Tag Archives: Fundraising

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?

FIVE THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SETTING UP A DIVERSITY & INCLUSION COMMITTEE

The following key points are important to consider when setting up a Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Diversity is a reality in all of our work and bring unique perspectives to our organization.

1. Visible and invisible diversity

Representation on the committee, beyond identifying based on gender, race/ethnicity, and age is important. Consider employing a survey to allow individuals to self-identify to understand the true landscape and demographic of your organization. Representation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Gender
  • Indigeneity
  • Ethnicity/Race
  • Age
  • Power and position (social/administrative/economic/other)
  • Disability
  • Sexuality

2. Representation – avoid tokenism

Consider a range of professional experiences and life experiences – invitations, grounded in respect for both professional knowledge and life experience, are less likely to be felt as token representation. Invite participants with both diversity knowledge and identity-linked perspective that relate to the goals of the committee rather than just their identity.

3. Create a safe space for contribution

A strong introduction to allow everyone to share their own perspectives and lived experiences, as well ground rules to participation is important to ensure a safe space has been created. Employees with ‘less power’ might fear repercussions for not agreeing with a majority perspective. It is therefore important to consider and attended to the group dynamics. When setting up the committee, it is also important to consider and assess any participation-related needs and/or access barriers.

4. Voting – an unpressured decision-making tool

Consensus can be challenging when everyone has diverse experiences and perspectives. Whenever appropriate, voting by secret ballot can allow participants to influence the direction of the group without having to publicly stating their opinion or views on a topic.

5. Leadership – include a decision maker at the table

To ensure that the ideas and goals of the committee can move forward in a meaningful way and within the bounds of the organization, include an individual that is a ‘decision maker’. They are your ally at the leadership level that can advocate and move forward the mandate of the D&I committee.

Acknowledging Traditional Territory

First peoples have existed for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans settlers. It has been their custom to acknowledge each other’s traditional territory, and this protocol still exist today. It is important to recognize that Frist Nations, Métis and Inuit have unique relationships with Canada. They hold sovereignty over their traditional territory and are diverse groups with their own histories and culture.

For example, my mother was born in Shoal Lake #4, whose territory extends between the Province of Ontario and Province of Manitoba. Shoal Lake #40 is part of Treaty 3 and of Ojibway heritage. It has been over 100 years since Canada expropriated Shoal Lake #40 reserve land and the City of Winnipeg built the aqueduct which displaced the community to a man-made island. It has been over 20 years since Shoal Lake #40 has been on a boil-water advisory. The boil water order was issued by Health Canada and it requires all community members to boil the water before consumption. When I speak at schools in Winnipeg to raise awareness, many students don’t realize the significate burdens that Shoal Lake #40 carries in providing Winnipeg with fresh water. In recent memory, nine people have died crossing the water or thin ice to access homes. Thankfully, after many years of advocacy and resiliency, in June 2019 Shoal Lake #40 will open their all-seasons road. This road will save lives and restore an economic future for the community.

Acknowledging Indigenous peoples’ territory is a small way of showing respect and recognition of Indigenous people. I encourage philanthropic organizations to reach out to Indigenous people in a respectfully way by including Elders and knowledge keepers to understand the traditional territory where their offices are located and work together in developing proper acknowledgements.

For example, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Manitoba Chapter at Winnipeg events acknowledges the Treaty one traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Dene, Dakota and Oji-Cree nations and the homeland of the Métis. My sincere hope is that we can move beyond acknowledgments and together find meaningful ways to support the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action.

Sharon Redsky is AFP Inclusive Giving Fellow and development coordinator with Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services.

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.

AFP Fellowship Mentorship Experience

I joined the 2018 AFP Fellowship program to increase my knowledge in fundraising and for the mentorship opportunity. I was fortunate to be mentored by Joan Blight, who has over 30 years of experience. Over the past 7 months, Joan and I met several times and I am grateful for her guidance. We decided to share our mentorship experience by answering the questions below.

What was the reason you agreed to participate as a mentee/mentor for the 2018 AFP Fellowship?

