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A Small Step Toward Progress: DEI in Fundraising


It took gumption, it took a step in the direction of hope, of taking a chance on a group of people that you believed in and wishing they would have the conversation. I’m humbled, proud, inspired, and energized. What am I talking about? I’m talking about YOU, this industry, the attendees of our DEI Tough Conversation series. YOU showed up, YOU did the work, YOU carry the torch of this work back to your shops—and little flames are everywhere.


Honestly, when I ventured into this webinar series I KNEW we needed it. What I didn’t KNOW was if we were READY. You showed me we were more than ready. The conversations were wonderful, as I awkwardly hosted and tripped over myself at times, I was buoyed and inspired by each and every one of you who showed up to do the work. I may not be the ideal host for these conversations, but someone has to do it—so here we are!


Also, what these conversations required was for us to admit that our fundraising industry was flawed. In order to fix a problem, you have to admit one exists—and in ways large and small we were able to identify our problems and opportunities. From unequal power dynamics, to flawed restrictions, to outdated language, opportunity abounds. It takes courage to admit that your chosen vocation is flawed and to step up and be a part of the solution.


Here is what has come from our first DEI series and tough conversations. We have wonderful white papers and summaries written by you below. Just click on the file to download.

DEI Series Summary
.pdf
Download PDF • 833KB

Here’s what else has emerged: conversations, questions, groups of people across organizations committing to change. I heard about some of you working on power dynamics, language, donor centricity, and more. I’ve learned myself and changed my own behaviors and awareness and I’m so grateful.


Here’s what’s next and what’s now:


Keep having the conversations. I’m available to facilitate them with you and for you. Many of you have reached out asking me to host these for your organization and I am doing so at drastically reduced speaking fees—reach out here to schedule yours.


Part two of our DEI series will focus on taking action after conversations. This new series will launch in the spring of 2022. I will be joined by Matthew Helmer and we will be tackling the next steps in our journey together toward looking at fundraising through a DEI lens. Stay tuned.


Take action, fix what you can now, challenge the status quo and know that any change you make for the better is a change. It doesn’t have to be huge. It can be baby steps, one at a time, they compound and gain momentum and snowball into organizational change. Hold accountability and know that change can start with each and every one of us, no matter where in the organization we reside.


Reach out—both to myself and others doing the work. I plan on finding a way we can gather informally to discuss DEI in fundraising and build a cohort of changemakers. I know you will join me.


Thank you again, for your willingness to have the tough conversations, do the good work and allow me to be a part of the process. And special thanks to everyone who offered to help with the write-ups from these sessions. You are so appreciated!