Staying on target in turbulent times

Despite uncertainty, nonprofits remain hopeful about achieving their missions

The policy environment for Ontario nonprofits has changed, and with these changes, challenges and opportunities often arise. Uncertainty for nonprofits creates many challenges, from ensuring services are delivered to maintaining staff levels – which can leave them in the lurch. Despite this uncertainty, however, nonprofits are still holding on to their optimism.

We asked nonprofits whether they agree or disagree with: Has your organization been significantly impacted by policy and budget changes?

More than a quarter (29 per cent) of respondents indicated that they were still undecided, while another third agree that they their organization has been impacted by recent policy changes. We also asked nonprofits how they feel about their organization’s situation into 2020, given the climate of uncertainty. More than a quarter (28 per cent) expressed that they did not know what 2020 would like for their organizations, while a quarter (25 per cent) of respondents expect their situations to worsen.

impact of changes on organizations 2019
future situation for organizations 2019

Despite all of this, nonprofits are navigating the challenges and doing what they need to ensure that they can continue to support the communities they serve.

We asked respondents if they agreed or disagreed that their organizations were growing and whether they are optimistic about making continued progress toward achieving their mission. More than half (51 per cent) agreed that they are confident about making progress towards their missions, while a third (29 per cent) are feeling overwhelmed by recent provincial policy changes.

is your organization overwhelmed 2019
how optimistic are your about your mission

The sector continues to remain engaged in advocacy efforts and has expressed that they will be doing more. Nonprofits are meeting with elected officials at all levels of government, including school board trustees. As the sector is engaged, we would like to see enhanced partnerships with government in delivering programs and services on its behalf.

Although it is positive to see that nonprofits are engaging in advocacy, the question remains as to whether they are being heard at the provincial level. This could depend on the subsector, region, or issues that the government is focused on.

contact with elected officials 2019

Many nonprofits have strong advocacy partnerships. Eighty per cent of respondents reported that they had communicated with other organizations and community members to tackle the challenges presented by the 2019 provincial budget and related legislative changes.

Nonprofits are convening, building networks, and engaging in partnership activities, working together to engage in advocacy. This is increasingly important, as with the challenges of the current political climate, working together strategically in areas where there is alignment can create positive change (as we have seen the media recently).

engaging the sector and communities 2019