In July I started to work with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising in a consultative support role on Safeguarding and EDI, helping them on the next stage of their journey in making the fundraising profession more inclusive. In the piece that was sent out to members I outlined my plans in the role.
Hello, I’m David Mbaziira and I’m delighted to have joined the Chartered Institute of Fundraising as their new Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. A little bit about me, I’m a consultant and founder of okusoka + Co a consultancy that works to create inclusive cultures, working across a number of sectors including not for profit, higher education, health and sport.
I’m passionate about all areas of diversity, not just the visible differences but the hidden and invisible ones as well, because the cumulative effect of being marginalised by the majority and the structures of inequality can have a devastating effect on an individual’s mental health.
As someone who has been on the journey with the then Institute and now Chartered Institute of Fundraising through my time as a member of the Expert Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and more recently as a Member of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee I understand the need and importance of this agenda for our profession.
Before I go any further, I have to acknowledge the fantastic work done by my predecessor Elizabeth Balgobin, she has not only left a solid foundation for future work but also delivered key parts of the action plan both internally and externally for CIoF. The EDI Recruitment Toolkit helping organisations recruit more BAME and disabled fundraisers; the launch of the research on Women into leadership in fundraising; continuing to engage with partner organisations to discuss and deliver a coordinated cross-sector approach to EDI are three notable highlights.
We need to build on all the notable work that has been done, and also go much further as there is still much to do.
The starting point and my focus over the next 6 months will be to use the considerable knowledge and experience within the EDI committee, alongside all stakeholders to create a new EDI strategy that can in turn be part of and support the new proposed CIoF organisational strategy. It has been stated by the board of trustees that inclusion needs to be at the heart of this new strategy and whilst specific challenges remain, we need to focus on intersectionality where ever possible to ensure that our collective efforts move away from silo activity around for example, disability, race or gender conversation to something that appeals to and covers the commonalities that occur across multiple protected characteristics, in addition to visible and non-visible differences.
The post covid-19 landscape has been and will continue to be challenging for charities and fundraising, one of the many consequences has been the dipropionate impact on widening inequalities for all those on the margins. The EDI agenda has taken on greater significance and importance in this context, I will be looking to engage, support and work with our existing committees, regional groups and volunteers to bring more voices in and be representative of our membership, small charities and big charities that want to do more and have prioritised activity in this area.
We must also remember that work around Inclusion is bigger than ethnicity or gender, (although they will remain a priority) but in other areas as a profession and as a sector we have much work still to do, for example the challenges of supporting Deaf and Disabled people who are significantly underrepresented in fundraising. This will be a key project that I will be working on over the coming months, including engaging with disabled fundraisers and disabled peoples’ organisations to identify what specific actions we could take to support more disabled people into our profession.
Finally, I’d like to make a personal ask of you. Over the last year the term Allyship has been used more frequently, and there has been a recognition of our own individual responsibility to be an ally for individuals who are marginalised or mistreated. As fundraisers we understand the importance and impact of collective action so I’d like us to focus collectively on what we can do and contribute by proactively engaging and working together for our profession regarding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Let’s ask ourselves, what role can I play in promoting EDI in my personal life and in our workplaces (both physical and virtual)? – because that’s how we will make change both now and in the future.