Sharon: For me, the mentorship was the most appealing part of the program for my professional development. I was excited to learn that Joan Blight would be my mentor. She is a well respected professional/fundraiser/leader and has the strategic and corporate experience that I hoped to learn.

Joan: I seek to learn more about Indigenous culture and what we can learn from one another about philanthropy. The Indigenous population is under represented in the field of fund development, so I welcomed the opportunity to mentor Sharon, the only Indigenous fellow in this program.

What has the experience taught you as a mentee/mentor?

Sharon: Through this positive mentorship experience I learned how valuable good governance is for organizations in achieving their fundraising goals. A good example of this, is having the board and leadership clearly committed and engaged. With Joan’s wealth of knowledge and insight, I felt that I could have used many more months to spend time learning from her.

Joan: There is a real difference between mentoring and directing. Sometimes it is a very fine line. If a suggestion I offered was not accepted, I learned to leave it alone.

How can diversity and inclusion be encouraged in the sector?

Sharon: I believe we can learn so much by including diverse perspectives and voices into the work of the philanthropic sector. Mentorship is an important way in developing valuable connections. In this fellowship, I have met many talented fellows who are working for the advancement of diversity and inclusion. I would like to see the more opportunities for mentorship and leadership development.

Joan: I think we need to listen and learn from Indigenous people and new Canadians. Are they interested in this sector? What is their passion? Are Indigenous individuals interested in working in Indigenous-led organizations? non-Indigenous-led organizations? What about new Canadians? What is important to them in the workplace?

Ways of encouraging diversity and inclusion:

  • through formalized means such as presentations to organizations’ senior management and engaging human resource personnel
  • through “shared learning” presentations to professional associations such as AFP
  • through mentorship opportunities such as this one
  • through networking with colleagues

Sharon Redsky is First Nation member of Shoal Lake #40 and development coordinator with Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services.

What does Truth and Reconciliation mean in the philanthropic sector?

As a relatively new member of the Association of Professional Fundraisers, I wanted to gain better insights on how the philanthropic sector understands Truth and Reconciliation. It was through a small questionnaire that I set to do so, and I am grateful to all the participants who completed it and shared their responses with me. This blog presents two of my project’s key findings.

Philanthropic sector has a role

I was pleased to learn that all respondents to the questionnaire felt that the philanthropic sector does have a role in contributing to the work of reconciliation. When asked if they felt satisfied with the philanthropic sectors current action, many felt that more action is required. They also identified the need for additional education and awareness. However, an important step is learning the truth of Canada’s role in the creation of residential schools and a deeper understanding of the long term impact this has on Indigenous people and communities across the country. It is my hope that individuals and organizations will make this kind of education a priority. Many resources are accessible from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Reconciliation Canada and the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

Impact Investing and the recognition of Indigenous voices

Most participants identified as impact investing and the recognition of Indigenous voices as an areas where the philanthropic sector could make the biggest impact. Building on this, is the rise of Indigenous led organizations across the country who are responsive to community needs and provide cultural appropriate services. There is a great opportunity to bridge the work of Indigenous led organizations with the philanthropic impact investment efforts. A good example is the Winnipeg Foundation, who distributing 1.3 million in reconciliation grants to 20 projects that are Indigenous led and some that demonstrated authentic engagement with the Indigenous community. In addition to foundations, many individuals contribute in meaningful ways, one such person is Jennifer Roblin. I met Jennifer while working at a non-for-profit and was inspired by her genuine generosity. Her contributions are not only financial, but she invests her time and energy collecting and distributing winter clothing for Indigenous children and youth living in Winnipeg. While these are just a couple of examples, there are many other ways to contribute to reconciliation, I compiled some in a list in my project’s full report. The report can be found at http://www.afpinclusivegiving.ca/resource/philanthropic-sector-truth-reconciliation/

Reflecting on this project has renewed my efforts in building relationships between the philanthropic sector and Indigenous led organizations to elevate the work of reconciliation.

Sharon Redsky is First Nation member of Shoal Lake #40 and development coordinator with Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services.

