Understanding the Older Adult NFP Sector in Ontario

About 8% of the NFPs in Ontario provided services and supports to older adults in 2003.  Additional analysis of the 2003 National Survey of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations (NSVNO) provides a better picture of the sector:
  • The sector is diverse.
  • Much of the sector is small, volunteer based and vulnerable to change. Half the older adult serving NFPs had revenues under $99,000 in 2003.  Over one third did not have any paid staff.
  • The province is the most significant funder in terms of the dollar value and the proportion of organizations that receives funding. 
  • Gifts and donations are less important sources of revenues than other sources for older adult serving NFPs.
  • Health organizations are different from other older adult serving NFPs and skew the analysis of the sector - they are bigger in terms of revenue size, staff and volunteer size and have different patterns of revenue. 

We asked funders and NFPs for their perceptions on the ability of the NFP sector to serve older adults. Here is what they had to say:
  • There is a gap between how NFPs and funders feel on the challenge ahead. Eight out of ten NFPs agreed that NFPs ‘identify population aging as a key challenge’ compared to six out of ten funders. Funders had a more optimistic perception of the sector and its ability to respond to the demographic challenges than NFPs working in the sector.
  • Funding is a serious problem for organizations serving older adults in Ontario. They have greater difficulty obtaining and maintaining funding than other NFP service organizations. Many funders and nearly all NFPs surveyed identified insufficient funding as an issue.
  • One third of older adult serving NFPs face real HR challenges in recruiting and hiring staff and offering training and development.
  • Volunteers are important but the recruitment, retention, training and management of volunteers represents a significant challenge to older adults-serving NFPs. 
  • Two thirds of NFPs report problems planning for the future. Close to 40% reported that internal organizational capacity was a serious challenge.

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