The Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL) faculty team is launching a major five-year research project within the School of Public Policy and Administration that will change our knowledge about the charitable sector in Canada.

Through weekly surveys, the Charity Insights Canada Project—Projet Canada Perspectives des Organismes de Bienfaisance (CICP-PCPOB) will collect and share accurate, relevant, and timely information about the Canadian charitable sector. The data generated through this work will support the long-term economic viability, impact, and resiliency of the sector by assisting policymakers in making evidence-based policy decisions, developing data capacity for practitioners, and expanding knowledge of Canada’s charitable sector for all stakeholders, including the general public.

“This ambitious project will have practical applications for Canadian charities and policymakers and will help the sector remain agile and well-positioned to deliver its core mission of improving the lives of people in Canada and abroad,” says Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International) at Carleton University. “MPNL faculty members regularly carry out responsive research tailored to the distinct needs of the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, and this project is no exception.” 

The CICP-PCPOB, led by Dr. Paloma Raggo, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration and cross-appointed at the Sprott School of Business, is launching thanks to a transformational investment of $3.4 million from the Muttart Foundation based in Alberta, the Lawson Foundation and the Metcalf Foundation both in Ontario, and the Vancouver Foundation in British Columbia.

Paloma Raggo

Paloma Raggo

“This project is historic in the way that it has brought together a diverse group of foundations to co-invest in a shared cause. That level of collective effort is unique and underscores the importance of this work to our sector and the value it can bring to communities across the country,” says Dr. Raggo. “The consortium of partners supporting our work has demonstrated unparalleled leadership and long-term vision for the sector. We are thrilled to be working with this group of forward-thinking leaders.”

Canada’s charitable sector is integral to the Canadian economy and to the economic opportunity, quality of life and well-being of many Canadians. The sector provides more than one in ten full-time jobs in Canada, supports individuals and communities in financial need, and advances causes that matter deeply to Canadians and the world. 

The long-standing need to develop and evaluate evidence-based solutions, programs, and services to effectively address complex social and environmental challenges became even more urgent because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data collected by governments have been subject to a stark publishing lag – typically being released 18 months after their initial collection – and therefore cannot offer insights on real-time issues and trends affecting charities’ activities.

Philanthropic sector leaders have been calling for investment in better and more timely data about the sector for years. Through the CICP-PCPOB, foundations have stepped up to help fill this data gap. “Over the past two years, our sector has been tasked with managing and responding to a global crisis with no real-time data about the impact and trends within the sector,” says Bob Wyatt, executive director of the Muttart Foundation. “The data that we do have is of minimal value due to the publishing lag. This project will address that specific challenge and has the potential to be a game changer for the charitable sector.”

The CICP-PCPOB will collect data from a representative panel of Canadian charities on a weekly basis. Data from this rapid response panel will be made available on the project’s website for use and reference by the sector’s stakeholders, including practitioners, policymakers and the public, in near real time. The CICP-PCPOB website will also feature a training hub to enable stakeholders to learn basic data literacy skills. 

The launch of the CICP-PCPOB is a critical first step toward building capacity related to philanthropic research and data at Carleton. The University’s MPNL team has plans to create a national research centre, the Canadian Centre for Research in Philanthropy, to scale and mobilize research, provide accessible data and analysis, and convene conversations on issues that enhance public understanding and public policies. As part of the centre’s activities, the MPNL will seek support to establish three prestigious Chair positions, including the world’s first Chair in Data and Evaluation for the Charitable and Philanthropic Sector. 

“The CICP-PCPOB’s proposed activities are complementary to the MPNL’s plans for the research centre and Chair,” says Dr. Susan Phillips, CICP-PCPOB’s policy lead, professor and program director of the MPNL. “The three initiatives work together and build momentum toward Carleton’s efforts of becoming a national leader in the philanthropic data space.”

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Tuesday, March 15, 2022 in ,
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