'Where is the diversity? Is this some kind of club?'

20 March 2019
StrategyEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
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Joyce Fraser explains why the fundraising sector needs the #ChangeCollective, and how the National Fundraising Awards are an opportunity for an equal, diverse and inclusive range of individuals and organisations to receive recognition.

For me, the #ChangeCollective is all about equality. It is about giving people access to resources, opportunities, experiences and success and creating a level playing field. It is about removing the barriers that exist and about breaking the glass ceilings. It is all of those clichés which prevent the inclusion and advancement of people disadvantaged by the bias and discrimination of those in power.

The #ChangeCollective is a chance to make a real difference. To put those that are hidden at the forefront.

As a black female with disabilities who is living through the challenges that brings, joining the #ChangeCollective is a real opportunity for me to be involved in a positive, proactive project. It is a movement which is truly about making the changes, making a difference, and engaging with diversity and all the richness it can bring to the work place and community.

'I thought I had gone to the wrong venue'

A time that highlighted for me the need for the #ChangeCollective in the sector was when I went to a meeting of fundraisers about running challenge events. On arriving at the venue I saw that there was a very large queue of about 200 young university students who were mainly female. I thought that I had gone to the wrong venue, and made my way to the front desk to find out where I should go.

However, I was told: “No, you are in the right place – these aren't students, they are here for the same event as you”.

Sitting in the auditorium of this event, I had never felt so out of place. I was in a sea of young women. I was the only black face; I was the only person over 60; I was the only person with a walking stick. I just kept looking and looking around the room.

“Okay”, I thought, “so it's a young audience – but where are the people of colour? Where is the diversity? Is this some kind of club?”

That is why I was keen to join the #ChangeCollective and was so pleased to become part of the movement.

For me, success will be when I can go to charity events, attend management and board meetings, visit charity organisations, read literature and see people like myself there.

Success will be when I see Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic charities and individuals positively involved in the sector – getting the support, resources and exposure that they need. It will be when I see a sector which is truly diverse and inclusive.

National Fundraising Awards

The National Fundraising Awards are a great opportunity to continue this work and for those charities that are run by a diverse range of people, and supporting diverse beneficiaries, to get recognition and support.

That’s why I’m also so proud to be one of the judges of this year’s Awards. Having had my own experience of winning an award, I know the impact it can have on an organisation. When I won the Prime Minister's Points of Light Award for my work with the Black Heroes Foundation, it was made all the more amazing because it was a total surprise. It felt truly unbelievable that such a young, small charity had been noticed by the higher echelons – let alone recognised. It was a real honour, and certainly made us feel more motivated, that the work we are doing is really worthwhile.

It has also helped us in getting some funding, a constant challenge for us as an organisation run entirely by volunteers, having no paid staff as yet. It was a real highlight on our journey toward the recognition, acknowledgement and celebration of Black Heroes, and a real honour to receive it on behalf of my late husband Flip Fraser who founded the organisation. That’s why I am encouraging fundraisers to enter the National Fundraising Awards before 17:00 Wednesday 27 March.

In November we launched our Manifesto for Change which sets out how we plan to embark on the journey to achieve an equal, diverse and inclusive profession where everyone is the right fit. We are encouraging fundraisers to join the #ChangeCollective movement so we can work together to make fundraising a career for everyone.

Joyce Fraser
Joyce Fraser
Judge at the National Fundraising Awards and Chair of Trustees at Black Heroes Foundation
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