ONN Conference 2015, October 20-21


October 20-21, 2015

Allstream Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto, ON

The nonprofit sector is a driver of healthy, vibrant communities. Whether it’s programs & services, policy development, advocacy or strategy, our work is focused on the public benefit.

Nonprofit Driven is the platform to connect, share knowledge, celebrate successes we can build on and steer future change together.

The only province-wide event for all nonprofits and charities, Nonprofit Driven will bring together over 450 community leaders from across subsectors and Ontario communities. At last year’s sold-out event, we were thrilled to welcome over 40% of attendees from outside the Greater Toronto Area, and from a wide range of organizations including arts, sports, environment, social services and other sectors.


Together, we are driving positive change. Join us on October 21st for Seizing Opportunities!

Conference: Seizing Opportunities

Wednesday, October 21
9:00am- 6:00pm (Registration opens at 8am; Reception at 5pm)

Seizing Opportunities will focus our collective energy on the province-wide topics that are affecting nonprofit work right now – and we’ll look at what’s coming up on the horizon. What’s happening in communities, in government and in the labour market that’s affecting Ontario nonprofits and charities? We’ll open up conversations on current tactics and strategies to strengthen the sector and advance policy efforts to help nonprofits get their work done.

New! We’re thrilled to announce that our closing keynote speaker will be Henry Mintzberg, author of the visionary must-read, Rebalancing Society, and John Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management! Read more about Henry’s incredible career as an academic, a writer, and an innovative management strategist.

We’re also thrilled to host Rick Cohen as our opening keynote. Rick is a national correspondent of Nonprofit Quarterly, the U.S.’s premier journal of nonprofit policy and practice. Read more about Rick’s career in nonprofit leadership and public policy.

Four themes will guide the day: Governance, Assets, Evaluation, and Advocacy. Connect to colleagues in different parts of the sector and the province to share approaches, successes and learnings. With thought-provoking sessions and speakers to open the day and tie key elements together at closing, Nonprofit Driven is a chance for nonprofit leaders and thinkers to step back to examine the bigger systems that affect us all and take collective action to strengthen the sector for thriving communities.


ONN Member/Supporter Rates
$140 +HST

General Rates
$195 +HST

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 11.01.03 AM

Sessions & More Information

October 21 Conference Day- Session Information

For Wednesday October 21, conference sessions are based on three streams to help you get the most out of your day:  Horizons, Strategies & Tactics. Find the conversations you’re looking for. Watch for the sessions schedule to be announced shortly.  Registrants will choose four (4) sessions.

  • Horizons – These sessions are focused on the big picture, the deep questions, that affect the future of our sector. To lead effectively, sometimes we need to be thinking 5, 10, 20 years out: Why are we engaged in an area of work? What change do we want to see? What change do we want to see? What proactive approaches do we need to take to make change happen? What analysis is key?
  • Strategies – These sessions are focused on strategies for the sector that are playing out right now. In some cases, we’re mid-game. What action is underway this year? What can we do to set up the next phase of strategy effectively, and see what’s coming down the field in the months ahead? What collective action might we need to take in the near future
  • Tactics – These sessions are focused on the tactics- the skills and tools for our individual organizations and sub-sectors. While policy and systems play out, we have work to do and decisions to make every day. How can we incorporate these trends and issues into the practical work we do with our colleagues and boards?

Conference sessions and speakers

The Intersection: Conference Hub

Brand new for ONN Conference 2015! Join us in the Intersection Hub – a vibrant and intimate space to make new connections, start strategic conversations, test ideas, and connect for 1-1 mini sessions. The 1-1 sessions offer opportunities to receive tailored advice from sector experts in procurement, insurance, social enterprise, and more. Inspired by a session and ready to reflect or dig deeper with a small group? There will be plenty of coffee and tea on offer all day to keep you going, and comfy couches for you to rest, relax, and enjoy all the Hub has to offer.

Meet the experts. Wondering how a specific trend might impact your work? Looking for the right information to explore a new revenue stream or strategy for your organization? We’ve got experts on hand to get your questions answered. Session topics include: Social Procurement & Purchasing, Social Enterprise Strategy, Accessibility: EnAbling Nonprofits, Decent Work in Our Sector, and Insurance for Nonprofits. Don’t miss out on a private or small group consultation.  

A dedicated space for conversation. Our Hub Conversation Curators will be your go-to to find out what’s happening, connect to other passionate leaders, or to help you start a conversation that matters. Throughout the conference, connect with our Roving Reporters will also be taking great ideas and feedback back to the Hub and to ONN — to help inform the year ahead!

Connect with speakers. Incredible Conference speakers will be dropping into the Hub throughout the day, ready to get your feedback on sector strategies, start a conversation, and explore new ideas over a cuppa.

