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Postdoctoral fellowship - Evaluating the impact of federal funding practices on the communities served by nonprofits

Postdoctoral fellowship available

Imagine Canada is posting this job offer on behalf of the Elisabeth-Bruyère School of Social Innovation at Saint Paul University, as a community partner in this project.


Elisabeth-Bruyère School of Social Innovation at Saint Paul University


18-month community based postdoc on evaluating federal funding of non-profit organizations

Evaluating the impact of federal funding practices on the communities served by nonprofits 


Summary of the position

This is a unique research opportunity to work within an academic and community context to advance the non-profit sector's knowledge and understanding of how federal funding practices, processes and policies impact non-profits and how effective current funding practices are in meeting the government’s objectives for their funding programs. Working in collaboration with Imagine Canada, the Postdoctoral Fellow will lead the research study and develop several case studies of charities and non-profits that receive funding from different federal programs. 

This position requires a PhD in a relevant field (obtained within the last 5 years). The successful candidate will become a Postdoctoral Fellow at Saint Paul University, supervised by Dr. Krys Maki. They will also work closely with Emily Jensen, Imagine Canada’s Manager of Strategic Advocacy. A stipend of $50,000 per year will be provided, with a funding period of 18 months.


About Imagine Canada 

Imagine Canada is a national, bilingual, charity whose cause is Canada's charities and non-profits. Our mission is to strengthen and support Canadian charities and non-profits so they may better serve individuals and communities. We fulfill our mission by (1) collecting and mobilizing data, information, research and knowledge that help charities, non-profits and governments make wise decisions; (2) developing and advocating for public policies to help charities and non-profits carry out their missions effectively; (3) developing and delivering products and services that help charities and non-profits operate at the highest level of governance and deliver the highest quality programs; and (4) communicating the diverse perspectives, experiences and expertise of the non-profit sector to the general public, media, and government.

We’re committed to an ongoing process of becoming a more equity-driven, inclusive, transformative, and provocative player within and for the social good sector. We hold ourselves accountable for working towards three major goals: (1) the non-profit sector’s funding is flexible, reliable, and flows more equitably to organizations and communities; (2) the sector offers prosperous careers and is governed by courageous leaders with lived experience; and (3) voices traditionally at the margins are sought out and valued in decisions impacting our collective futures.


Research Focus: Understanding and evaluating the impacts of federal funding practices

Problem: A non-profit organization’s ability to serve its community and pursue its mission effectively is largely determined by its ability to access sufficient and stable financial resources. In addition to affecting overall organizational resilience and sustainability, the types of financial resources available to organizations affect their ability to attract and retain workers, deliver and measure the effectiveness of programs, and acquire and deploy capital to support new initiatives. Across Imagine Canada’s many engagements with non-profit organizations, we consistently hear that being able to access the right mix of financial resources is a top concern. We also hear that the ability of non-profits to carry out their missions is frequently limited by the way funding is allocated and administered.

Research Objectives:

  1. Understand how federal funding practices, processes and policies impact the communities that are served by federally-funded organizations.
  2. Understand the impact federal funding practices have on the government’s ability to meet the objectives laid out in their funding programs.


Methodology: 15-20 case studies of charities or non-profits of various sizes and types that, collectively, receive funding from four or five different federal programs.

Organizations and funding programs will be chosen based on the populations the programming is intended to serve, with particular emphasis on understanding potential impacts on equity-seeking populations. Data for the case studies will be collected via interviews with organization staff, monthly diary entries focused on experiences of federal reporting and audit processes, review of organizational finances, and focus groups with the communities being served by the organization.

Outputs: Expected outputs include a research report as well as additional knowledge mobilization products such as one-pagers or infographics explaining key findings. We will use the research results to support public policy development to address issues with federal funding practices and policies.


Commitment to equity 

We encourage applications from individuals from equity seeking groups: Black, Indigenous, people of colour, people with disabilities, members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and those with varied areas of expertise and lived experiences. Accommodations are available upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. 


Commitment to intersectionality and equity-based research practices

Some of the qualitative data collection (e.g. focus groups, interviews) for this project are conducted with and alongside equity-seeking communities accessing services and support from non-profit organizations and charities. Community based participatory research incorporates principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Intersectional feminist, Indigenous, critical race, methodologies that center the voices of those most affected by funding policies, practices, and processes and encourage reflexive research practices are preferred. 

