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Ontario’s Government is “adopting new “digital practices and technologies that will deliver simpler, faster, better services to Ontarian’s.” In the 2019 Budget, the Government revealed its digital plan that includes, among other measures, the Simpler, Faster, Better Services Act.” And as per the Government’s claims, “if passed, it will significantly improve how government works and the services it delivers to the people of Ontario” (Government of Ontario, 2019).

At the same time, the organizations which largely deliver, government social services in Ontario (often coined “The Third Sector”), are experiencing an acute “digital skills gap;” the majority of reporting they are not “confident about having enough skilled staff or training to effectively use their technology for their work” (ONN, 2019).

Also, at the same time, Canada’s “Big Four” consulting firms, have been investing-in and building internal capabilities to advise “public sector organizations at the forefront of using digital technologies to transform the way they function” (Deloitte, 2019).

Over the last twenty years, the Ontario Public Service “transitioned from being an organization which provided service-delivery directly to clients, to an organization which now focuses its core operations on policy and program design,” outsourcing it’s “service delivery” to the Third Sector (Government of Ontario, 2017). It currently spends approximately $350,000,000 annually on consultants focused on technological innovation, making little additional provision to ensure these capabilities are developed in the Third Sector. This dissertation tests the hypothesis:

If the Government of Ontario shift’s spending from consulting services in policy and program-design at the ministerial level, toward a greater proportion of spend, allocated toward management consulting services focused on digital transformation of service-delivery, at the agency and point-of-service level, it will yield a positive social return on investment.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Undefined Role of the Ontario Public Service 8

1.1 Assumption 1: The Speed of Digital 10

1.2 Assumption 2: Consulting Firms Are the Required Intermediary 10

1.3 Hypothesis 11

1.4 The Approach: What if “The Big Four” were Retained? 11

1.5 The Problem Statement: The Third Sector Can’t Afford the Big Four 12

2. Context Behind the Hypothesis: Government Spending (A Market Analysis)

2.1 Government Spending on Transfer Payments: The Market for Social Services 12

2.2 Segmenting the Third Sector’s Transfer Payments 12

2.3 Government Expenditure on Consulting Services (The Market For…) 13

2.3.1 Government Buying “Technical” & Consulting Firms Selling “Technical”? 15

2.3.2 Costly Consultants Permanent Employees Could Do for Less 15 2.4 The Market for Consulting Service to the Third Sector 16

3. Literature Review: Existing Literature from All Three Sectors

3.1 Conducting the Literature Review 17

3.2 Broader-Public-Sector Literature on Government Transformation 17

3.2.1 The Creation of Streamlined Client Pathways 18 Government Literature on Streamlined Pathways 18 Third Sector Literature on Streamlined Pathways 19

3.2.1 Proven Outcomes & Tracked Evidence (Finance First) 20

3.2.2 Inter-Governmental Integration: Integration Before Digitization 20

3.2.3 Inter-Sectoral Integration: The Digital Requirement 20

3.3. The Big Four Literature on Digital Transformation of Government 20

3.3.1 The Preeminent Role of Digital in Government Transformation 21 A Tone of Urgency, Competition, & Optimism 22

3.3.3 Better Delivery Through Stronger Data 22

3.3.4 Self-Serve Models 22

3.4 Literature on the Third-Sector’s Skill Gap 22

3.4.1 The Sector’s Digital Skills Gap 22

3.4.2 A Lack of Internal Digital Capabilities 23

4. Research Methodology: An “Intrinsic” Case Study

4.1 Overall Approach: The Critical Success Factors to the Consulting Engagement 23 4.1.1 Research Questions: Breaking the Problem into Factors to Build Strategy 24 4.1.2 The Structure of the Research 26

4.1.3 Research Presentation Format 27

4.2 Research Plan 1: Factors For & Against, Digital Transformation; Third Sector Perspective

4.2.1 Description, Rationale and Expectations 28 The Survey (Questionnaire) 29 Semi-structured Interviews 29

4.3.2 Critique 29 The Survey (Questionnaire): The Sample Bias, Timing, and Reliability 29 Semi-Structured Interviews 30

4.3.3 Issues Encountered: The Good and the Bad 30 The Survey (Questionnaire) 30 Semi-Structured Interviews 30

4.3.4 Analyzing the Results 31 The Survey (Questionnaire) 31 Semi-structured Interviews 31

4.4 Research Plan 2: Providing Capacity Building Services; The Big Four’s Perspective

4.1.1 Description, Rationale, and Expectations 31 Semi Structured Interviews 31 Datamining for Verification and Fact Checking 32

