Our goal is to catalyze improvements in the Ontario nonprofit sector’s funding environment by advocating for the reform of the sector’s investment relationship with government and the removal of barriers for nonprofits to earn income.
Increase access to capital financing so nonprofits can build and maintain assets that support communities.
Nonprofits often struggle to access financing for capital projects. Lenders are reluctant to lend to nonprofits with few assets or uncertain or modest revenue streams and are hesitant about business models they often don’t understand or appreciate. In order to support repurposing or developing public infrastructure, the nonprofit sector needs access to long-term and accessible capital financing.
A community hub can be a school, a neighbourhood centre or another public space offering coordinated services in education, health care and social services. The Ontario government Premier recently created a Premier’s Community Hub Framework Advisory group. ONN is taking a leadership role to advocate for and provide context from nonprofits engaged in community hubs.
Channel the purchasing power of the public and nonprofit sectors to provide further benefits for local communities.
With billions at their disposal, governments and other public benefit organizations have so much more purchasing power—how do we make sure that these entities have a positive social impact when they spend?
ONN is currently working with our partners to develop a cross-government framework on community benefits and we’re letting nonprofits and other stakeholders know about the opportunities to keep more of the value of large infrastructure investments in communities.
Together, the nonprofit sector has significant purchasing power – an estimated $30 billion! However, we know individual nonprofits can face significant purchasing challenges. Nonprofits want supplier solutions that not only help save time and money, but ensure levels of quality and service. Find out more about ONN’s purchasing program and access free resources.
Foster a new investment relationship between nonprofits and their funders.
Beyond administrative modernization, the sector grapples with a range of funding challenges and trends, such as funding levels (including cost-of-living increases and investments for innovation/systems change work), investment in core mission support, changing modes of funding and the need for data and evaluation capacity to measure outcomes. Because of the power dynamic with funders, nonprofit advocacy on funding reform is best conducted as a collective effort. Our work on funding reform involves not just the Ontario government, but also municipal and federal governments, charitable foundations and private funders.
We’ve been watching the development of social impact bonds (SIBs) and the interest surrounding them for some time. SIBs as currently designed are not sustainable for the nonprofit sector unless they include the delivery organization in contract negotiation, program and evaluation design, ensure full cost recovery and include revenue sharing for the nonprofit. Find out more about our work developing SIB policy principles from a nonprofit perspective.
Keep public space in community hands.
Looking for land or facilities for your nonprofit? Find out more about this first-of-its kind registry in Ontario giving eligible nonprofits access to surplus government lands before they go on the open market.
Advocate for policy that enables nonprofit social enterprises to earn income to support innovation, sustainability, and a more inclusive economy.
The nonprofit sector is a $50 billion economic driver which generates 5.2% of Ontario’s gross domestic product and employs a million people. Rather than extracting shareholder profit, nonprofits leverage government and other investments via earned income, donations, and volunteer hours to promote community benefit throughout the economic sectors in which they are active. The growth of nonprofit social enterprise is constrained by our regulatory environment, that restrict opportunities. Investment in nonprofit social enterprise (loans, grants, and tax incentives) should be expanded to help this sector grow.
Streamline funding agreements with the Government of Ontario to strengthen investment and stewardship of public funding.
Funding agreements (called “transfer payment agreements”) with the Ontario government take up a significant amount of nonprofits’ administrative capacity, especially when it comes to financial accountability and budget constraints. There is a need to simplify and streamline application processes, budget templates, and reporting requirements.