Sessions and Workshops


The Power of Networks

The nonprofit sector is navigating many complex and interrelated issues across our communities. This is a key opportunity to tap into the power of networks, deepen connections across sectors, communities and geographies, expand and share leadership, and identify more ways to work and advocate together. This plenary will be interactive, inviting us to connect as we dig into some network-weaving basics. Map out your networks alongside peers and start off Nonprofit Driven with an inspiring look at the power of your existing connections, who may be missing and how you want to build your network!

Facilitator: Erin Kang

What does the future hold if the nonprofit sector reimagines leadership?

Building on last year’s intergenerational conversation on the future of nonprofits, we know the important role leadership will play in envisioning and building the future of our sector. Young leaders in our sector are simultaneously learning the ropes and navigating an increasingly challenging landscape. At the same time, they are bringing much hope, opportunity, and excitement in reimagining leadership – leadership that will help the sector challenge the status quo, radically center equity, and forge a new collective identity. Join this session for insights from new executive directors about their experiences, aspirations, and calls to action for how to reimagine and support emerging leaders in our sector.

Sponsor: Mark Beckles, RBC | Moderator: Medhat Mahdy | Panelists: Maryam Pandi, Tyler Boyce, Carly Gasparini

Nonprofits role in (de)polarizing our communities 

Communities are becoming increasingly polarized in ways never seen before. Extreme views built on a global ecosystem of misinformation are seeding divisiveness, distrust of institutions, and democratic apathy while clearing a path for more hate crimes and overt threats to progress on equity from coast to coast to coast. Join moderator Elamin Abdelmahmoud and panellists Debbie Douglas, and John Beebe for an invigorating conversation on the current political and social climate, and what our sector can do to depolarize our communities.

Moderator: Elamin Abdelmahmoud | Speakers: Abdul Nakua, John Beebe, Debbie Douglas

Realizing our sector’s potential in the climate justice movement

The effects of climate change are intensifying in communities across Ontario, and it is more important than ever for nonprofits to take action. Yet, many of us are not sure where to start. What is our role in the broader climate justice movement? How do we ensure a more sustainable future for the next generations? Join us to learn from a panel who represent a variety of perspectives, from climate policy officials and community activists to environmental organizations and other nonprofits. Regardless of your nonprofit’s area of focus or capacity, this session will illuminate how we can join the movement for climate justice through a panel of community activists.

Moderator: Robin Lawson | Speakers: Alexandra Whiteduck, Carole Monture, Maddie Carr


Open and equitable: Creating a data strategy for Ontario’s nonprofits

Ontario’s Nonprofit sector does some innovative work with data. However, our data work can often be fragmented and disconnected, making it difficult to use the data collectively, transparently, and equitably. In this session, we will discuss how we can develop a data strategy that will support programs and services, public policy development, and positive outcomes for communities across Ontario. Join this conversation to learn more about data standards, data privacy, organizational capacity, and leadership through an equity lens.

Speaker: Katie Gibson, Kim Patel, Shane Camastro

Visioning a future beyond the HR crisis

The time is now to mobilize collectively and strategically to tackle our sector’s HR crisis. If we don’t, the communities we serve will lose access to vital nonprofit programs, services, and supports. In this session, leaders from across the sector will share insights on how the HR crisis is impacting their subsector to highlight commonalities we all share. Then, with support of a facilitator, attendees will brainstorm ideas and solutions for the beginnings of a labour force strategy and workforce development plan. Let’s create a path forward that helps both the nonprofit sector’s workers and our communities thrive!

Speaker: Daniele Zanotti, Floydeen Charles-Fridal, Shana Hillman

Reimagining Governance: Stories from our journey and tools for the future

The Reimagining Governance project started out as a simple question: why do we keep doing governance work in a way that doesn’t work for everybody? Since then, it has been a winding road of deep discussions with a variety of nonprofits, challenging assumptions, and trying out new ideas. Join this session for lessons learned through this innovative initiative, and a ‘tour’ through the virtual Reimagining Governance Lab (launching early 2023). What could be possible if your nonprofit started the process to reimagine how it’s doing governance? Let’s find out, together. Reimagining Governance is a collaboration between ONN and Ignite NPS.

Speaker: Linda Mollenhauer, Erin Kang

Fireside Chat with Cathy Taylor and Dr. Notisha Massaquoi

A conversation between ONN’s Executive Director, Cathy Taylor and Dr. Notisha Massaquoi, an advocate for advancements in Black community healthcare for over 30 years. Dr. Massaquoi has been walking alongside ONN for the past 18 months, supporting their journey to work towards being an equity-responsive organization. This chat will provide insights on how both leaders are approaching and embedding equity in their work, and what they have learned along the way.

