Join me in creating an EDI Committee that is representative of everyone
Carol Akiwumi is the new Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee at the Institute of Fundraising. She explains why, if you have a desire to help bring about much needed change, she wants you to join her on the Committee.
When I joined the IoF as a trustee in 2015, I had one primary goal: to make the diversity agenda a strategic imperative. Working with the rest of the board, the IoF team and the membership, we have made that happen. As excited as I am by that, I know that we’re just getting started.
Excellent fundraising helps to build a better and more generous society; one that is inextricably linked to equity, diversity and inclusion. We need to keep up the momentum by confronting and reforming the historic, systemic and structural inequalities that have prevented us from tapping into and reaping the benefits of more diverse pools of talent.
In July this year, the IoF published its strategy for the Change Collective: a movement to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the fundraising profession. This strategy is a game changer and a call to action for everyone in the sector. It is our opportunity to bring about real change to this profession that makes a huge difference to lives everywhere.
I was part of the expert panel that co-created the strategy and I have just taken on the role of Chair of the EDI Committee. This new Committee will take over from the Panel and will be responsible for advising the IoF and helping it to deliver on the strategy. This is an exciting mandate and there is a role for each and every one of us to play as we embark on this journey together.
If you’re reading this and have a desire to help bring about much needed change, I want to encourage you to apply to join the committee. We would also very much welcome anyone who feels underrepresented, is frustrated by the lack of diversity in their workplace or by the pace of change in fundraising. We want a committee that is representative of everyone, across the breadth of social class and particularly those with protected characteristics. As outlined in the Change Collective strategy, there are specific areas that we will target and we want your input and experience to guide us.
I am encouraged by our allies; colleagues and partners in the fundraising community who have already signed up to the Change Collective. If you haven’t yet, I strongly urge you to read the strategy and sign up too. An equally important step is to educate ourselves on the societal inequalities that present themselves in the fundraising sector. A good place to start is the IoF report: ‘Who isn’t in the room’. It reveals the areas where we need to do better: 76% of fundraisers are women and yet this is not reflected in the leadership, only 8% of fundraisers identify as Black, Asian or Muti-Ethnic, and 3% are disabled. Furthermore, 30% of organisations do not have an EDI policy and even more are lacking targets to address the inequalities that exist.
The work of the Change Collective (and the EDI committee) is an opportunity to disrupt systems that prevent meritocracy from ruling. We want to see organisational cultures and processes transformed so that everyone is the right fit. I’m delighted to see real change coming to the profession I love – and very much look forward to having you on board.
Note: Applications to join the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee closed on 6 September 2019.
Carol Akiwumi, is Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee at the IoF.