Diversity, Equity, and Access in Arts & Culture: Why It Matters

I was 21 years old the first time I visited a museum outside of a school trip – I remember visiting the ROM’s planetarium in the second grade. I was intimidated and did not feel it was for people like me, I thought, once I step in they would know that I was an outsider and didn’t belong. What if I didn’t have the right clothes or conduct myself the right way? They would know. Up until this point, all I would have known about museums was what I learned from television and films.

It was 2008, the opening week of the “Transformed” Art Gallery of Ontario, more than 68,000 people crowded through the newly renovated AGO during that opening week — admission was free that weekend (thank you BMO for sponsoring) and I was one of the 68,000 people who visited. It was packed and full of people from all walks of life, different from what I expected; it was welcoming. I could not believe this gem existed and that I had never visited.

The arts always felt a bit out of reach for me, and again, that it was not for me, so the more I wanted to challenge my feelings of exclusion and personal biases of the arts as exclusionary (especially given the fact that the arts sector is publicly funded!). I began to immerse myself, reading, and watching documentaries on the topic and attending more art shows. I also slowly started to expand my interest into classical music, ballets, and operas *when discounted tickets and free nights allowed me to* (thanks to government funding and programs supported generously by donors).

Experiencing all that arts and culture has to offer and knowing all the barriers there are to access, was one of the reasons I chose to build a career in fundraising – I wanted to be part of the change and scale social impact through inclusion and access.

Over the years, my affinity for arts and culture organizations in Toronto (or at least to those I could access) has grown, and I support them in whatever way I can, whether inviting others to join me at a show, donating or volunteering my time.

There are many great outreach programs designed to help access arts and culture in the city of Toronto. For example, The Toronto Public Library Map program is one of the many exceptional programs in the city affording access to arts and culture – offering free admission to Toronto museums and cultural attractions to anyone with a library card (but there is a limited number of cards in circulation). Many organizations have their own programs designed to increase access – whether it be through discount tickets, rush tickets the day of events, free days/evenings, etc. Nevertheless, arts and culture organizations need to take further action to attract diverse audiences, and that extends to programming, donors, employees, volunteers, and other key stakeholder groups if they want to bring value and truly enrich the lives of Canadians – equity is vital to achieving this. Everyone deserves to benefit, and there is room for everyone.

Not sure why diversity, equity, and access matters to the Arts and Culture Sector?

Here are five facts that will affect the future of the sector:

  1. Shift in Demographics – According to Stats Canada by 2031, the percentage of individuals belonging to a visible minority could exceed 40% in Ontario.
  2. Shift in Workforce Culture – In 2016, individuals aged 55 and over accounted for 36% of the working-age population, the highest proportion on record (Stats Canada, 2016). Without diversity as a part of organizational culture, replacement of this workforce will not occur (Stats Canada, 2016). By 2020, it is estimated there will be a talent shortage of 85 million skilled workers (Fortune, 2015) (KPMG, 2017).
  3. Shift in Business Norms Led by Millennials – Thanks to technology and social media, millennials are exercising their influence as employees and customers on organizations to create inclusive and diverse workplaces. By 2020, millennials will account for 50% of Canada’s workforce (Globe & Mail, 2017) – if organizations do not adapt, they could risk high and costly turnover (KPMG, 2017).
  4. Shifts in Wealth Accumulation – According to a survey conducted by BMO Harris Private Banking, 48% of people with liquid assets of $1M or more are immigrants or described themselves as first-generation Canadians with at least one parent born outside of Canada (Globe & Mail, 2018).
  5. Shift in Grant Making Strategies – In 2016, Canadian Council for the Arts released its five-year strategic plan which affirms their commitment to equity and inclusion, stating that, “Canada’s major arts organizations will be models of diversity and innovation” (we can check back in 2022) – the bar has been set (Canada Council for the Arts, 2016).

When looking at the shifts in trends, it is important to note where we currently stand. Older donors (55+) account for 47% of all donations made, and the population around us is aging fast. For the first time, seniors outnumber children in Toronto and are the most common household type (Toronto Foundation, Vital Signs Report, 2018). As of now, Arts and Culture receive 1.3% of the donor dollars in Canada, to put things into perspective, religious organizations represent 41% of total donations, and among non-religious organizations, the health sector receives 13% (Statistics Canada, 2013). So, who will replace arts and culture donors in the future? Time to focus on diversity, equity, and access.

