In his latest blog, David Mbaziira reflects on the latest Chartered Institute of Fundraising Member Webinar.
Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is a key pillar of the new Chartered Institute of Fundraising 3 year organisational strategy, in addition to an internal focus on how to embrace and champion EDI for staff and volunteers, the Chartered Institute have developed action plans that continue to champion and advocate for why EDI should be at the heart of improving the culture of fundraising across the sector.
A key deliverable for the Chartered Institute is to share and cascade learnings across the sector, so I was delighted to be joined by CEO Katie Docherty, and Kelly Macklowicz, Assistant director of Fundraising at Mind. Katie referenced that the prioritisation of EDI within the new strategy was an outcome of the extensive member consultation, with commitment and ownership at all levels within the organisation from trustee level to departmental action plans.
Kelly talked about Mind’s ongoing journey to be a truly anti-racist organisation and how the EDI Organisational Commitments are supporting this ambition, sharing elements of their EDI journey with a focus on recruitment and pathways into fundraising.
Kelly shared a lot of detail around the different levels of activity around recruitment, with the objective of making the entry points into Fundraising at Mind more inclusive. Underpinning all of this work was some critical language and tone of voice that emerged from discussions with the Race Equity Team at Mind, ‘Designing for the margins’. It's a principle which says, if you design anything new from the point of view about the most marginalised people in society, then whatever you design will be for the benefit of everybody. It makes clear the intent and need from the organisation, and shows the importance of language when constructing the on-going narrative around change.
What does change look like? It’s very hard to answer that question when starting out on your EDI journey, but it’s important to remember to be open and not to close off possibilities, at any stage. Mind have embarked on an extensive test and learn programme and initiated many different tests into all elements of the recruitment process to try to understand what best practice looks like. Internally they have asked questions - What happens if we change elements? What metrics should we consider? What kind of results can be achieved when we implement this approach?
Questions you can ask in your organisation?
When Mind started going through the test and learn programme, they realised that they had to also consider how their systems and processes were accessed and interacted with the existing infrastructure. The changes they wanted to introduce couldn’t be achieved within their existing recruitment tool, so they recognised that they needed to commit to wider change in order to remove identified barriers, deliver the improvements and implement best practice.
One of the key learnings from Mind around equity, diversity and inclusion was to create more time for the recruitment process.
This can be at the front end in reviewing and ensuring there is a consistent approach to job descriptions. Mind have introduced a new template for clarity for what a descriptive job description is for, removing jargon to include inclusive language and tone of voice and being clear on essential criteria required. They have also included what its like to work at your organisation, referring to how they expect candidates to behave, and the values they hope individuals will share with the organisation.
On a practical level it’s also about making sure that your advert is out for longer, that prospective candidates have more time to complete the application process and the need for persistence - new approaches may not deliver instant results!
Measurement is key, and its important for the senior leadership and or trustees to not only set the targets around this work, but to also assign ownership at a senior level. Mind have set targets around their recruitment, the result is that when it's looked at and considered within the senior management of the organisation, there is assigned accountability for making sure that EDI is fully embedded into organisation wide recruitment.
Trying to attract more diverse candidates in an inclusive process means actively looking beyond and to augment existing routes for candidates. The Chartered Institute recruitment guides are worth referring to here.
Consider a range of job sites from popular sources like LinkedIn and Guardian Jobs, sector specialists Charityjob.co.uk and using job sites that are more targeted to the candidates you are seeking to recruit, exceptionalindividuals.com (neurodiversity); evenbreak.co.uk (disability); ethnicjobsite.co.uk, (ethnic diversity). Mind have extended the amount of job boards that they appear on and recruited a specialist recruitment agency Diversifying.io for all senior management vacancies to go through.
Kelly repeated more than once during her presentation that Mind aren’t experts and that there isn’t one way to do EDI. I would always suggest that Organisations looking at EDI need to find an approach that is authentic to how they operate, that it addresses their strategic needs and is based on where they are currently.
The activities introduced at Mind are delivering impact, but as an organisation they recognise that there is still much to do and still a long way to go. The test and learn ethos has been continued through two forthcoming activities – a Reverse Mentoring Scheme, and Fundraising Apprenticeships. The former will enable younger or less experienced members of staff to mentor more senior individuals at Mind, pairing people that might not otherwise come together, fill respective knowledge gaps and provide a learning exchange for both parties. Mind want to utilise Apprenticeships to really think about how they appeal to people not familiar with fundraising in a way that's really engaging, capturing the essence of what is an exciting profession, with a long-term career attached to it.
I will be watching both these activities with interest and look forward to seeing how ‘Designing for the margins’ evolves and is adopted by the wider organisation to support Mind’s on-going EDI journey.
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