2014 Research and Policy Agenda


This agenda outlines key policy and research priorities along with ongoing and emerging issues that will guide CCVO’s policy and research work for the coming year. It should be viewed as a living document, as the critical issues impacting the sector are anything but static.

Key Priorities for 2014-15

A variety of means will be employed to address the priorities and issues identified in this document, including major research undertakings, formal submissions, advocacy and government relations strategies, consultations, workshops, participation in working committees, and ongoing scanning, monitoring and information dissemination.

The 2014 Alberta Nonprofit Survey

The survey takes an annual snapshot of the health and experience of Alberta’s nonprofit sector. The survey gathers data on a range of organizational issues, including financial health, staffing, and future economic outlook. It also serves as a means of probing other issues impacting the sector. The data gathered has been used by nonprofits and charities and informs the work of government, funders and the media.

Alberta Nonprofit Sector Information

At present there is a lack of consistent and reliable information on Alberta’s nonprofit sector. We don’t have a good grasp of the composition of the sector, nor how it’s changing. Moreover, we lack an ability to pursue specialized research that could inform decisions relative to the capacity of Alberta’s nonprofit sector. CCVO has prepared a ‘policy ask’ to coincide with the GOA’s transition from a hard-copy societies annual return process to an online platform.  The ask focuses on adding several additional information fields and to make the information on Alberta’s registered societies available through an online database.

Nonprofit Labour Market Information 

Those involved in supporting the Alberta nonprofit workforce are similarly constrained by a lack of reliable and relevant information. The challenges associated with gathering useful labour market information are well-documented. In large measure, this is because the nonprofit sector encompasses a wide range of occupation and industry classifications on which common data sources are based and it is not easy to extract sector-specific data from these sources.

Moving forward with the development of a comprehensive labour market information strategy will require active support and participation from key stakeholders within the nonprofit sector and the Government of Alberta. In the coming year, CCVO will advocate for the provincial government to initiate a (biannual) nonprofit labour force survey.

Provincial Budgeting and Fiscal Framework

  • As in previous years, CCVO will publish an ‘in-brief’ style document that provides highlights of the provincial budget and an analysis of implications for Alberta’s nonprofit sector, and will prepare a submission for the 2014-15 Provincial Budget.
  • CCVO will also pursue a research project aimed at creating a historical account of Alberta’s gaming revenues and expenditures. This will provide some much-needed context for analyzing the financing of the Alberta nonprofit sector, as well as the creation or elimination of funding programs financed through gaming revenues.

Municipal Engagement 

In the coming year, CCVO will heighten its emphasis on municipal engagement and issues. A new Council was recently elected therefore there is an opportunity to forge new relationships and educate Councillors on the role and challenges of the sector. The City will be establishing its four year budget in 2014 and it is important the Calgary’s nonprofit sector effectively engage in this process. As the Province and municipalities continue to discuss the need for a ‘Big City Charter’, it is also important that the nonprofit sector understand potential implications.

Flood Impact Analysis and Learning

In the aftermath of the 2013 floods, there is continued need to seek to understand both the impact on local nonprofit sector, and to capture the learning that has occurred. In the coming year, CCVO will undertake the following activities to support this understanding:

  • Following the flood, there was concern about donor fatigue and other, non-flood related causes, being adversely affected.  In an effort to try to gain a better understanding of post-flood funding issues, CCVO surveyed a random sample of its members in late 2013. Analysis of this data will occur in early 2014.
  • CCVO’s Alberta nonprofit survey, will contain a special section for organizations located in flood affected areas, focusing on impact, outstanding needs, and learning.
  • To help Calgary’s nonprofit sector learn from the 2013 flooding and prepare for future emergencies and disasters, CCVO will develop a series of three case studies that explore how organizations responded to the flood. A final report will bring the cases together and highlight key learning and themes, what worked and did not work.

Ongoing and Emerging Issues

At any given time, there are a host of issues at play that impact, or have the potential to impact, the nonprofit sector. Some issues may rise in level of importance and become a ‘priority issue’ to which CCVO devotes more considerable resources.

Keep abreast of CCVO's research and policy work through our bi-weekly e-bulletin, and by following us on Twitter @nonprofitvoice.

If you have any comments or questions regarding our Research and Policy agenda, please get in touch with Geoff Braun, Director of Policy and Research, at gbraun@calgarycvo.org or 403-261-6655 ext 222.