Tag Archives: Allies

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION SURVEY

The following survey was created for Sunnybrook Foundation to use in conjunction with its ‘People and Culture’ Survey that was deployed in winter 2018. The following survey is to understand the makeup of the Foundation – including visible and invisible minorities. The goal is to share the results of this survey at a future staff meeting and to inform the formation of a Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

PART A: Diversity and Inclusion Demographic Profile Survey

The following survey is to help us create a profile of our current workforce by collecting demographic information on your ethnic and cultural backgrounds, religious or spiritual affiliations and sexual orientation. The demographic information and the questions on diversity and inclusion will provide further insight on our current workface and will assist with developing diversity plans that promote inclusiveness and recognize the unique perspectives and contributions of all our staff. The feedback will assist in maintaining a workplace that is healthy, safe and inclusive for all.

These questions are personal to each individual, however we kindly as that you be honest in your responses so that we may recognize our strengths, areas of development, and to discover initiatives that will direct a human equity strategy. Responses are strictly confidential and anonymous. You may skip any questions you prefer not to answer.

The survey should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete.

1. Gender

  1. Female/Woman
  2. Male/Man
  3. Trans-identified
  4. Genderqueer/Gender nonconforming
  5. Other gender identity
  6. Prefer not to disclose

2. Please select from the following list the categories that best describe your racial and/or cultural group(s):

  1. White
  2. Chinese
  3. South Asian (East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, etc.)
  4. Black
  5. Filipino
  6. Latin American
  7. Southeast Asian (Vietnamese, Cambodian, etc.)
  8. Arab
  9. West Asian (Iranian, Afghan, etc.)
  10. Japanese
  11. Korean
  12. Indigenous (First Nations, Metis, or Inuit)
  13. Other
  14. Do Not Know
  15. Prefer not to disclose

3. What is your sexual orientation?

  1. Bisexual
  2. Gay
  3. Heterosexual
  4. Lesbian
  5. Queer
  6. Two-spirit
  7. Other
  8. Do not know
  9. Prefer not to disclose

4. What is your religious or spiritual affiliation?

  1. No religion (including Agnostic, Atheist)
  2. Roman Catholic
  3. Ukrainian Catholic
  4. United Church
  5. Anglican (Church of England, Episcopalian)
  6. Baptist
  7. Lutheran
  8. Pentecostal
  9. Presbyterian
  10. Mennonite
  11. Jehovah’s Witnesses
  12. Greek Orthodox
  13. Jewish
  14. Islam (Muslim)
  15. Buddhist
  16. Hindu
  17. Sikh
  18. Do not know
  19. Prefer not to disclose
  20. Other
  21. Please specify

5. Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability?

  1. Yes
  2. No

PART B: Diversity and Inclusion Culture Survey

The Foundation aims to understand, assess and further enhance organizational culture. One of the key strategic initiatives is to promote and foster a culture of diversity and inclusion. This will enable us to continue to attract and retain talent and ensure we have an inclusive environment that inspire people to excel, innovate and grow. In order to understand where we are at and where we need to go, we are requesting your feedback and perceptions about our current state of diversity and inclusion.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

1. Please state your department.

  1. Events
  2. Major Gifts
  3. Gift Processing
  4. Finance
  5. Marketing & Communications
  6. Community Giving (Monthly, Annual, Leadership)
  7. Stewardship

2. Please select your role (or the one that best describes the nature of your responsibilities).

  1. Associate/Co-ordinator
  2. Officer
  3. Manager
  4. Director
  5. AVP/VP
  6. Executive Office

3. The Foundation shows respect for a diverse range of opinions, ideas and people.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

4. The Foundation is committed to providing all employees with equal opportunities in the workplace.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

5. I believe the Foundation recognizes the contribution of all employees who excel at their jobs, regardless of their backgrounds.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

6. My personal characteristics do not influence performance decisions.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

7. My personal characteristics do not influence pay decisions.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

8. I believe that personal characteristics do not hinder or help an individual’s career progression or development opportunities.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

9. Ethnic and cultural preferences of staff are accommodated through time off for religious observances/holiday

  1. Yes
  2. No

10. The Foundation provides the flexibility needed for work-life balance.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

11. The Foundation has family-friendly policies in place.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

12. There are well-developed mechanisms to handle an employee complaint about harassment and discrimination.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

13. If the Foundation could make one change to strengthen diversity and inclusion within the organization, what would you suggest?

Navigating subtle meaning of words and feelings

Sitting around the table discussing the meaning of words, their power and how important it was to analyze the context of when and where such words were used was a favourite of my bonding times with my mother when I was growing up. She would share the content of her classes with me, while she was a university professor in my hometown in Ecuador.

Growing up with an acute awareness of the power and meaning of words turned me into a conscious communicator and from an early age, an assertive person. I also learned early on the real meaning of the words chosen by people when they were trying to assert power.

At the same time, that awareness made me shy to share what I really thought in many circumstances, fearing to hurt someone else’s feelings.

I remember being brought into the midst of a conflict between my high school friends to solve their misunderstandings; nothing that a little bit of context, word review and meaning, and acknowledgment of feelings would not solve.

Fast forward to my first newcomer/migrant experience and such knowledge had to be quickly put to use. When I would hear an offensive word directed to me or other racialized persons, I repeated to myself “Isabel, remember the context, and you are new to this context. Keep learning, keep calm, continue to be assertive and move on”; resilience was the end game.

