To say it has been a challenging few years in North America, is truly an understatement. The pandemics of COVID-19 along with racism have impacted us all, though not equitably. These pandemics have touched and changed all aspects of our private and professional lives, and the fundraising sector has not been immune to the changes foisted upon us. A sector synonymous with helping, has been forced to reckon with the cultural norms and values that have long been accepted and recognize these are not inclusive, in some cases are harmful, and have been designed and enacted on the same foundations of privilege and oppression that plague all other institutions in our society. Many nonprofits and charities were paralytic in their response to the racial justice uprisings across the continent, others took a watch and wait approach, and some accepted the notion that their response may be imperfect but were comfortable with the idea of potential failure in lieu of not being responsive.
Many nonprofits and charities have indeed been founded or evolved to respond to intractable social challenges that are compounded by race, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, and other intersectional identities. The response to, and in some case non-response to the pandemics as it pertains to program delivery and fundraising has been a matter of mission fulfillment and survival; however, all nonprofit organizations have had to consider how the inequities that are borne in almost all institutions in Western society impact their staff – some see this as the right thing to do and no more, and others see it is imperative to sustainability. While COVID-19 has become a part of our lexicon, so too is the language of EDI – equity, diversity, and inclusion. Sector conversations about pay equity, intersectionality, reconciliation, decolonization, anti-oppression and more that were once part of the sidelines in our sector – seen as the work of interest groups, have now taken center stage. [Read more…]