire subsectors received less funding than other subsectors, reflecting a subsector-wide devaluation.

Uppal also notes that the nonprofit sector may be the only sector in which “some of our work force used to be recipients of our services.” This leads to a tension between professionalization versus lived experience.

Finally, in addition to discrimination, the ONN study also revealed widespread bullying and some sexual harassment. According to the survey, 32.4% of respondents have experienced harassment and 15.7% sexual harassment in the nonprofit workplace.

What happens next?

First, while no sector-wide study with a gender and labour lens has been conducted before in Canada, it’s not true to think that this study is only the beginning of action on the issues articulated by the study. Following allegations of sexual harassment by the artistic director of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre, for instance, the Canadian Actors Equity Association in conjunction with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres launched an anti-harassment campaigned called Not in Our Space. In another example, in early 2019, fundraiser Liz LeClair spoke out in a CBC op-ed about sexual harassment of fundraisers, writing, ““I want to stop pretending that sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual violence in the charitable sector is acceptable.”

But beyond these and other individual actions, the second half of the ONN project is focused on using its findings to more systemically better the lives of women in the sector. At the end of the Women’s Voices report are listed a series of participants’ recommendations, addressing a need for change at various levels. The recommendations are also useful for individuals who want to be part of the movement of change within the sector. Uppal says, “While ONN will lead and take on some of the recommendations made over the next year and a half, we encourage women working in the sector, employers in the sector, and stakeholders within and beyond the sector to take on parts of the agenda as well. Change will occur not only with multi-pronged approaches at various levels, but also with a whole network of people leading and supporting decent work for women.”

Uppal also observes that the report avoids terms like best practices in the belief that starting where you’re at, thinking through a gender lens and moving toward standards is the goal. “Our own goal in this report is to empower women to think differently about how they work within the sector and to ask different questions.” This could be as simple as a job seeker asking about whether a potential employer offers women-centred benefits such as maternity leave salary top-ups, as well as current questions about other benefits.

Over the next eighteen months, the ONN itself will be addressing what they have identified as ten key solutions at an organizational level, network level across the sector, and a systemic level, with recommended federal and provincial government policies. While these solutions are iterative or works-in-progress, the goals behind them reflect key issues identified in the first stage of the study, as detailed in the Women’s Voices report.

Among the key solutions at an organizational level, the ONN is in the process of creating a compensation guide for the nonprofit sector with a gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) lens that outlines different components of compensation, their importance, how they impact diverse women, and how to implement them. The goal of this guide is to establish a fair standard of compensation practices in the nonprofit sector.

On a systemic level, among other actions, the ONN is meeting with others interested in collectively advocating to make women’s equitable access to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits part of the 2019 federal election agenda, including lobbying and creating policy briefs on matters such as EI benefit waiting periods for new parents and adequate replacement levels during parental leaves.

A variety of key solutions address challenges at a network level, with proposed actions including a funder strategy whereby both governmental and nongovernmental funders of Ontario nonprofits facilitate decent work with a GBA+ lens in their funding practices. The ONN also plans to convene and connect women working in nonprofits with resources, professional development opportunities, and systems of support.

“Of course it will take more than eighteen months to achieve our broader goal of mitigating or eradicating barriers for women in the nonprofit sector,” says Uppal, “but as part of our research we have looked at and will continue to look at what we can do that will either make a difference to the issues raised or to lay the groundwork for these issues to be addressed in the future.”

Susan Fish is a writer/editor at Storywell, a company that helps individuals and organizations tell their story well. She has written for the nonprofit sector for more than two decades and loves a good story.

Please note: While we ensure that all links and email addresses are accurate at their publishing date, the quick-changing nature of the web means that some links to other websites and email addresses may no longer be accurate.

The Regina Cross Cultural Sharing Circle: A modest model for learning and development in diversity and inclusion

March 26, 2019

The Regina Cross Cultural Sharing Circle: A modest model for learning and development in diversity and inclusion - I have been fortunate to join professional and social or recreational groups as a way to balance education or work with the other important aspects of life, improve the quality of my life, and serve the community I live in. I have volunteered and also held leadership positions in these groups. It dawned on me one day, though, that I should form my own group and reach out to those who were like-minded in their interest in engaging more closely with diversity by learning about people and their cultures.

'Winter blues' can drag on year-round for younger workers

March 26, 2019

'Winter blues' can drag on year-round for younger workers - A dreary winter can leave workers feeling unenthusiastic and depressed during the season, but a new study suggests, the ‘winter blues’ can last well beyond the cold months for younger workers. More than half of employees under 30 (55%) report experiencing higher stress levels in the winter compared to nearly half of the overall working population (49%) who feel the same way, the results of a Canada Life survey showed.

New research suggests flexible working is now expected by Canadians

March 26, 2019

A new global study suggests there has been a power shift towards the employee. In many sectors, companies are no longer dictating what the regular work day looks like, instead the employees—the new so-called 'Generation Flex'—are calling the shots about when, where and how they want to work. Research conducted by IWG shows that 85% of Canadian respondents would choose a job that offered flexible working over a job that didn't. Additionally, more than half (54%) say having a choice of work location is more important than working for a prestigious company and almost a third (28%) would prefer to choose their work location over an increase in vacation time. In light of these findings, it's no surprise that 77% of Canadian respondents believe flexible working has become the new normal. As a result, in the past ten years, 69% of surveyed Canadian business people say their companies have introduced a flexible workspace policy.