Decent Work: Recruitment and retention practices to advance racial justice and equity

Traditional HR practices like, prioritizing Canadian post-secondary education, assigning qualifications to job postings that don’t match the role, discarding lived experience, (to name a few) uphold and reinforce white supremacy. These practices have strategically kept Indigenous, Black and racialized folks out of the workforce, and prevented them from moving up within nonprofit organizations. In this skill sharing session, Tanya Sinclair, the founder of Black HR Professionals of Canada, will be guiding attendees through tips and intentional decent work practices that can support inclusive recruitment and retention. 

Note: The session has a maximum capacity of 40 participants. 

Speaker: Tanya Sinclair

Advocacy and policy stories from the frontlines

This past year, amongst elections and ongoing pandemic-pivots, we’ve seen new policy windows and opportunities open up for change. From the historic child care agreements, new arts and culture funding, to a collective push to increase supports for people with disabilities, politicians and governments are reacting and making commitments. As governments focus on “getting stuff done”, what does this mean for sustained advocacy and the long game of policy and systems change? Join nonprofit advocates as they share behind-the-scenes stories of advocacy tactics and campaigns, and where they are finding points of influence.

Speakers: Rabia Khedr, Kadon Douglas, Fae Johnstone

The state of public opinion and how to change it to support communities

In most cases, nonprofits cannot persuade the government of significant changes to policy without first persuading the public. While there is power in public opinion, it can also come at a cost to public policy. In this timely session, we’ll share new research from the Environics Institute with a real-time snapshot of how Ontarians are feeling about pressing issues and question what is public opinion, whose opinion matters, and how to use it as an advocacy tool.

Speaker: Liban Abokor, Andrew Parkin

Going, going, gone? The future of nonprofit community services

Government has brought in provincial legislation and operational changes to increasingly allow for-profit delivery of vital services that have been historically provided by government and/or nonprofits. From health care and child care to employment and training, parts of the care service systems are being commercialized. Countries including the United Kingdom and Australia serve as warning signs for what this means for communities – higher costs and lower quality care. What forms and patterns of commercialization or privatization are we seeing across Ontario? What are the implications for the communities nonprofits serve? Join this panel for insights on profit in care and potential next steps for the sector. 

Moderator: Maureen Fair | Speakers: Jackie Brown, Akosua Alagaratnam

Social financing 101: Learning the language and seizing the opportunity

Not sure what an asset lock is? Or how community bonds work? Around the world, social financing is evolving rapidly and becoming increasingly popular. In Canada, social financing is a hot topic at the moment, with a lot of buzzwords floating around – but what do they all actually mean? How can social financing benefit nonprofits? Whether your organization is looking for new ways to have your work funded, thinking of purchasing a building, or wanting to start a social enterprise, this session will help you learn the basics of social financing.

Speaker: Sarah Leeson-Klym, Ryan Collins-Swartz, MJ Sinha, Rudy Ruttimann

OPTrust Select: Aligning your retirement with the path to net zero

Climate change represents a growing risk to the financial system that we cannot afford to ignore. As people, policymakers and industries across the globe work to navigate the transition to a lower-carbon economy, investors are faced with both risks to manage, and unique opportunities to invest in solutions.
As the ONN-recommended sector-wide pension plan, at this session you will learn about how OPTrust Select is meeting the challenge head-on, and why OPTrust is committed to achieving a net-zero portfolio by 2050.

Speakers: Shweta Arya, Jason White

Reflecting on reconciliation and reciprocity as settler-led nonprofits

Over the past two years calls for settler-led nonprofits to do more meaningful work on reconciliation with Indigenous communities have strengthened. Our Indigenous-led, -informed, -benefitting, and -partnership (I4) nonprofits have modeled decolonization and reciprocity work but cannot be at the forefront of righting relations. We know many settler-led nonprofits have started their journeys, so what are the tensions and challenges of doing this work? Where are the pockets of hope and possibilities? How can settler-led nonprofits support each other and I4 organizations in this work? This facilitated session by Righting Relations will create space for settlers to reflect and act as accomplices with each other on these timely questions.

Speaker: Laura Severinac, Ally Crockford


Building a narrative and momentum for change

Ramp up your community mobilizing skills through a workshop focused on advocacy messaging. Learn how to create a strategy to mobilize your communities to craft and tell their stories, and how to weave messaging throughout to demonstrate collective movement. See how this can strengthen your collective approach in advocating to government and other decision makers. Get inspired by examples from the sector of how storytelling by clients and communities has been collectively used to mobilize policy change. This workshop will be led by Olivia Chow, an experienced public figure serving in Toronto’s municipal politics and on the national stage as a Canadian Member of Parliament.

