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This year has been rocked by events that highlight America’s racism and income inequality. For many of us who are white, it has also been a year of soul searching, and of making sure that our fundraising work doesn’t contribute to the very system of bias we’re working to eradicate.
Often, our habits are not only perpetuating classism/racism, but also cause us to overlook individuals who would make wonderful board members, donors, and stakeholders.
Of course, there are many actions needed to take to become an active ally. Here are six important steps to get your organization started:
1. Don’t make assumptions about capacity based on race.
Many Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) donors are overlooked while nonprofits chase the same handful of white prospects.
2. Meet people where they are.
If you use the same networks and approaches, you’ll miss the opportunity to engage new communities. (This is true for hiring, too!)
3. When aiming to diversify your board, be intentional.
Be intentional about who you are seeking and why you want them to be involved with your organization. Adding board members just to meet a quota is wrong and unlikely to create a strong and long-term relationship. Don’t forget to include LGBTQIA candidates in your strategy.
4. Review your mission, website, and materials.
Ensure that they reflect the entire community. If people don’t see themselves reflected in your organization, they will assume it’s not for them.
5. Commitment to equity and racism
If a commitment to equity and anti-racism isn’t in your strategic plan and organizational values, it should be.
6. Seek out and listen to BIPOC voices.
Most importantly, make sure that you’re seeking out and listening to your BIPOC staff, donors, and stakeholders.
Below are some additional resources from BIPOC voices if you’d like to dig deeper:
- Nonprofit AF, from the incredible Vu Le, has been leading the charge on this issue for years.
- Community-Centric Fundraising (also the focus of an upcoming AFP Chicago workshop on April 9)
- Articles here and here.
Finally, consider taking a bystander intervention course to help combat the current rise in harassment and discrimination.