It was not only about the words, but it was also the feeling of uneasiness to which I could not attach a word or meaning. I still had to learn so much about bias and discrimination, and in a different language; English.

Bringing that experience to the fundraising profession is another story. As a street fundraiser, while I studied in Madrid in the early 2000s, I thought I had rejection and bias figured out. When you do street fundraising, you know that rejection can be blunt, but add the layers of your skin, your accent and the context of sub-urban Madrid in my case. Hitting my targets was hard, but I did it! What other proof was needed that I could handle rejection?

That proof was not enough when in England after getting down to the final two candidates for that amazing entry-level position at the high-tech company or the management fundraising position at my dream NFP; over and over and over again, the feeling of uneasiness brought me back to square one and made me feel as though I did not belong.

Or the time when in a major donor steering meeting, as tasks and responsibilities were distributed to deploy the major giving strategy, the director lists them all including that I will be limited to clearing tables and washing dishes in a joking manner.

How about the awkward time spent in a networking event where I actively engaged with people, when I aimed to present myself as a strategic leader, accomplished professional and was looking to identify opportunities for collaboration, but instead could not get past explaining to others about my ‘background.’

It felt like there was little I could do to change those situations I would come across in those exchanges, but internally I was changing, and I was burning out.

It has taken many years for me to attach meaning to the words and feelings that bias and discrimination use to present themselves. And mostly it has been possible because I have opened up and found allies and spaces like the AFP Inclusion and Diversity fellowship where I have engaged with people open to discuss and embrace those uncomfortable feelings.

This fellowship has not only been a catalyst to further attach meaning to feelings and words, but an opportunity to also assess my moving and relative privilege, an exercise all of us should undertake as we navigate diverse communities and societies.

As a fundraising professional, I write and speak to build connections and empathy that call for action towards the causes I serve, but most importantly I communicate to move us closer to transformative change.

With this piece I hope as a newcomer to the fundraising profession or as a veteran in it, you felt connected, especially if you have gone through similar life experiences. Please speak up and share them safely; your story can change others’ stories and help them avoid burn-out.

If my experience seems ‘alien’ to you, but still you believe you are and can be an ally for inclusion, I invite you to exercise respectful curiosity and to step into the uncomfortable zone to explore the relativity of privilege.

I cannot promise you will find all the answers to your curiosity, but you will move out of fear towards a sacred space of acknowledgement of your own and others’ dignity. And along the way, you will make the fundraising profession a safer space where all of us who journey through it can belong.

Respectful Curiosity

One of the most beautiful approaches to conflict resolution that I have heard recently came from a podcast that I listened to, where the host, Whitney Johnson, interviewed Dr. Donna Hicks on the topic of disruption. (https://whitneyjohnson.com/donna-hicks/).

In this exchange, Dr. Hicks shared stories of her experience exploring the concept of how at the core of major conflicts lay a deep sense of lost dignity. Dr. Hicks is a Harvard professor and has studied and led mediation initiatives for some of the most relevant modern strife and wars around the world in the past decades and uses these experiences particularly around recognition and protection of all parties’ dignity to build cultures of trust in organizations today.

This expert talked about the acknowledgment of lost dignity as a first step to build trust towards peace and reconciliation and how ‘we are all guardians of dignity, and we owe it to ourselves, others, and the greater good to educate ourselves in the inherent value and worth of everyone around us in order to flourish.’

During my reflection on the idea of lost dignity, I was also reading and exploring the concept of ‘respectful curiosity’, a phrase that I coined in a conversation with a colleague around the topic of how diverse communities bear a high burden when speaking out to discrimination and injustice. How they seem to be penalized and how important it was that people sitting on the fence of understanding these issues – including me on many occasions – should exercise the practice of ‘respectful curiosity.’

I am still developing this concept but as I listened to that podcast, the idea of honouring my own dignity and that of others, the fullness of what I feel ‘respectful’ meant finally came into place.

In the social profit sector, we all seek to redress injustices, undo systemic wrongs and ultimately honour the dignity of those who we serve.

My journey to understanding the deep-rooted displays of racial, gender and socioeconomic injustices in the Canadian context has just started, and the only way I felt I could begin to learn has been through curiosity.

Yes, reading, listening to podcasts and lectures can help but, how can you feel moved to act and speak up and stand up to injustice when you witness it if you have not connected with people with those lived experiences?

And how can we connect with others when our structures seem so homogenous that the systems we are immersed in, are not conducive to connect with others with diverse lived experiences. There is so much that individuals can, and would do, for example setting up collaborative teams that reflect the diversity of participants to tackle organizational challenges, if this is an individual driving change in one department without structural support and acknowledgement in the ample sphere of the organization this practice will not be permanent. Therefore it is paramount that structures shift to build spaces for diverse connections.

Diversity, inclusion and access to power in our sector will require individual actions and systemic transformation. So as an individual I call you to move to a space of no fear through respectful curiosity and to step up your actions for inclusion because you have the power to change the system.

So be curious and ask the tough questions. What can we do to make our team diverse?. How can we bring in our beneficiaries into our decision-making process and truly represent them?. Do managers/leaders have the skills to manage talent that is unlike them? Why is this person not at this table? How can we all learn about addressing and including other’s life experiences without judgement? What did we learn from a diversity and inclusion initiative that died out?

Through this questioning, you will be bearing the burden with your colleagues from small minorities and as you do this, you will not only be guarding their dignity but yours too.