"What if?" Trends impacting the future of nonprofit work in Canada


"Mandatory creativity

In times of growing uncertainty, one thing is clear: we’re going to need to get creative. As the Turn and Face the Strange report suggests, “creativity could be the most in-demand skill sought by employers across all industries.” This includes the nonprofit sector, says Thornton.

For instance, more and more organizations are shifting towards Design Thinking, an iterative process that helps organizations gain a deeper understanding of the people they serve in order to come up with creative solutions that will meet their needs.

“I’ve already heard some nonprofits talking about trying to build the capacity for Design Thinking and thinking in more creative ways,” says Thornton. If you’re not already thinking about this and what it could mean for how you deliver programming and plan for the future, you should be, she adds.

“We need to have creativity – and the ability to read a situation, to connect, to know when to ask people for things – because the rate and pace of change is going to be even faster,” says futurist Hala Beisha, principal and founder of Resilience Factor and certified Leadership and Executive Coach. “We’re going to be experiencing scarcity of resources, so you need to be resourceful, you need to be creative.”

Creativity will also be critical when it comes to financing, suggests Emmett. “Nonprofits and charities should be really open-minded and innovative about financing and look at options like social finance, because I think donations are going to be under a lot of pressure,” he says.

Hala Beisha