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changing the conversation

Revitalizing the Non-Profit Sector is a new series of e-dialogues hosted by the Canadian Council on Social Development, in collaboration with our colleagues from Community Research Connections at Royal Roads University. Together, we are launching Changing the Conversation, a new open source space available to practitioners, non-government organizations, civil society groups, researchers, the private sector and communities to engage in civic dialogue around critical social issues.

Governed by the principles of Socratic dialogue, this space will host virtual real- time e-Dialogues and lead virtual peer-to-peer learning exchanges through the use of the most modern Web 2.0 technologies. In addition, it will serve as a repository for learning, best practices, tools and methodologies – a collaborative space to learn from each other, share insights and practices, and collectively build more sustainable communities.

Our vision is to change the conversation and increase civic literacy by developing a new “collaboratory” model, both place-based and virtual, to convene diverse sectors and groups of citizens in creative and evidence-based environments. This space will provide the opportunity to rethink and reframe current problems and challenges relevant and of priority to Canadian communities, and co-create innovative and scalable solutions. Reframing the issues is critically important to the identification of novel solutions and social innovations.


Revitalizing the Non-Profit Sector looks at critical developments in the nonprofit sector serving communities across Canada. Non-profit organizations are a vital part of every Canadian community. They provide a wide range of essential services and programs that touch virtually all aspects of our society: social justice, safety, human rights, environment, health, sports, faith, arts and culture. Taken together, nonprofits and charities generate upwards of $176 billion in income, employ two million people and accounts for more than 8% of Canada’s GDP.

At the same time, the sector continues to fly under the radar. The public continues to highly value charities and nonprofits, but remain unaware of the profound challenges undermining the capacity of non-profits to serve their communities.

Revitalizing the Non-Profit Sector brings together sector leaders to tackle four critical questions:

  1. The State of the Art: Where have we come from and where are we headed as a sector?
  2. The Future of Work & the Social Secctor: What will it look like?
  3. Social Innovation: What do we need for scaling out and up?
  4. Non-Profits in the 21st Century: What do we need for revitalization?