Small Non-Profits Pack a Big Punch!

In 2007 and 2008, the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector in Canada completed two major Canada Wide surveys of nonprofit employers, providing data for the first major quantitative study of the nonprofit sector in Canada. The study highlighted the fact that the Charitable Sector in this country employs 1.2 million people, a significant number.

The study also brought forward the role of small nonprofits in this country — findings that were of particular interest to me because these charities apply regularly for our grants. Some excerpts from the published results of the study concerning small nonprofits are:

  • Canada’s nonprofit sector is made up mostly of small organizations. 75% of all Canadian nonprofits have less than 10 employees. 53% have fewer than five employees.
  • The average period of operation for a small Canadian nonprofit is 43 years. That period increases to 71 years if the organization is faith based.
  • These small nonprofit sector organizations employ 168,000 people. 75% of these employees are women. Regardless of gender, at least half of the employees are 45 years of age or older.
  • Employees of small Canadian nonprofits are well educated: 88% have a post secondary education; 40% have university degrees.
  • These same employees report a strong commitment to the cause they serve and a high degree of job satisfaction.
  • Employees of small nonprofits reported that recruitment of new workers is challenging.
  • They also reported that training is needed in the areas of information technology, financial management, fundraising and marketing.

The website for this ground breaking study is

To see some of the general public’s opinions on the nonprofit sector, I recommend the Muttart Foundation website,

I’ll make it the subject of my next posting in a week or two.

Glenn Stresman
Executive Director
WindsorEssex Community Foundation

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