Teresa Catalano was born and raised in northwest Toronto to immigrant parents and is a fundraiser in higher education.

How Would You Go About Broadening Your Donor Base to Reflect the Diversity of Your City or Region?

infographic-ottawa-food-bank

One of the gifts of the AFP Fellowship in Diversity and Inclusion was to attend the AFP Congress in Toronto – the largest AFP conference in the world. And what a delight to find myself talking about the Fellowship to an AFP Toronto fundraiser I had never met, who then introduced me to her friend and AFP member, Tricia Johnson, Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer for the Ottawa Food Bank. Wonderful! Some kind of AFP magic at work?

Coming from the second largest food bank in BC myself, we immediately began a conversation about how we are engaging diverse donor populations and agreed to keep our conversation going post-conference, both of us inspired that somehow, among 1000 attendees, we found each other.

Now March, a few months later, we checked in with each other and I asked Tricia about the plans she has for diversifying her donor base.

I started just by asking, ‘Who are your average donors?’

“Observationally, our average donors are pretty much ‘text book’. Our average donors are 60+, generally local, from Ottawa, they are mostly Caucasian, but their ethnic background varies, so they may have roots that go back to Poland, Italy, England, Ireland, French-Canadian etc. I don’t really keep track so this is just my general observation. And it is not uncommon when I’m talking to people that they can make reference to their faith. Our donors are not as affluent as I found in the Arts but definitely well educated.”

“I would like to have our donors be reflective of the people of the city. Visible minority groups or Non-whites account for 24% of the population in Ottawa. So it would be good to see within our donor base 25% representation of people who are non-white.”

“At AFP Congress someone did make a case for tracking ethnicity and religion, but we don’t track it here right now. So I couldn’t say where we are at right now but its not yet reflective of the diversity of the city.”

Who would you like to have participate more fully as donors?

“One of the groups that I’m working on engaging, and you and I talked about it in Toronto, was that people of the Muslim faith which are actually pretty diverse ethnically, they have a really have a strong affinity with our cause, they have a common call to feed the poor, it is a tenant of their faith. My main consideration is to diversify our donors where I see there is a natural fit.”

Tricia is interested in Muslim communities not just because it is a larger identifiable group in Ottawa that is not yet involved much in the Ottawa Food Bank, but particularly because she sees that they and the food bank could share her organization’s vision of “providing food to people who need it.”

I ask her, What are some considerations as you seek to engage with the diverse Muslim community to build on what may be aligned values or intersecting interests?

“Well, I think its going to take time for us to get to know them and for them to get to know us, I’m still learning where the common grounds are and the places where we might do things differently.”

How do they get to know us and how do we get to know them? What are some approaches you are taking?

“There is a Muslim food bank in our community that doesn’t serve only Muslims but offers a wide variety of halal items and is run by Muslim elders in the community. I reached out to that food bank and let them know that we are looking for people we can work with in the community who can act as Philanthropic Advisors.

These are people who are onside with us, who want to see us increase our reach in the community and they can help us with introductions. And sometimes through observation, they will help me navigate things to be aware of when interacting with people with cultural norms different than I might have.

For example, I didn’t necessarily realize that it’s a bit taboo, for a man and a woman to shake hands, they prefer not to touch, but of course, I’m very North American, and I’m generally pretty outgoing and so when I meet people, I put out my hand to shake their hand and show that I’m open and I’m excited to meet them.”

I ask Tricia to tell me more about her Philanthropic Advisors Group and how she hopes to engage with this group.

“We created a group called Philanthropic Advisors Group because it sounds way better than ‘Major Gift Committee.’ No one wants to be part of a Major Gift Committee or, when I’ve had those before, they haven’t been that effective. So seeing them as ‘philanthropic advisors’ it kind of puts the onus on me to make sure that they are equipped with knowing what we do, why we do it, some of the projects we are fundraising for —focusing on that education as opposed to just the door opening aspect of what they can do. I really want them to think about who would be predisposed to supporting our cause, not just find who has deep pockets.