Despite the fact that the majority of Canadian businesses have a flexible workplace policy, there's one overriding factor standing in the way of companies fully adopting the changes: corporate culture. Sixty percent of Canadians surveyed say that organizational culture is the main barrier to implementing flexible work, particularly for businesses that have a long-standing, non-flexible working approach. Almost half of Canadian respondents believe businesses fear the idea of embracing flexible working (45%) and many believe there is a lack of understanding about the benefits of flexible working (42%).

New tool for leaders to promote psychologically safe workplaces

March 26, 2019

The Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace and Dr. Joti Samra announced the launch of the Psychologically Safe Leader Assessment (PSLA), a free, online tool helping assess leadership strategies related to psychological health and safety. The assessment was developed by a team of Canadian researchers led by Dr. Joti Samra, R. Psych. – an innovator in the area of psychological health and safety in the workplace, and principal and founder of The PSLA can help create a psychologically safe workplace where employees can thrive. Through the tool, leaders obtain feedback on the extent to which they implement effective strategies in five key areas:

  • Communication and collaboration;
  • Social intelligence;
  • Problem solving and conflict management;
  • Security and safety; and
  • Fairness and equality.

The Small Nonprofit Podcast: The difficult conversations we need to be having with Vu Le

March 25, 2019

Are you ready for some pretty big #truthbombs about our sector? Mixing humour and honesty, Vu Le calls out our sector out on all the charitable sector’s shortfalls and challenges and helps us do better.

The hard truth

First on the list of must-talk about, is the dynamic between funders and nonprofit organizations. This is always difficult to discuss, but often the things that are most difficult to talk about are the ones that most need talking about.

Vu argues that the power imbalances and philosophies around how we fund nonprofits prevents us from reaching our potential - to the point where we can’t do our work due to restricted funding, short-term grants and the lack of trust.

There is an assumption (we’ve probably all felt it) that nonprofits will do terrible things unless they safeguard around where the money goes. That is not the foundation to a strong funder relationship.

As nonprofits, we are expected to be self-sustaining and are given some money but once it’s used, they need to find other sources of money because we can’t be “freeloading.” We are expected to change the world and invest our time and energy, yet we aren’t seen as a necessary investment.

Understanding our fears

Every organization is scared of doing something that loses funding. This is limiting our ability to take risks, tackle issues and invest in our priorities.

Whether it comes to feedback or dealing with a donor who may have said something racist - we aren’t allowed to fail or we won’t get funding. That’s really scary. It can damage our work, especially in the long run.

First we need to acknowledge and recognize our fears, we can examine whether they are realistic or not.

The reality is that most donors are open to giving honest, authentic and solutions-based feedback - but we are too terrified to give it back to them. However, they do tend to be appreciative and although you may get funders who will pull their funding because they are offended, you need to ask yourself if this is the type of funder you really want to work with.

Overall, Vu’s advice is to start to have those conversations. It’s scary but critical.

Let’s look internally, too

The irony is that for the most part, our sector is working to build a more just society and yet we perpetuate some of these problems.

One thing we can do is look at equity within our organizations.

Perhaps one of the topics Vu is most known for is advocating for organizations to include salary ranges in their job postings. This ensures that everyone, regardless of gender or race, is aware of the starting point. For example, women and people of colour can negotiate without worrying about being seen as “too aggressive,” undervalued or can assess if their proposed salary is overshot. We can also make sure we respond to our candidates and acknowledge when we have already hired someone.

Job postings should also avoid preventing anyone with disabilities or a lack of formal education from applying. Other information like one’s address, a working vehicle, driver’s license that aren’t needed to do their job should not be required. It doesn’t affect one’s ability to write a good grant or manage grantor relationships.

We also can’t forget about our colleagues too. We absorb a lot of trauma that we’re trying to address and can unconsciously perpetuate them to each other. We can avoid this by ensuring that we are paying them living wages. These practices build respect for the candidate and employee - that the organization respects their time and is doing their part to be a fair, equitable workplace for all.

Having difficult conversations is urgent and important

We need to stop working within the default systems that we are given through change. We need to stop and think: what is at stake if nothing changes? These issues are not going to solve themselves. Insead, they will continue to grow and will be even more difficult for us to do our work. There is a lot of urgency in being able to have these conversations and take action. You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just need to take the first step.

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Resources from this Episode

The Good Partnership Guide
CharityVillage Fundraising Articles
Rainier Valley Corps
Nonprofit: Absolutely Fabulous
Social Venture Partners
Nonprofit Happy Hour
ED Happy Hour
ED Unicorns of Colour

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Your Hosts

Cindy Wagman spent 15 years as an in-house fundraiser at organizations large and small before founding The Good Partnership – a boutique fundraising firm focused on small nonprofits. She has worked in social justice, health, arts, and education organizations. She has overseen and executed everything from annual campaigns to multi-million dollar gifts. She became a Certified Fundraising Executive in 2009 and received her MBA from Rotman at the University of Toronto in 2013.

With more than ten years of experience in development, staff and stakeholder management, strategic thinking, partnerships, board governance, and program development, Aine McGlynn is a diversely talented, self-starter committed to finding creative solutions in unexpected places. Aine holds a PhD from U of T and has a history of academic publishing, along with her decade of nonprofit sector experience. She is a practitioner-scholar focused on how to help nonprofits build their capacity to be successful at fundraising.

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