Demonstrating inclusion in your award entry

03/01/2024 | by Fadi Itani OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Muslim Charities Forum

The National Fundraising Awards are all about celebrating the very best of fundraising in the UK. Fundraisers can choose from 12 categories, and within each category entrants can showcase how their work is helping to make the world a better place.  

The judges for the National Fundraising Awards are an esteemed group, and each judge will be looking for different things. Fadi Itani is the CEO of the Muslim Charities Forum and will be looking to see how genuine inclusion is demonstrated in the award entries… 


As CEO of Muslim Charities Forum since 2016, I’m honoured each day to be part of a network of over 300 amazing charities and community organisations up and down the UK, all striving for the betterment of the lives of others.  

At Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) we strive to support, connect and represent the UK Muslim-led charity sector, to spread best practice, increase organisational resilience and ultimately, to help our charities serve the growing needs of multiple communities.   

The UK is a unique place that continues to grow in diversity with regional-specific demographics and diverse communities impacted by intersectionality. The challenges of Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis have highlighted the differences in experiences, needs and voices for so many different groups of people and that despite amazing civil society efforts, we need to keep on striving to be as inclusive and equitable as possible.   

Inclusion can come in many forms but all too often it unfortunately comes in the form of placing minority groups together and assuming their needs and experiences are the same. This includes lacking distinction between ethnicity, culture, faith, economic status and health and the complexities of these within each community group. Unfortunately, whilst efforts can be commended, this approach often isolates certain sections of our society further, impacting social mobility and marginalising those in most need of help.   

True inclusion doesn’t mean equality but more so equity. To assume a one-size-fits-all can be detrimental to creating real impact and change. It is essential that voices from all groups are included and understanding that some minority group representation does not mean that this dimension of inclusion is working.  

Those who are the hardest to reach are often the most in need and this has been demonstrated many times during the challenges of the last few years which has seen disproportional experiences of the effects of the pandemic and austerity measures. Gaps are widening but it is our recognition of these gaps that will help us power on to ensure everyone’s voices are heard.  

To demonstrate inclusion in your entry, we are looking to see a deep understanding of inclusion and how this can be most effectively demonstrated, key learnings and how these learnings have brought about or contributed towards future change.  We are looking to see voices which are typically under-represented, two-way learning and clear communication that understands that inclusion is both fluid and continuous, adapting to needs, climate and situation.  

Personally, I will be looking for the diverse entries which celebrate the impact of faith, personal experiences, different perspectives and that which address systemic change issues and power balances.  

I wish all entrants luck and look forward to seeing all the entries and learning myself about the fantastic work that takes place, often unheard, across the country. I know that each and every entry will be able to highlight needs and challenges and will continue to inspire others, including myself, about the power of civil society and people united together for a common cause.


If Fadi’s words have inspired you to enter the National Fundraising Awards, take a look at the 12 categories and make a note of the deadline for entering - Friday 26 January at 5pm. If you’re not sure about entering, find out what Katie Docherty, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and Chair of the National Fundraising Awards judging Panel, thinks about why awards matter to charities.