|literacy.ca||Volume 5, No. 4, Winter 2004|
Non-Profit Sector Issues and Resources
A new report by the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) and the Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations (NVO) indicates that recent changes in funding models are affecting the ability of the non-profit and voluntary sector to fulfill its important role in Canadian society. Funding Matters: The Impact of Canada's New Funding Regime on Non-profit and Voluntary Organizations, by Katherine Scott, warns that the sector as a whole is at serious risk if action is not taken immediately. The report is based on a series of focus groups held in different regions of the country as well as roundtable discussions and interviews with funders, a written survey of nonprofit and voluntary sector organizations, in-depth case studies, and a review of existing research.
The report stresses that non-profit and voluntary organizations participating in the study were generally supportive of the aims of funders to increase accountability, support partnerships, promote diversification of funding sources, and foster efficiency and innovation in the sector. But the study found that changes in funding models have had unforeseen consequences for non-profit and voluntary organizations.
In particular, moves towards more targeted and
project-based funding initiated in the 1990's have left
non-profit and voluntary organizations scrambling
to come up with money for administrative costs and
core programming. Administrative costs not attached
to a project are considered less and less
move toward more project-based funding, some are falling prey to what the
Finally, the report notes
that- partly as a result of the
new funding models- the non-profit and voluntary
sector is suffering from
All this in a sector where human resources are already in critical condition due to lower pay levels, fewer benefits, and less security than in government and for-profit sectors.
While the report warns that the non-profit and voluntary sector as a whole is at serious risk, it also emphasizes that immediate action on the part of funders and non-profit/voluntary organizations could help reverse some of the alarming trends noted in the study.
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