Women’s new political influence is no surprise. With more education and earnings come increased philanthropy to achieve the change they want to see in this world. Are women among your top priorities as you set your fundraising goals for the coming year?
Diverse pools are a means to an end. Building diverse teams, while involving more intention than building diverse pools, is also only a means to an end. It takes diverse teams, working in an inclusive culture, and making the diversity of the team count, to engage more stakeholders and raise more money. Diversity is not only a moral imperative—the “right thing to do”—it is a business imperative for everyone involved in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy: boards, volunteers, CEOs, C-suite leaders, and engagement and fundraising professionals. Until everyone involved in the recruitment process understands and can articulate diversity as essential to stakeholder engagement and fundraising outcomes, recruitment efforts will fall short.
New Book – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Advancement: A Guide to Strengthening Engagement and Fundraising Through Inclusionby
Progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of philanthropy is long overdue. To help move the needle, Angelique Grant and Ron Schiller have authored the first comprehensive book on DEI specifically for nonprofits and advancement teams. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Guide to Strengthening Engagement and Fundraising Through Inclusion is now live in the CASE Bookstore. The book offers a guide for building inclusive cultures and teams. It explores how to implement a culture of DEI, recruit, onboard, and retain diverse staff, and integrate DEI into fundraising campaigns. ALG looks forward to sharing this new resource with our partners to create sustained behavioral change in the field of advancement.
Current fundraising practices often only focus on the treasure – what is a donor’s capacity to give? When we expand the definition of philanthropy beyond Treasure to also include Time, Talent, Ties, and Testimony, we increase our number of supporters and leaders, especially women.
Organizations often overestimate how included those they serve and employ really feel in the mission. A diversity audit can help bring those true feelings to light, says Dr. Angelique Grant at the Aspen Leadership Group. Grant leads these audits and says it’s essential that nonprofits focus on equity and inclusion — not just diversity. “If you have an organization [where] no one feels included or a sense of belonging or wanting to be there, it doesn’t matter how diverse you are,” she said. “Once you’ve identified whatever the obstacles are, it sets you up for moving from awareness to action.” Read more about how grantmakers and nonprofits can be accountable and transparent with their DE&I efforts in The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
More fundraising leaders are embracing inclusion and want to train their teams on diversity, equity and inclusion. But are we adapting our actions by applying a DE&I lens to our advancement practices? Williams College and William & Mary demonstrated success when they adopted inclusive fundraising strategies. Now the philanthropy sector must develop new skills and change behaviors to achieve similar long-term results.
The movement to grow women’s philanthropy is not meant to focus only on one profile of women who give. Women’s philanthropy includes ALL those who identify as women. It is intended to be inclusive. Yet current language and actions by those who identify as white cisgender women leaders in this movement – including myself – may not be making inclusivity clear. We unconsciously may be perpetuating a system of racism and gender inequity.
It is on us to create diverse women’s philanthropy councils. Now. Women of color are the most underrepresented of all groups on boards. Women of color and women of different generations have voices and perspectives to add regarding how they give and want to be engaged. By including men on our councils, they can leverage their platforms and share their power, making them valuable contributors and allies to grow women’s philanthropy. Wider diversity will help our councils make better decisions and grow philanthropy. This takes attention, intention, asking stakeholders for help, and adapting your model when needed, to be successful.
White nonprofit professionals who aspire to be allies must stay engaged in anti-racist work. Checking out is a privilege and ALG’s Colleen Flynn offers resources for supporting colleagues of color and staying accountable.
If you are a leader in an organization committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, now is not the time to remain silent. Now is the time to show your colleagues of color that you value them and support them, and that you are committed to playing a leadership role in your organization’s anti-racist work.