The editors of PANL Perspectives identified the following outstanding reports about philanthropy, charities and the nonprofit sector.

The State of the Canadian Charitable Sector 2023 Mid-Year Report, from the Charity Insights Canada Project (CICP) / Projet Canada Perspectives des Organismes de Bienfaisance (PCPOB), summarizes two dozen weekly surveys of approximately 1,000 registered charities between December 2022 and June 2023. Findings include: (1) charities are seeing rises in demand and increases in costs associated with their services, impacting organizations’ abilities to support and retain personnel; (2) charities are embracing EDI initiatives, striving to realize representative demographics within their workplaces; and (3) certain disparities, particularly in gender representation, underscore the necessity for heightened awareness and targeted action in specific leadership roles. Click here for the CICP-PCPOB’s State of the Canadian Charitable Sector 2023 Mid-Year Report.


Eighty-one out of 94 Calls to Action remain unfulfilled eight years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future (2015). This year, Yellowhead Institute’s Calls to Action Accountability: A 2023 Status Update on Reconciliation explains the inaction and what it means for the future. For example, the authors, Eva Jewell and Ian Mosby, identify five challenges: (1) paternalism; (2) structural anti-Indigenous discrimination; (3) exploiting Indigenous land in “the public interest”; (4) insufficient resources; and (5) performative measures and actions, as in the case of “economic reconciliation,” that serve as window dressing to manage Canada’s reputation. And the authors explain that when there is concrete action, such as the $23 billion settlement for Indigenous children and their families, “it doesn’t come from Canada (which can’t manage a single Call to Action in a year) but from Indigenous peoples, who fiercely advocate for themselves and resist the full weight of Canadian intransigence.” This special report from Yellowhead Institute is a must read.


The Burden of Care: Addressing Challenges in Employment in the Nonprofit Sector (Dec. 2023) is a report from the Environics Institute for Survey Research, in partnership with the Future Skills Centre and the Diversity Institute at Toronto Metropolitan University. The report is based on the 2020, 2021 and 2022 Survey on Employment and Skills (funded primarily by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre), using results from 639 respondents who worked in the nonprofit sector and more than 11,000 respondents who worked in the public and private sectors. The report concludes that workers in the nonprofit sector have lower job satisfaction than workers in either the public or private sectors. Nonprofit sector jobs are also quite precarious, with high rates of temporary and part- time employment, including many workers who are involuntarily part-time. Download the report here.


In June 2022, Canada adopted a new version of the Income Tax Act (ITA). Unpacking Charitable Law Modernization (Jan. 2024) is a series of reports and articles (some in French and some in English) from PhiLab about the modernization of the law, both in Canada and abroad. The report focuses on policies for social and environmental justice, innovative approaches and policies for the philanthropic sector, impacts of the increase in the disbursement quota and the relaxation of rules concerning the allocation of funds to non-qualified donees, and projects that are still pending and not currently covered by the new version of the ITA. The link to the series is here.


The US-based Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy released its annual trends report, 11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2024, a detailed analysis of philanthropy as it relates to the “increase of incarcerated students enrolled in higher education,” philanthropy as it relates to “Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities,” philanthropy as it relates to the southern US, and “With Crisis Comes Change: Black Women and the Glass Cliff.” For the other seven trends, download the full, 11-trend report here.


Nonprofits organizations and collectives need support to build their own data strategies, as well as their own data and data policies. A Framework for Nonprofit Data Strategies (2023), from the Ontario Nonprofit Network, can be used by nonprofits that are curious about data and would like to explore its applications to their work. The report is also intended for government and non-governmental funders, policymakers, academics and researchers who are interested in supporting the nonprofit sector as a partner in the data ecosystem. Click here for the publication.


Shifting Power Dynamics: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Nonprofit Sector (2023) is a 62-page slideshow that summarizes results from a survey of 1,655 charities and nonprofit groups. Led by the Equitable Recovery Collective and Imagine Canada, the report explores what Canadian charities and nonprofits are doing to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within their organizations. One finding: despite experiencing increased expectations and facing greater barriers, organizations with leadership from Black, Indigenous, racialized communities and other underrepresented groups are doing more than their white-led counterparts to advance EDI in the sector.


Imagine Canada report coverData from Diversity Is Our Strength: Improving Working Conditions in Canadian Nonprofits, from Imagine Canada (2022), demonstrates that our sector’s workforce is diverse but undervalued: 77% of nonprofit workers are women; 47% are immigrants; and 35% of the workforce is Indigenous and racialized people. And workers tend to be older and better educated than the economy-wide averages, but they face lower salaries and difficult employment conditions. The report lists the immediate action needed from funders, governments and nonprofit leaders.


Women Give, Report CoverWomen have become ever more influential in philanthropy, and they give differently than men. Women Give 2022: Racial Justice, Gender and Generosity (2022) is a report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, that analyzes how U.S. households, and particularly women, supported racial justice causes. About one in seven U.S. households gave money to support racial justice causes and organizations in 2020, and single women were more likely to give to these causes than single men or couples. And women are more likely than men to “view all of their resources—not just their money but also their time, expertise, and networks—as tools with which to do good.” The greater likelihood of women to contribute their time and talent, as well as money, has also been found in Canada, although we don’t have good data on giving to racial justice causes.


Carleton University PhD student Fahad Ahmad and MPNL alumna Rachel Pereira helped to produce a new report, Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy (in English and French). Prepared by the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and Carleton’s MPNL program, the report provides the first in-depth examination of the relationship between Canadian philanthropy and Black communities.

Sign up for PANL Perspectives' free monthly newsletter

Archive of Top Reports

Photo of stars is courtesy of Jeremy Bishop.