Not a Toolkit: Creating the EDI Recruitment Guides

07 July 2020
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Standard Content

As we today launch the Change Collective Recruitment Guides, Elizabeth Balgobin explains why they were created and the process behind their creation.

This time last year the Institute of Fundraising launched the Change Collective Strategy at Convention. This year Fundraising Convention is online and we launch the long-awaited Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Recruitment Guides quietly and without the razzmatazz of people in a shared space able to share their immediate thoughts, ask questions and offer praise or criticism.

The Strategy was the culmination of the work of the independent expert EDI Panel, chaired by Sufina Ahmed, that came to be known as the Change Collective. The evidence from the Who Isn’t In The Room report supported the experience that fundraising is not a diverse profession. Addressing that is a priority in the strategy, setting out that we should create a recruitment toolkit to help hiring managers and their organisations widen their pool of applicants and encourage them to hire less in their own image.

This is what brought me back to the Change Collective work in October 2019. The new, formal EDI Committee met for the first time in November 2019 and received a report from Lucy Caldicott and me on what we thought should be in the toolkit, based on the different recruitment journeys taken by hiring managers and candidates. At the same time we held a series of roundtables and surveyed fundraisers. The survey gave me quotes like this:

“I never had an induction into my own role. I had a range of fruitless pseudo-inductions with other teams in which all I was asked was “What do you want to know?” to which I didn’t really have an answer at that time because the question was too broad and I was completely inexperienced in the fundraising sector. I didn’t feel I could ask someone to explain the basics of fundraising to me because everyone had already assumed I had that knowledge prior even though I was very honest about not having any experience in fundraising.”

The roundtables led to me writing a note to myself that all the stories point to a broken market: agencies don’t feel they are listened to, HR feels sidelined, fundraising/hiring managers feel they need to get someone who has done the work before and can hit the ground running. Candidates want more. How does a toolkit address all of that?

Every other recruitment toolkit I looked at focused on one element of what we wanted to see in our toolkit. What started as an idea for a simple toolkit soon grew to include the expertise and experience of individuals that would speak to the fundraising profession. I moved from developing a simple toolkit to creating four guides:

The Change Collective Guide for…

...Hiring Managers

...Small Charities


...Recruitment Agencies

My role became curator and editor for a large range of voices. I wrote around the external contributions, adding elements that spoke specifically to equality and diversity like recruiting disabled people or those from BAME racialised and minoritised backgrounds, and sought experience or expertise to support sections. I cannot thank enough the people and organisations that contributed to making this such a richly interesting read. These are documents you can read from cover to cover, dip into the sections you want help with or seek out the experience or view of a particular contributor.

Originally planned for launch at the end of March to ensure you all had the information ahead of your post-Easter hiring period. Then Covid-19 took over all lives and plans for 2020. The Guides were ready to go to the designer, but the timing wasn’t right. I had to add a section on recruiting during and after Coronavirus and I faced the frustration of seeing people releasing blogs and resources that touched on some elements of the Guides. There will be things to add and changes to be made over time but I had to stop writing and editing at some point.

It’s a formidable suite of resources – those blogs and resources released during lockdown are good, and useful, but the Guides give you all that and more. They are all freely available on the Chartered Institute website. Share with your colleagues, share with those outside of fundraising, share with people looking for work or a change of career. Together we can make fundraising a more diverse and inclusive profession – we owe it to our causes.

Elizabeth Balgobin
Elizabeth Balgobin
Interim Head of EDI at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
Members Only Content