4.4.2 Critique Semi-Structured Interviews 32 Data Mining for Verification & Fact-Checking 33

4.4.3. Issues Encountered 33 Semi-Structured Interviews 33

4.4.4 Analyzing the Results 33

5. Findings

5.1 Analysis of Findings

5.1.1 Third Sector Perspective: Analyzing Survey Results and Interview Responses 33 5.1.2 Market Factors which Support Digital Transformation of Third-Sector Organizations

5.1.3 The Big Four’s Perspective: Analyzing Survey Results and Interview Responses 40

5.2 Learning Points Toward Strategic Government Spending 46

6. Proposed Strategic Government Spending

6.1 Diverting Funding from Program & Policy Design to Service Delivery 46

6.1.2 Provincial Transfer Payments to Create Scale and Efficiency 47 Creating Scale Through Operations Design 47 Creating Third Sector Scale Through Consolidation 47 Issuing Tenders for Management Consulting Services Toward Digital Transformation

7. Concluding Remarks

7.1 Dissertation Summary 48

7.2 Critique and Limitations 48

7.2.1 Lack of Technical Rigor 49

7.2.2 Lack of Formal Financial Analysis 49

7.3 Further Research 49

#fundraising #digitaltransformation #toronto #socialimpact #wbs #love #impactinvesting #sdgs #csr #esg

Four years ago, I wrote:

The key issues facing Save the Children are: developing new markets, especially in emerging middle income countries; growing our private income by addressing the low levels of unrestricted income relative to overall income, which puts our independence at risk as well as our ability to drive our work for children in a strategic, purposeful way with a focus beyond 2015; and implementing knowledge/best practice sharing to develop a shared toolkit to provide a common language necessary to incentivize corporate partners to make investments toward the organization’s goal.

Save the Children Canada “reaches the most vulnerable children in nearly 120 countries around the world – including Canada.”

It will be critical that the movement maintain a portfolio of short/medium/long term market investments, and balance the requirement for adequate short-term market investment to drive 2015 income growth targets. This requires the need to grow market presence in Canada and be an early mover to markets especially in Asia, Latin America & the Caribbean, and possibly longer term, Africa. Given our membership structure of 30 member countries (offices) globally, a list of potential members will need to be further assessed against a set of criteria that includes: the ability to grow unrestricted funds/regular giving; significant growth potential in strategic markets that match the organizations mission; and have adequate governance and senior leadership to support new investments.

With a long-term objective of building new members in strategic countries, unlocking untapped potential in Canada and investing in new markets, like Asia, will be especially important since the organization is currently losing market share to other major international non-governmental organizations. However, to accomplish this effectively, Save the Children will have to assess new markets across Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East against different attributes linked to the following areas: economic demographics of the market, fundraising culture and infrastructure; size and value of the fundraising market, and fit and alignment with Save the Children’s mission.

To capture these opportunities, clear investment criteria and mechanisms must be developed and set, such as establishing a global investment fund, spearheaded in large part by the Canadian extractives industry. To ensure that investment is made strategically, a set of criteria to assess high performance by members for income generation and member growth will need to be developed. Investment will need to be targeted at: programmes; advocacy; communications, governance, and innovation etc.

In terms of member performance, members should be assessed with a set of criteria adapted to the context of their local market. Different contexts mean that members will play different roles and have different approaches. Therefore, the organization will have to establish a new classification of members to reflect the diversity of their roles and also allow for clear targeting of priority markets. The key Governance and leadership issue here is that the organization considers a centrally coordinated approach to new and existing markets, with a single point of joint responsibility for driving forward market development. This will also require strong member leadership.

