What Does This Mean for the Future?
Change is coming to NFPs that serve older adults in Ontario. The number of older adults in the province will more than double over the next 25 years. While the current service system works, the sector isn't well positioned to respond and its capacity will be weakened as demand for services changes, its workforce ages, and volunteer and donations patterns shift.
Older adults and seniors are not a homogeneous group and NFPs that serve them are not all the same either. This diversity will make responding to the population changes more complex.
We now have an opportunity to transform the NFP sector by extending collaboration and partnerships, improving the use of technology, expanding innovative financing approaches, learning from other countries and jurisdictions and working with funders and policy makers to plan for change. Opportunities for NFPs:
Opportunities for funders:
- Enhanced organizational planning will better manage increasing demand for current and new services, the aging of staff and volunteers and changes in donations and giving.
- NFPs will have opportunities to extend their impact through innovative approaches, such as social enterprise and partnerships with other sectors.
- Growing interest in collaboration and collective impact will allow NFPs to better engage with all stakeholders to create an integrated community plan for wide-scale social change.
Opportunities for NFPs and funders to work together:
- NFPs identified the need for funders to simplify and integrate funding practices. Funders have an opportunity to respond to feedback and realign funding priorities to help NFPs meet the expected increased need for services
- Collaboration is just as important for funders as it is for the NFP sector. Funders coming together to discuss and act on the changing needs of the sector will better position Ontario communities and NFPs.
- Collective action and decision making between departments and ministries at all levels of government can increase the impact of efforts to better serve older adults.Communities will benefit from an integrated
plan from government.
- Improving our knowledge and understanding of the NFPs serving older adults in Ontario will allows us to better move forward. Limited information about the sector and other jurisdictions outside Ontario is a barrier to effective planning.
- The innovative use of public infrastructure can lead to significant benefits for communities. For example, schools can be transformed into service hubs and school buses can be used during non-school hours for transportation for seniors/older adults or as mobile service centres (similar to mobile libraries).
- Both NFPs and funders can benefit from a better understanding of the changing patterns of volunteerism. Volunteers are critical to the success of many NPF initiatives. Over one third of organizations in this sector rely solely on volunteers and a significant number of seniors rely heavily on informal support from family and friends.