Tricia says this project is “in its nascence.” So far she’s got 5 people who have shown interest in being her philanthropic advisors group and 2 of these are Muslim – one from the Muslim food bank and one from a mosque working on a committee that brings together people from all the mosques in Ottawa-Gatineau and they are both very engaged. Others in the group who she hopes to engage around diversifying with other less seen donors include, “a person who is Caucasian married to a person of Indian descent, another is a woman who is in the tech sector and involved in another fundraising group which is young, diverse and dynamic.”

So, Tricia has her plan on how she’s aiming to further diversify her community of donors:

  1. Reaching out to a food bank and a faith based organization who serve the populations we want to reach and involving/equipping them as philanthropic advisors.
  2. Reaching out to mosques and being present when they present gifts of cash and food to us.
  3. Subscribing to mosque newsletters.
  4. Subscribing to newsletters from The National Council of Canadian Muslims. (NCCM) is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization that protects Canadian human rights and civil liberties, challenges discrimination and Islamophobia, builds mutual understanding, and advocates for the public concerns of Canadian Muslims.
  5. Paying attention to connectors in our community—especially if they are part of a visible minority.
  6. Paying attention to donors in community who are women and have non-French or English names.

What are some of Tricia’s challenges and observations about making a conscious effort to broaden the diversity of her donors?

Her first thought is, “Not wanting to make any cultural faux pas that could cause deep offense.” She wants to create opportunities to engage people who are often overlooked but is “sensitive to tokenism and wary of making superficial assumptions.”

And of her process she says, “Generally my approach has been casual and somewhat inconsistent – but inconsistent meaning that it is naturally evolving, because I’m not trying to force it and I don’t want anyone to feel targeted because of their ethnicity.”

I’m just at the beginning of things now and I believe it is a bit of a slow process and although it may seem that that is a challenge, I believe it is better to take the time and kind of get to understand people and let them get to know you as well.“

Relationships do need to evolve and you can’t force or rush it. So sensitivity, openness, authenticity and a genuine interest in the people we wish to invite to join us in a common goal is surely the way.

My sincere thanks to Tricia Johnson for sharing her observations and experiences as she takes a thoughtful approach to broadening the diversity of the donors who support her cause.

The Fundraiser’s Journey: How Did We Get Here?

A big push by AFP, both in Canada and abroad, has been to increase the presence of “diverse” fundraisers in the sector (visible minorities, sexual orientation, etc), as well as battle the misconceptions and prejudice that impede the career advancements of some fundraisers, specifically women.

However, there is a question that I believe no-one has answered satisfactorily which plays a huge part in the diversity question:

How does someone start on the journey to become a fundraiser ?

Hypothetically, if 100% of all fundraisers first went through a college fundraising program and then later joined the sector, then increasing diversity would be a matter of increasing enrollment from diverse candidates into the program, ensuring they have the support to complete the program, and then helping with job placement post-studies. Similar approaches have been adopted in Law, Medicine, Accounting, Engineering – you name it, anything with a Professional Guild-like model.

But that’s not quite the way many fundraisers enter the sector.

When I ask fundraisers how they began fundraising, they usually flash that million dollar smile, shrug their shoulders, and mumble something along the lines of “I sort of fell into it.”

That’s a response you might also get if you asked a dentist or an accountant, or a lawyer or a doctor on how they ended up working professionally in their field, but you’d most likely treat it as an exception rather than the norm.

Yet, there’s something about the fundraising profession where the “I sort of fell into it,” is more the norm than the exception.

Why this question is important to answer today is because the charitable sector requires fundraisers, requires professionals to connect people with the causes they want to support. But if we, as a sector and as a profession, don’t fully know how we end up in this profession, haven’t fully mapped out the entry-points and traffic flow and matched our recruitment and training strategies accordingly, how will we ensure a supply of fundraisers in the future? How will we ensure the continuation of our projects once we retire or die? What does this mean to AFP and other associations who are the only loose tie between these people? What would knowing these answers mean for the AFP and its chapters given (IDEA) Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access is a recurring strategic objective? Without mapping how people enter the sector, can AFP and other associations truly support its membership?

