Diversity, equity are our infrastructure and capacity

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and AccessPart three of a four part series. 

On September 13, 2018 we were asked to speak to the Memphis Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The monthly luncheon was held, appropriately, at the National Civil Rights Museum. We share these remarks as we believe they are important to all of us who care about Memphis in specific, and fundraising and the nonprofit sector as a whole.

Remarks were written by Melvin and Pearl Shaw.

Inclusion, diversity, equity, and access have to become a part of our capacity and infrastructure. These have to be part of how we build our programs and organizations, how we interact with each other, and how we allocate our resources. Our organizations have to represent the diversity of who we serve — and we have to stretch to serve all aspects of our community.

Think about the time, research, and energy that goes into identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and retaining the major donors who support your organization. Those who provide leadership gifts may have been giving for years or decades. They may have been engaged and cultivated over the years by people who no longer with the organization. Or, they may be new to your organization because you took the time to find them, cultivate them, and uncover shared values or relationships. You have to do put the same energy and attention into inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Today’s talented fundraisers value diversity and inclusion and use these to build and sustain fundraising teams for today and the future. As you build your team, look for new talents. Look for people who can understand the different communities within our community, and how they can contribute to your organization.

It Starts at the Top

A commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access starts with an organization’s vision and is made manifest through policies and practices. Our commitment is made manifest through who we hire, the projects we focus on, the collaborations we create, and how we develop our boards.

As leaders, we need to check our “tolerance for intolerance.” We need to examine our implicit and explicit biases. We need to examine and modify our policies and practices. It is time for us to increase the ways in which we hold each other accountable — within our organizations and within our sector. There are no easy answers — there is only a way forward that is together.

Inclusive fundraising invites more people to the table. Inclusive practices encourage us to ask who is missing, and to take action to invite others in. And it means we follow up on our invitations with actions that encourage new members to share their highest talents, their relationships, their experiences, and priorities.

Look at the Money

Equally important, but often overlooked, is the economic impact of our decisions and how inclusion, diversity, equity, and access need to be included when we spend the money we raise. Who are our accountants, building contractors, endowment managers, event planners, real estate agents, and insurance representatives? Who provides graphic design services, janitorial services and supplies, technology equipment, services, training, and support? Who do we buy office supplies from? Who provides the food or snacks? Who do we bank with? If our organizations serve black people, are we willing to bank with a black-owned bank? 

Part Four is next week. Full copy of remarks available here.

Let us help you grow an inclusive fundraising program. Visit us online at www.saadandshaw.com.

Copyright 2018 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

Image courtesy of 123RF.com.


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