Help us recruit for equality, diversity and inclusion in the fundraising profession

Help us recruit for equality, diversity and inclusion in the fundraising profession

Guest Bloggers | 22 October 2019

Elizabeth Balgobin, Interim Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Institute of Fundraising, is conducting a survey into recruitment in the fundraising profession in order to create an EDI Recruitment Toolkit. She outlines why the time for this research is now, what it hopes to achieve and why we want to hear from you.

Recruitment – it’s something we have all experienced. It starts early in our lives, joining a school club perhaps, and we experience many different forms of recruitment: but how many really recruit for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)?

We make an assumption that every workplace, particularly within the not-for-profit sector, will recruit fairly with equal opportunities principles embedded in the process. Yet, we know from research across the sector, and through the IoF’s #ChangeCollective campaign, that the policies and procedures in place have not created a diverse and inclusive sector.

Fundraisers are known to be:

  • 91% white
  • 76% female
  • 4% LGBT
  • 3% disabled


Adding to this, senior roles do not reflect the large number of women in fundraising. There is roughly a 10% gender pay gap and only 70% organisation have an EDI policy, as shown by the IoF’s report Who Isn’t In The Room. From these figures, it is clear why the IoF EDI strategy sets out a commitment to produce an EDI Recruitment Toolkit to help organisations recruit more BAME, disabled and male fundraisers.

The vision underpinning the strategy is of an equal, diverse and inclusive profession, where everyone is the right fit. This recognises that LGBT+ fundraisers are not always able to be open in the workplace; that people may have hidden disabilities that are not addressed; that colleagues have a range of personal characteristics that should be understood and respected; and that social class affects our chances to get into the profession and our progression within it.

But you know all this. You were there for the launch or have seen the strategy and you can’t get away from messages about the #ChangeCollective, can you? So, why I am writing this? We all know the Albert Einstein quote: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I have been working, on and off, with the IoF since 2013 on gathering the information about the diversity in the profession, and now I am working on creating the EDI Recruitment Toolkit – I need your help to try and get different results.

Why a Recruitment Toolkit?

The challenge for the design of this Recruitment Toolkit is to make it applicable to the fundraising profession. There are so many types and ways of fundraising that the Toolkit will not provide neat answers for everyone. As Toni Morrison said, “Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined”.

At the moment I envisage the Toolkit to be in three main parts:

  • The Candidate Journey
  • The Employer/Hiring Manager Journey
  • The Recruitment Agency Journey


There will be some top-tips and hints, case-studies showing what works and what does not work, some templates you can use and some blogs to challenge thinking and set out different approaches. Sections are likely to cover: defining the vacancy, branding, advertising, shortlisting, interviewing, induction and training, progression and the role of exit interviews.

The priorities of the Toolkit include increasing the number of BAME, disabled and male fundraisers, and these priorities may be covered in specific pull-out sections. Recruiting freelance fundraisers, the different ways small and very large organisations carry out recruitment and whether to set EDI recruitment targets are all also being considered by the Toolkit.

Why we need your help with the survey

I can write a toolkit, but I need your help to make it a Fundraising Recruitment Toolkit.

There are other toolkits out there so we want to know what is particularly important to support inclusive recruitment within the fundraising profession. So that is why we are asking you to take part in this survey – the answers you provide will inform what we produce and help make sure that it meets the needs of the fundraising sector.

I have been working with Lucy Caldicott, from, to create the questionnaire specifically aimed at your experiences. We want to know what your role is and what it does. We want your experience, good and bad – and you can choose to keep these anonymous or make these public.

We want your ideas around internships and apprenticeships, transitions from face-to-face fundraising to in-the-office fundraising and progression to more senior roles and, what is needed to make this profession attractive to a wider range of people and how we can ensure people do not resort lazily to always wanting graduates.

This survey itself is for those who have been candidates in a fundraising hiring process or have been responsible for hiring fundraisers, whether that is as fundraising managers, fundraising directors, or HR.

Limitations and enablers

The IoF is not perfect, funders are not perfect, organisations and individuals are not perfect. One size will not fit all. We cannot aim for perfection but we can aim to provide something with enough to guide the conversations, provide the tools for those struggling to get started or who want to make a change.

Absolutely the Institute of Fundraising has to do more to profile fundraising as an attractive career (see its initial YouGov Public Perceptions data) in order to grow the pool of potential fundraisers, but what can you as an individual and your own organisation do directly to reach more diverse audiences with attractive roles in your fundraising team?Elizabeth Balgobin

A toolkit cannot solve these problems alone. As the name suggests, it is a set of tools you can use to help with your recruitment. But we need your help guiding those conversations. Please take part in the survey – it should take around 10 minutes and will remain open until 10 November 2019.

Take the survey here.

Elizabeth Balgobin is Interim Head of EDI at the Institute of Fundraising



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