Further external and internal sources of funding need to be investigated, including: social loans from philanthropists/foundations, charity bonds, and new forms of corporate partnership. For this to happen, Save the Children must be able to align corporate partners to accessing strategic markets without compromising our core values, and this will require an organizational paradigm shift. Save the Children and most other NGOs for that matter, do not spend adequate time thinking about business, let alone markets; Even-though they have profound influence on both. NGOs act as forms of distributed intelligence and conscience in the market place and in retrospect, many of the market outcomes of NGO pressures have been incidental, unplanned, even accidental. The system-level changes needed to build sustainable economies conducted by Save the Children must best begin to be deployed to this end.

Save the Children Canada needs to unlock and leverage the enormous development potential of foreign investment for the betterment of developing communities toward models of successful partnership, risk-reward balancing, and funding with the Canadian Extractives Sector. The Canada Investment Fund for Africa (CIFA), a two hundred million dollar public-private investment fund, was designed to stimulate growth in Africa through mid-market private equity investments with a focus on financial services, consumer businesses, natural resources, logistics and agro-industry. Canada launched CIFA in response to the G8 Africa Action Plan. Approximately twenty four percent of CIFA investments are currently in six extractive sector projects, four of which are operated by Canadian or Canadian-listed companies and a substantial portion of the fund being allocated for strategic partnerships with NGOs. It is critical that Save the Children becomes a priority partner.

Common tool-kits will-be necessary to provide a consistent language between NGOs and extractive companies; engagement often done at the local, and not head office, level. This would allow for in-country engagement between the organizations. The development of regional centers of excellence and knowledge alongside measures for improving peer to peer learning and best practice sharing will be a critical component to raising the necessary organizational capacity.

Members will require a range of capacity building tools linked to the delivery of specific programs: best practice sharing and tool-kits, and workshops and training across all income streams, channels and techniques. This will be even more critical as NGOs like Save the Children engage with the extractives industry and make the business case for global partnership.

The Sector Inc provides strategic funding proposal writing services for social-purposed-organizations unifying the previously exclusive disciplines of business planning & analysis, corporate & social finance, public finance & government funding, charitable fundraising, organizational design, program & social service delivery, corporate responsibility & ESG, and monitoring & evaluation.

#internationaldevelopment #wbs #socialinnovation #impactinvesting #fundraising #sdgs

Again, taking a look back. Remembering the struggle, hope, fear, inspiration, self doubt, and relentless arrogance, which led to Warwick…four years ago, on my entrance essay’s I wrote:

“Given the lateness of my age when I completed my undergraduate degree, I would like to take this opportunity to avoid any misconception that I am an inexperienced, recent, university graduate. I am a 33 year-old mid-senior level professional with eleven years managerial work experience. As indicated, I attended full-time university during the years of 2004-2008; and 2008-2009 (part-time). I delayed convocation until 2010; I worked full-time throughout my undergraduate, during the ages of twenty four to twenty nine.”

Frankly the financial obligation I carried from the years of marginalization required me to work three jobs, while completing my advanced high-school credits, to earn admission.

I remember explaining to a lovely woman at the University of Western Ontario registrar’s office, thinking nothing of it, my first week of my undergraduate: that while teaching myself calculus and completing high-school alone, I was working full-time as a construction laborer, managing a pizza shop at night (serving slices to UWO students, much younger than I) and bar-tending so that I could to pay for school…it brought her to tears. She placed her hand on my knee and told me “son,” “it’s a miracle your here.” I’ll never forget that…

And while it’s nice to reflect on overcoming those challenges, the journey I’ve been privileged to take throughout my career, education and travels, have showed me that those challenges of my youth, were really very light, compared to those faced by so many of my brothers and sisters on a global scale.

I continued to write…

“I do acknowledge that these were sub-optimal circumstances in which to complete my undergraduate degree and that my grade point average was affected. It is thus incumbent upon me to emphasize that my undergraduate academic performance does not visibly represent my strong academic skills. I do possess a strong academic aptitude, one which has allowed me to climb to a professional station commensurate, if not ahead, of the majority of my peers that started university 1998-2000; and to gain the confidence of top professionals in Canada, as displayed in my letters of reference.”