Language requirements

The position requires excellent English verbal and written skills. Strong preference will be given to bilingual candidates who can read and speak French in order to communicate with francophone non-profit organizations.

Required skills and experience

This position requires skills in project coordination, community and partnership development, research, as well as in-depth knowledge and experience in the non-profit sector, funding policies, and strategic thinking:

  • The candidate must have a PhD obtained within the last five years. Applicants must have obtained their PhD at the time of their appointment
  • Commitment to social and economic justice;
  • Experience with equity-based best research practices; 
  • Demonstrated ability in qualitative research, data analysis, and report writing;
  • Experience with case study approaches, interviewing, focus groups and other qualitative research methods;
  • Experience with transcription and qualitative data analysis software (e.g., NVivo);
  • Experience with public policy research and knowledge mobilization; 
  • Experience writing for non-academic audiences; 
  • Demonstrated ability to work well within collaborative structures and networks;
  • Experience working with non-profits and charities; 
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as a team;
  • Strong knowledge of MS Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, videoconferencing (google meets, zoom, Microsoft Teams etc.);
  • Candidates must be eligible to work in, and be residing in Canada;
  • Candidates must be able to work from their home office.


Additional Desirables Skills and Experience

  • Knowledge of the non-profit sector and/or government funding practices considered an asset.
  • Bilingualism (French and English) strongly preferred.



The overall objective of this project is to enhance the ability of Canadian nonprofits to support the communities they serve, through improved federal funding practices. To achieve this main objective, we will pursue the following four objectives: 

Objective #1: Assess the impact of current federal funding requirements on federally-funded nonprofit organizations

1 a) Context Setting and Preparation for Data Collection

  • Literature review and environmental scan
  • Consult with stakeholders (federal funders, researchers, and policy experts)


1 b) Case Study Data Collection

  • Conduct interviews with representatives of each case study organization (via Zoom)
  • Collect pertinent financial information of each case study organization


1 c) Case Study Data Analysis

  • Analyze the data collected to identify challenges, key points of leverage, and where further research is required
  • Analyze the financial information of each case study organization


Objective #2: Assess the impact of current federal funding on communities served by federally-funded organizations

2. a) Data Collection - Focus Groups with Communities Served by Participating Organizations

  • Schedule and hold focus groups with people who are served by each of the case study subject organizations


2. b) Analysis of Focus Group Data

  • Analyze focus group transcripts to identify themes and areas of convergence
  • Objective #3: Understanding the impact of federal funding practices on the government’s ability to meet its own objectives 


Objective #3: Understanding the impact of federal funding practices on the government’s ability to meet its own objectives 

3. a) Data Collection - Government Funding Policy Review

  • Conduct an environmental scan of primary federal government funding programs active within the past 3 years.


3. b) Document and Policy Analysis 

  • Conduct document analysis of selected funding programs to identify key objectives and metrics
  • Conduct a comparative analysis of funding policy documents and interview transcripts 


Objective #4: Propose a series of recommendations and knowledge mobilization tools

4. a) Develop Knowledge Mobilization Products

  • Synthesize analysis into key recommendations on current challenges and barriers to impact 
  • Write an accessible summary research report and prepare slides presenting data and analysis 


Terms of contract 


18-month contract: September 2024 - February 2026

  • This is an 18-month term position 
  • Full time workload at a 4-day work week 
  • Generally operate during business hours (9-5pm) 
  • A stipend of $50,000 per year will be provided, with a funding period of 18 months

Working conditions 

  • Location: This is an open, decentralized position, but the candidate must be located in Canada. The candidate must have access to a home office or home workspace. There is available coworking office space available at Saint Paul University if the candidate is in Ottawa. 
  • Access to reliable and strong wifi and owning your own laptop and cell phone is required for the position.


Application instructions

The postdoc posting is open from June 21, 9am EST until July 12, 5pm EST.  Applications must be received by email with the words “Application Postdoc” in the subject line to Dr. Krys Maki

Applications must be submitted in English in one PDF document and include:

  • Cover letter 
  • CV/resume 
  • Contact information for two references (ideally one academic, one community based)


In your cover letter, please clearly indicate the following:

  • Your language competency in English and French. Please indicate competency in other languages as well.
  • Your availability to start in the position (availability for a September 2024 start is strongly preferred).


Clarification questions about the research portion of the Postdoc can be sent to: 

Clarification questions about the Imagine Canada portion of the Postdoc can be sent to: 

Interviews will take place online by video conferencing (zoom), July 22-29, 2024.