Nonprofits exist to serve societal needs. Nonprofits exist where market forces are not adequate to serve segments of society and government actions are absent or insufficient. The Conestoga Social Innovation Lab works with nonprofit organizations of all sizes by providing applied research supports. When working with nonprofits, the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals provide an overarching framework that helps us define what impact a project is hoping to have. These seventeen goals help provide clarity of purpose. 

Supports offered 

  • Background research: We can help you explore what is known about a topic in the academic literature and amongst your fellow non-profit sector practitioners to help inform decision making or build towards a larger project. 
  • Place making: We can help build out an environment that will be supportive of creating lasting social change, either within a new organization or broader society. .  
  • Opinion research: We can help you explore opinions and attitudes of the public related to a topic to help inform organizational thinking. 
  • Problem solving: We can help implement a developmental evaluation alongside your projects as you focus on delivering services to the community, while we aid you in learning from your work.

  • Board development: We can help your board in addressing governance challenges, like implementing board evaluations, expanding recruitment, or revamping decision making processes. 
  • Impact evaluation research: We can help you design a process to measure and assess your work to provide accountability for funders and provide you the externally valid data to scale up your work. 
  • Knowledge transfer: We can help turn information from the journal articles and professional reports into an accessible format to share with your organization or the sector. 
  • Knowledge mobilization: We can help share the information we learn from our project together with the wider sector to ensure our projects support shared learning for the sector. 

Opinion research to knowledge mobilization

The Conestoga Social Innovation Lab staff worked with the Beasley Neighbourhood Association to conduct a survey exploring the top concerns of Hamilton residents. Results were used to help inform the neighbourhood association’s lobbying efforts with the city. Learn more about the project here

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