A Post Covid-19 Agenda for Nonprofit & Social Economy Research


  • Cathy Barr Imagine Canada




Charities; Nonprofits; Social economy; Research agendas; COVID-19


This article outlines six areas of research that would help Canada’s social purpose sector recover and move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. First, the sector needs big picture thinking about its role in a post-pandemic world. Second, it needs research on the needs currently being met—or left unmet—by social purpose organizations. Third, it needs research that helps social purpose organizations measure and communicate their value and impact. Fourth, researchers could examine the sector’s advocacy efforts during the pandemic and the results of these efforts. Fifth, there is a need for research on the larger ecosystem in which social purpose organizations operate. Finally, the pandemic presents an opportunity to study how different organizations responded to a crisis and to learn from their experiences.


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Author Biography

Cathy Barr, Imagine Canada

Cathy Barr is Vice-President, Mission Effectiveness at Imagine Canada, a national charitable organization whose mission is to strengthen and support Canadian charities and nonprofits so they may better serve and engage individuals and communities here and around the world.

Cathy has been with Imagine Canada since 2002, when it was still known as the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy. She spent five years as Director of Research, was the founding Director of the Insurance & Liability Resource Centre for Nonprofits, and led the creation of Imagine Canada’s National Standards Program. In her current role as Vice-President, Mission Effectiveness, Cathy is responsible for ensuring that Imagine Canada makes measureable progress towards meeting its strategic goals.

Prior to moving to the charitable sector, Cathy was an Assistant Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has a PhD in political science from York University.


Lasby, David. (2020). Imagine Canada’s sector monitor: Charities & the COVID-19 pandemic. Toronto, ON: Imagine Canada. URL: https://imaginecanada.ca/sites/default/files/COVID-19%20Sector%20Monitor%20Report%20 ENGLISH_0.pdf [May 7, 2020].






Perspectives for the Field