IoF publishes first strategy for diversity in fundraising

The Institute of Fundraising has released the first strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion among charity fundraisers.

Chloe Green | 4th Jul 19
Image of different people's hands in a circle representing equality, diversity and inclusion in the fundraising sector.

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The IoF (Institute of Fundraising) has released an online paper setting out the first strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion in the fundraising profession.

The report builds on evidence set out in the ‘Who isn’t in the room?’ report by the IoF and PwC showing that, at the moment, the fundraising community is not equal, diverse or inclusive. It also shows that while some charities are beginning to address these issues, many are still not.

The strategy sets out a Theory of Change for the fundraising sector focusing on four inequalities: underrepresentation of BAME (Bame and Minority Ethnic) fundraisers; underrepresentation of disabled fundraisers; LGBT+ fundraisers who are not always able to be open in the workplace; and women, who form the majority of the profession but are not proportionately represented at a senior level.

The new strategy sets out why change is needed and the approach that needs to be taken by the IoF, its members and partners to ensure that individuals from all backgrounds are not only recruited into the sector but retained and progressed. It is the capstone on the IoF’s Manifesto for Change released in December 2018, alongside the #ChangeCollective campaign.

Measures include activities to deliver a more equal, diverse and inclusive profession, such as:

  • Commissioning research on the under-representation of BAME fundraisers in the profession, including on the barriers to entry and progression, and research on women in leadership roles.
  • Developing an EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Recruitment Toolkit to help organisations recruit more BAME, disabled and male fundraisers.
  • Developing IoF’s approach to Affinity Network and role models for BAME, disabled and LGBT+ fundraisers.

“We believe a greater diversity of voices within teams will make the sector and the fundraising profession stronger,” read the report.

Sufina Ahmad, Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said: “Individuals and organisations that champion this strategy are showing that they, like the Institute of Fundraising, are committed to working together to take an intersectional approach to addressing the well-known and well-evidenced inequalities that exist in the fundraising profession.”

 

Support for BAME fundraisers

As part of our campaign to recognise and promote BAME talent in the charity sector, we’re inviting people to nominate their peers and colleagues in our ‘Top charity digital BAME leaders’ awards.

But the IoF’s ‘Who isnt in the room’ survey of 400 charities found that only 9% of those in fundraising are from BAME backgrounds – this is compared to 14% of the UK population overall.

We recently spoke with a few BAME leaders and allies in the charity sector about this and the lack of representation for BAME people in digital roles within charities, and in the charity sector as a whole.

The spending power with BAME communities is overlooked in fundraising, with BAME people having a disposable income over £300 billion.

“In order to most effectively engage with these diverse communities authentically and with integrity it is indisputably a competitive advantage to have that diversity represented within your teams,” says the IoF.

Echoing what we heard from Susheila Juggapah and Saimah Razak about the issue with progression and promotion, the IoF says that it is “unequivocal that fewer people from BAME backgrounds make it to top jobs in any sector.”

“Where BAME people are not making it to the upper tiers, that’s telling you something about your internal processes, and when those processes are falling down you need some kind of positive action strategy,” said Razak.

Razak went on to explain how cultural barriers start at the recruitment stage, with charity fundraising and other charity roles not seen as traditionally respectable.

“A lot of the organisations in the charity sector are not doing enough to recruit and be attractive to a whole pool of untapped candidates who are more than able to do the jobs but are perhaps not attracted to it,” said Razak.

As a result, one of the IoF’s key actions from the strategy is to make fundraising a respected career for those from BAME backgrounds.

The IoF already has a strategic objective to make fundraising a respected career, and public polling research with YouGov suggests this is a key driver, particularly for people from BAME backgrounds considering which profession to enter.

“However, further insight and reflection suggests that we need to do further research into the specific barriers to entry and progression within the profession for BAME people,” said the IoF report.

“We will commission more detailed research in relation to the perception of fundraising as a career within BAME
communities, to better understand the barriers and what we might do to address them.”

“Our research published in summer 2020 will provide provides key insight into attracting and keeping more BAME
fundraisers into the profession, and we use that insight to inform our programmes.”

 

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