Led by: Olivia Chow

Building fundraising capacity, even during tough times

Now is not the time to shy away from fundraising – it’s the time to learn how to execute fundraising fundamentals well and reach beyond your current donor base. This capacity-building workshop is designed for nonprofit workers who are wearing multiple hats and may not be fundraisers. Join Cindy Wagman and Brock Warner, experts in supporting small nonprofits and digital fundraising, for practical takeaways and steps you can implement right away. Whether you’re from a policy and advocacy organization or a frontline nonprofit, this workshop will help you support your mission by building your fundraising capacity.

Co-hosted by Cindy Wagman and Brock Warner

Harnessing nonprofits’ economic power to build community wealth

Nonprofits play many important roles in local economies: as purchasers of goods and services, investors, advocates, employers, renters, and owners of land or social enterprises. How can nonprofits leverage their broad economic clout to ensure wealth is returned to and built up in the communities they serve? Is it possible for nonprofits to align their economic activity with racial justice and reconciliation? Attend this session to learn about the community wealth building model, the tools and strategies to advance it, and ways nonprofits can align their economic activity with racial justice and reconciliation efforts.

Speaker: Chiyi Tam, Sean Campbell

Government relations: How to win allies and influence public policy

Governments make, implement and enforce public policy, but nonprofits, and the communities they serve have the power to influence it. For nonprofits, building a strong relationship with governments can be critical to advancing their mission, and keeping government officials informed on the key issues impacting communities. Join this session for a discussion on the importance of effective government relations with public servants and politicians who can be allies in implementing the sector’s recommended policy solutions.

Speaker: Sibel Cicek, Camille Gooden, Garima Talwar Kapoor

Ask Me Anything Sessions

Key considerations for nonprofit organizations to protect their operations 

With today’s world in constant flux, it is vital that leaders of nonprofit organizations understand the risks to their business and are adequately prepared and protected against events that could threaten the viability of their organization. 

Join us for a one-on-one information and networking session to speak directly with HUB International’s nonprofit experts about the most common risk exposures for nonprofits. Learn why General Liability Insurance is a critical component of any nonprofit program, how to prepare against a cyber security breach and mitigate risk with Cyber Insurance, and more.

Note: Attendees will have the chance to win 1 of 3 Visa Gift Cards valued at $100 each!

Get ahead: Fraud prevention and detection

Fraud can have a considerable impact on your organization, no matter its size. Aside from possible loss of money and time spent correcting fraud related issues, your organization faces potential loss of trust from clients and members. The long-lasting effects of which can be seen after you’ve recovered stolen funds.

It is important to stay informed about the various ways to protect your organization. In this AMA from Alterna Savings, we will discuss trends and best practices to help detect and avert possible fraud occurrences.

Speaker: Fahima Karim

Straighten out your payday doubt: Ask me anything about payroll!

Payroll and compensation are the most highly legislated aspects of your nonprofit’s financial life. Memorizing transactions for a few salaried staff is easy – but as soon as you stray from that path, complications set in! You’ll know what we mean if you’ve ever had to calculate net pay on a bonus, retro pay or termination pay, or if you’ve struggled to unsnarl confused vacation entitlements or employee benefits plan contributions. And – were you aware that changes to CPP legislation might have an impact on your salary expense budget starting in 2024? Don’t stress, we’re here for you! Alicia McGuire, Payroll Compliance Practitioner and Payroll Manager for Young Associates will answer your questions on payroll regulations, best practices, policies and procedures – ask her anything. We’re positive you’ll leave with a fistful of facts, ideas, resources and suggestions you can use right away. Plus – seven lucky participants will win a $25 Tim Hortons digital gift card!

Speaker: Alicia McGuire

AMA with Riipen: The future of wage subsidies for nonprofits

Whether you are an established nonprofit looking for support to reach new goals, or a new organization with too many projects on the “to-do” list, wage subsidies are a key tool in getting the right people to achieve your goals. This usually means filling out lengthy forms, adding interns to payroll, and having to contribute your own funds to unlock the subsidized portion–until Level UP.

Level UP helps you build capacity in the form of fully-subsidized, short-term internships with top student talent from across Canada. Plus, there’s no lengthy applications, no payroll changes, and at no cost to you. Just create your project scope, publish, and start connecting with students! Attend this session to learn more about Level UP and how Riipen can support the work of your nonprofit.

Speaker: Victoria King

AMA with Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF)

Join us for an informative AMA (Ask Me Anything) and get your questions answered about OTF and the upcoming round of the Resilient Communities Fund.

Speaker: Jo Anne Tacorda and Benny Min

Digging in with ONN is a Decent Work podcast series.
Access all episodes
Digging in with ONN Logo
A newsletter with public policy, network, and funding updates.
Get updates
Email graphic