David Larsby and Cathy Barr, Imagine Canada

In late April 2010, Imagine Canada released Volume 1, Number 1 of a new publication: the Sector Monitor. They state in the introduction that the goal of this report is to “provide relevant and timely information on the issues facing the charitable and nonprofit sector.

The report is based on feedback received in surveys from charities and nonprofits across Canada. Based on this information, Imagine Canada has created a baseline measurement for tracking trends identified across the sector. Some of the trends highlighted in this report include:

  • Almost half of Canada’s charities are having difficulty fulfilling their mission because of the economic downturn.
  • 22 percent of Canada’s charities admit that they are at risk of shutting down.
  • More than a quarter of leaders expect to have difficulty covering expenses within the next year.
  • Leaders of charities and nonprofits are optimistic that things will get better.

The report provides a breakdown of data between operating charities and foundations. Responses were used to create a measure of organizational stress, breaking data down further into categories of organizations experiencing high stress, some stress, and no stress.

Responses reveal an wide range of coping mechanisms across the sector, from increasing revenue to reducing benefits and increasing unpaid overtime. On the whole, organizations have attempted to maintain programs as much as possible.

The Sector Monitor promises to be great new thermometer for the health of the sector. The first issue provides timely information and easy to read summaries of key trends. Its success will rest on what information can be gleaned in future reports and how this data is used to track trends. Organizations interested in participating in the work of the Sector Monitor in the future can visit the Imagine Canada website.

Read this report if you are a leader of a nonprofit or charitable organization, or if you are interested in the impact of the economic recession on this sector.

Click here to read the Sector Monitor!

Review by Jennifer Hoyer

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