Relax & Recharge. The Hub offers fresh tea, coffee and snacks. Put up your feet and take a break!

Check Out Our Hub Expert Sessions

Image of 2015 Conference Hub Sessions

Get Member Pricing

How do I get the ONN member discount?

Click here for more information on becoming an ONN Member, and to sign up today.

ONN welcomes nonprofit and charitable organizations working in Ontario to become a Member and access all of our benefits, including voting rights at our Annual General Meeting.

We invite individuals, volunteers and corporate and government friends of the sector to become a Supporter and enjoy a range of benefits, including event discounts and special rates from service providers.


I thought my organization was already an ONN member – How can I check?

Call Kim (416) 642-5786 or email her at kim@theonn.ca

The Venue: Allstream Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto, ON

Located on the grounds of the historic and charming Exhibition Place, the new Allstream Centre is Canada’s greenest conference centre (100% green power!) and has picturesque waterfront and city views.

Get connected at this fully accessible space. Breakfast and lunch will be brought to you by Cerise Fine Catering through an association of the Windsor Arms Hotel.

If you’re staying overnight, Allstream Centre is close to hotels, live theatre, hundreds of restaurants, cafes and bars and the downtown location provides direct connection to local and regional public transit.

Parking & Directions


Public Transit

Toronto City Airport (Billy Bishop) is a 5 minute drive.

TTC: 509 Harbourfront streetcar

Directions: Take the subway to Union Station.
Take the “West-509 Replacement Bus towards Exhibition” which boards on Bay St. and Front St West. Get off the streetcar at Strachan Avenue Station.

TTC: 511 Bathurst streetcar
Take the Bloor subway to Bathurst station; board the #511 streetcar south to Exhibition Place. Get off the streetcar at Strachan Avenue Station.

GO Train: Get off the GO Train at Exhibition Station (one stop before Union Station)

Parking: Exhibition Place has over 6,500 parking spaces: 5,200 above ground and 1,300 underground.
Parking rate: $14.00 per car from 6:00am- 12:00am  (Price subject to change.)

Hotel Information

The Strathcona Hotel and the Gladstone Art Boutique Hotel are the official hotels of ONN Conference 2015.

Click here for booking information

Registration & Cancellation Policies

Please read our Conference registration policies which include important information about cancellation/refunds, substitutions, liabilities and privacy.


Volunteer on October 20 and October 21 to greet delegates, assist with registration, signage and other key elements to ensure a great event. We’re also looking for volunteer leads to spearhead AV, registration, speakers and breakout room coordination on the day. We make sure you have time to enjoy some of the sessions and network at the Conference reception. Interested? Contact Frances Pairaudeau at fran@theonn.ca stating if you would like a general or lead position. A teleconference call is required in preparation for the lead positions; otherwise we just need you on the day!

Sponsor opportunities

A unique opportunity to reach over 450 community leaders across Ontario and get valuable exposure through ONN’s 7,000+ subscribers and 8,000+ followers on social media. Sponsorships start at $250. Read more about ONN Conference Sponsorship or contact Frances Pairaudeau at fran@theonn.ca.

Pre-Conference: Building Foundations

Tuesday, October 20
9:00am- 5:00pm (Registration opens at 8am)

Back by popular demand, Building Foundations will provide a big picture overview of ONN’s current policy and advocacy work and give you a chance to actively engage in the fundamental skills and concepts on which ONN is built: policy, leadership, and action. This is a chance for newcomers to learn more about ONN’s work, and for leaders already working with ONN to get updates on what’s happening across the network, beyond their area of focus. A perfect entry point if you’re new to ONN or want to get perspective on our key ideas, ways of working, and policy context. This will be a more intimate gathering, so spots are limited.

Sold out in its first year, Foundations will provide context for ONN’s current policy focus. With the theme of sector-driven Policy | Leadership | Action, join skills-building workshops on:

  • Addressing complex policy and systems-level issues (policy)
  • Techniques for organizing and convening groups for change through networks (action)
  • How we can be stronger together through connected leadership (leadership)

Be part of discussions on key areas of ONN’s work and use the networking time to learn and connect.

Register For Conference Day 1

Day 1: Building Foundations Agenda

Image of ONN Conference - Building Foundations Agenda

Many thanks to our conference sponsors

United Way logo

United Way Toronto & York Region is a charity dedicated to creating opportunities for a better life for everyone from the waterfront of downtown Toronto to the southern shore of Lake Simcoe. Working in partnership with others, they mobilize people and resources to support a network of agencies that help people when they need it most. United Way also addresses the root causes of social problems, working to change community conditions for the better over the long term. For more information, visit: unitedwaytyr.com or follow them on Twitter @unitedwaytyr