The Institute of Fundraising 'Manifesto for Change' and a recruiter’s role in supporting it

November 2018 saw the Institute of Fundraising launch ‘The Change Collective’, a new movement seeking to create a more equal and diverse sector.

Within that, the Manifesto for Change is a welcome publication highlighting some of the key issues facing the sector. Such as under representation of BAME and LGBT+ fundraisers, as well as the lack of progression for women into leadership roles and broader accessibility of roles within the sector.

There are a range of issues highlighted here and it will take this kind of conversation to realise the changes necessary in addressing them.

Talking about these issues is a good start and caused me to reflect on the role I can play in supporting organisations. Helping them challenge existing processes that could be contributing to a lack of diversity or presenting significant challenges in career progression for certain groups.

Creating candidate diversity in charity recruitment

I have worked for several years with a range of charities and non-profit organisations, both UK and international in their focus.

The report made me consider how often I’m asked to encourage applications from under-represented groups and create diversity within our field of candidates.

I can only remember three instances in 11 years of recruiting fundraising roles into the charity sector where I have been asked this question by a charity.

If this isn’t being spoken about at recruitment stage, it’s no surprise that there are issues for different groups within the sector on the receiving end of structures and processes that either don’t attract them to roles or, worse still, exclude them.

Creating a better fundraising environment through diversity

The challenge is clear – charities want the best fundraisers. Pressure to raise vital funds means diversity can become an afterthought, thus perpetuating the problem.

It’s only in challenging our ideas that we will see the changes needed to create a more diverse, fairer sector that makes for a happier, more successful and profitable fundraising environment. Where pre-conceived ideas are challenged and different life experiences bring alternative perspectives.

The research across various industries is clear: that businesses with gender diversity do better than those without, as do businesses with ethnic and racial diversity in management.

Millennials are also more interested in working for diverse organisations than previous generations, highlighting this as an important consideration when deciding on an employer.

Challenging preconceptions and what simple steps to take when running recruitment processes

Perhaps all recruitment businesses should be asking their clients to think about how we can address these issues when running recruitment processes and take the steps that will encourage more diversity across the board.

This can be simple measures such as: assessing the criteria laid out on a person specification, thinking about how candidates with differing experience might also be able to deliver in a role or reviewing the language used in writing job adverts – so important when encouraging different groups to consider a vacancy.

Collectively, we can challenge preconceived ideas for certain roles on how someone will look, whether they attended university, and what these things mean to their chances of success within a role.