Charities aren’t ready for social finance — here’s how they could be

New research from Imagine Canada shows where charities are lagging in investment readiness

Why It Matters

Social finance could help charities support Canada’s COVID-19 recovery and become sustainable, but many are not ready for investment. Two-thirds of charities don’t even know what it is. Having lost billions in revenue, charities cannot afford to miss out on new sources of income.

In St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, the charity First Light has been trying its hand in business. In recent years it has established five social enterprises, from a childcare centre to an Indigenous cultural training program. From April to August last year its businesses accounted for 38.9 percent of the charity’s income.

“There was a point in time where we were reliant completely on government funding,” says Stacey Howse, director of programs at First Light, which was formerly the St John’s Native Friendship Centre. Relying more on their own income has helped them make longer-term plans and led to lower staff turnover, she says, while creating positive social impacts.

As Canadian charities look to recover from billions in


For limited access, create a FREE account

Limited Time Offer

Unlimited Access

Only $24 for the year 

80% off the standard annual membership ($119.50)

Enjoy unlimited access to insightful social impact journalism, special reports, talks and events that fuel your learning, development and decision-making.

For group membership discounts, contact us.

Already have an account? Log in

These special introductory offer is not available to current subscribers of the same subscription type. Your payment method will automatically be charged in advance the introductory rate indicated in the offer above for 1 year, and after 1 year the indicated standard. Your subscription will continue until you cancel. Cancellation takes effect at the end of your current billing period. HST taxes apply. Offer terms are subject to change