As I poked around and had informal surveys, I noticed that people seem to be “falling” along certain lines, along certain entry-points:

  • We have the early-career charity professional who wants to help the charitable sector, and “fell” into a fundraising job;
  • We have the mid-career for-profit professional who wants to change careers and help a cause, and “fell” into a fundraising job;
  • We have the late-career cause/institution professional who is thrust into a fundraising role to help their institution, and “fell” into a fundraising job.

We need to map this out asap.

Which is why, with Lea Hardcastle, I’m launching a survey to track how people become fundraisers.

Please, it’ll take 4 mins to complete right now, months to analyse, and help us all for years to come.

EN = https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NYNR7YL

FR = https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X28LM3Z
And please share the survey by copying and pasting the following on your Linkedin or Facebook feeds:

Attention: Please take 4 minutes and complete this survey for us to understand how fundraisers enter the sector.

EN = https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NYNR7YL

FR = https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X28LM3Z

Unpaid Internships and the Obstacles to Economic Mobility

My first year of University was ending and everyone was talking about their summer plans and the internships they had lined up (their parents knew someone who knew someone). I wondered if my family knew anyone in the corporate, professional world who would offer me an internship. The reality was, I had no connections, and I was going to take on more hours at my minimum wage retail job.

At the time, everyone would stress the importance of internships, you would gain valuable work experience, and that it would lead to jobs so if it was unpaid, it was just part of “paying your dues.” At this point, I had already completed a year of volunteering at a television network and one unpaid internship to graduate from my college diploma before transferring to university. I really could not afford to do another unpaid internship, but I also could not afford not to given how critical they are in launching careers. Coming from a single-family immigrant household, and knowing the importance of building my network and need for economic mobility, I began to apply anywhere and everywhere.

During my search, I stumbled on a position at an arts organization that was paid (minimum wage, but paid!) and quickly put my name forward. As I continued to search for openings, I received a call for an interview for a public relations internship at one of the most coveted arts organizations in the country! I was overwhelmed and terrified at the same time; this would be my big break if I could get in. At the interview, I learned that there were more than 500 applicants, I felt like I won the lottery, and that even if I did not get the job, I was recognized, and all the free work was worth it. The following week I received the call that I landed the internship (!), I said thank you and proceeded to burst into tears as soon as the call ended.

According to a 2018 study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, when employers are deciding between two equally qualified candidates, completing an internship ranked higher in what influences their hiring decision compared to the applicants’ major or their GPA. Looking back, that internship was my big break, and if the internship was unpaid, I might not have been able to launch my career in the non-profit sector. I worry for the sector as unpaid internships could limit the intern pool to those with the financial means and leave students from more diverse economic and cultural backgrounds behind by lowering their chances of building vital work experience.

Today, the federal government has banned unpaid internships in federally regulated industries, and in Ontario, the Ministry of Labour has clarified that they are legal in only certain instances, i.e., academic credit. However, in provinces such as Nova Scotia and Québec non-profits are exempt and can offer unpaid internships. In a Brookings blog post by Joanna Venator, she writes,

One of the obstacles to greater intergenerational mobility (of the relative kind) is the ‘glass floor’ that keeps less-talented children born to affluent parents at the top of the income ladder. One way in which affluent parents protect their children from falling is by using personal or professional connections to arrange job or internship opportunities—but there are less-visible forms of protection, such as paying the summer living costs that make an unpaid internship feasible. This is not meritocracy: It is opportunity hoarding.

Here is the issue: If you are not paid the likely options to support yourself are:
a) work throughout the year and save enough to cover your expenses for the summer (housing, food, transportation etc. – basic needs)
b) Have the assistance of parents/loved ones to support you financially
c) spend energy and time and take on a second job.

I chose c).

I spent two hours commuting each way and then another 1.5 -2 hours (depending on transit) to get to my part-time job after my internship – I spent nearly 6 hours of my day commuting, I did this daily. I never wanted anyone to know how long my commute was or where I lived, anxious that I may not be given the job or have someone assume I could not make it work. My quality of life suffered, but I made it work for that summer. I truly believe unpaid internships pose a major barrier to entering the non-profit sector (or any sector for that matter), creating inequality and a decline in racial representation as the entry cost is too high—inaccessible.