“I chose Warwick Business School because I felt that this program has a vision; that like me, it is contemporary, mold-breaking, and not afraid to experiment. This resonates with me. Had I been afraid to experiment, to find mold-breaking paths around barriers, I would have ended up a product of unfortunate circumstance. Warwick Business School appears to me more interested in exceptional candidates than excellent ones. On paper, due solely to my undergraduate record, I may be short of an excellent candidate; I am indeed an exceptional one. In the last fifteen years of my life I have fought from being a homeless, marginalized youth in Canada, now poised to become a leading professional the Canadian social business sector. It is therefore my earned pleasure to state, unequivocally and with great enthusiasm that I will not let you down.”

The Sector Inc provides strategic funding proposal writing services for social-purposed-organizations unifying the previously exclusive disciplines of business planning & analysis, corporate & social finance, public finance & government funding, charitable fundraising, organizational design, program & social service delivery, corporate responsibility & ESG, and monitoring & evaluation.

We assist clients to develop the strategic planning and proposal writing capabilities to win funding in the areas of: Investment Readiness, Seed Funding, Growth Funding & Capital Funding.

#socialinnovation #sdgs #toronto #fundraising #bradfordturner #thesectorinc #impactinvesting #wbs #sinzer #philanthropy #policy #ESG #CSR

Social and Environmental impact

Everything we do affects people and planet: the changes that occur for stakeholders, society and the environment as a result of our actions, is our social impact. This impact can be positive and negative, intended and unintended.

Impact management

Impact management is the process of investigating which outcomes are material (of sufficient significance and size); and then trying to prevent and minimize the negative and increase the positive outcomes. Impact management goes beyond impact measurement, as impact management entails an iterative (repetitive) process in which insights are continuously used for learning and improving.

What qualifies as “good enough”?

Many organisations agree that managing social and environmental impact is essential for organisations that wish to improve their impact, but demonstrating impact can also be a strong tool in communication or fundraising. Nevertheless, the number of organisations actively managing their impact is still very small. Why? Impact management is a relatively new field: although there are many methods, not many are widely accepted yet; and the many methods ‘out there’ vary from counting outputs to highly rigorous randomized experiments (RCT’s). In this variety of tools, methods and frameworks that can be used for impact management, it can be difficult to determine what  “good enough” looks like, exactly. As a consequence, many organizations become discouraged or frustrated by the presumed complexity and magnitude of the task ahead, before they even get started.

Start small – and expand from there

At Sinzer & The Sector Inc., we see impact management as an iterative process, in which it is often not realistic – or desirable –  to immediately develop and implement a fully rigorous process. On the contrary: impact management can best be seen as a growth path in which the organization starts with small steps to manage their impact, and then continue to expand their impact management practices within a program or the entire organization, leading to full impact maturity.

Impact maturity model

The Sinzer team has combined their knowledge and practical experience with impact management into the impact maturity model.

In this model we distinguish five components of impact management: 1) impact strategy; 2) impact framework; 3) data collection; 4) analysis and reporting; 5) impact maximization.

The maturity model distinguishes three growth phases for each of these five components, and describes what each growth phase looks like in terms of the elements of impact management. The further an organization moves from left to right through the model, the more rigorous the impact management is. This way, the model helps to determine where on the maturity spectrum one is, in terms of managing impact in the organization, and to make substantiated choices for potential next steps in this process.

The more rigorous, the better?

It is not desirable, feasible or suitable for every project or organization to work all the way to the highest steps of the model. Keep in mind the principle of proportionality: is the budget for managing impact in proportion to the budget for execution of the project or activities? In some cases, contextual factors might pose obstacles to taking certain impact management steps, for example in the case of data collection, where control groups might not be available.

The rigor with which impact is managed should always be tied to the organisation’s primary motivation for managing impact. Don’t measure for the sake of measuring, but measure to learn, improve and to be able to report on your findings. The impact management process should serve these objectives.

Let’s get started

Where to start?

Start with an objective: why do you want to work with impact management?

Start as small as needed: making a start with impact-driven choices is better than using no data at all to base your strategy and choices on.

Make it iterative: evaluate the benefits of impact management annually, and determine what could be the next steps to better understand, manage and improve the impact that is realized.

Would you like to assess where your organization stands in the field of impact management and jointly formulate objectives for further growth? E-mail us at

#sinzer #socialimpact #wbs #thesectorinc #toronto #impactinvesting #evaluation #funding