The issue of racism within society is something which has come to the forefront of public discourse in recent weeks.
Many different industries have been discussing ways to create positive change and stand up against the systemic racism which pervades almost every part of society today.
This includes the third sector, and it is important that charities consider this problem in relation to their own communities.
We need to make commitments to change and focus more on diversity and inclusion in order to be actively anti-racist. This includes looking at both the hidden processes that go into the everyday running of organisations as well as the public messages, communications, and marketing which is sent out to followers and supporters.
One organisation which is working to highlight this conversation and improve issues of racism in the sector is Charity So White. They are pushing for meaningful change and asking that leadership in the charity sector engages in conversations about racism and commits to tackling the problem within their organisations. (Visit Charity So White’s website and blog to learn more: https://charitysowhite.org/ )
DID YOU KNOW?
The report ‘The Awareness and Effectiveness of Charity Trustees in England and Wales’ in 2017 showed that charity trustees are predominantly white, 92%, with less than 3% being black.
It was also shown in 2018 that ‘79% of senior leadership teams lack any ethic minority professional’ and ‘62% of the UK’s largest charities have all white boards.’
WHAT WE CAN DO
Here are just a few ideas of what you can do to be anti-racist, particularly if you are white person working in the charity sector (this list is just a starting point, and by no means exhaustive).
OPENLY SHOW SUPPORT
As an organisation, no matter what your size or following, you will most likely have various ways to communicate with your supporters, beneficiaries, and other connections.
Use this to raise awareness, spread the anti-racist message and provide information/resources so people can begin to learn more about the issues at hand.
Visit websites such as that of Charity So White. Read, learn, look at their calls to action and see what you can do to fulfil these within your own organisation and community.
Continue to educate yourselves and the people you work with about the issues at hand. Consider racism as a systemic issue within the non-profit sector as well as working hard to question your own implicit biases as an individual.
There is a wealth of resources online relating specifically to the third sector, (See NPC’s Walking the Talk, ACEVO’s ‘Making Diversity Count’ and Charity So White’s blog), as well as more resources linked at the end of this article.
LOOK AT THE ISSUES IN YOUR OWN AREA AND COMMIT TO CHANGE
Whatever area of the community your charity or organisation serves, look at how you can address the issue of racism. Learn about the problems and then make long term plans that will foster real change.
For example, if you work in education or children’s services, you may need to look at whether you are reaching all your local communities and make sure that everyone has knowledge of and access to your services. If you are working in a healthcare charity, you may need to look at the racial disparities that exist in healthcare and how they can be solved, for example by campaigning for more diversity in drug testing.
These are just a few ideas to show that there are things you can do no matter what your domain, but the specifics of this, as well as the commitment to the movement, are dependent on you.
PRACTICE INCLUSIVE MARKETING
It is important that you market your organisation in a way which is accessible to everyone.
Here are some questions you may want to consider, to check if you are marketing your non-profit in an inclusive way:
- Are black people and other minority ethnicities reached effectively through your marketing and communications?
- Are you also ensuring that you have systems in place to reach others who may not be able to access information as easily, such as those with disabilities?
- Are you using the right channels to reach these people?
- Do you use inclusive language in your marketing? (For example, avoiding niche slang words in communications or removing vocabulary from job adverts that is inadvertently biased or tailored towards a specific group of people).
- Are the images used in your marketing representative of the population and society as a whole?
- Is the internal culture of your organisation one where people feel included, valued and supported?
- Do you ‘elevate the stories and voices of people that have been typically marginalised or underrepresented’?1
Marketing is the entire way in which you present your organisation, so it is vital that you do this in a way that shows you to be inclusive and anti-racist. More information about inclusive marketing is linked below.
REFERENCES AND FURTHER INFORMATION:
DIVERSITY IN THE SECTOR:
- Diversity Within The Third Sector | Inclusive Boards
THINKNPC – walking the talk
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