Diversity commitments and targets at ACEVO

ACEVO CEO Vicky Browning talks about what ACEVO has been doing over the last 12 months to increase diversity and inclusion in the organisation.

In July last year, ACEVO and Institute of Fundraising released ‘Racial diversity in the charity sector’, a report that outlined the benefits of greater diversity and asked civil society leaders to sign up to eight principles to improve diversity and inclusion in our sector. I signed those principles and also made five specific commitments that I wanted ACEVO to achieve within 12 months. This blog contains an update on progress against those objectives.

  1. Provide all ACEVO staff and trustees with unconscious bias training

Staff received unconscious bias training at our December all staff away day and trustees will be attending a session after their board meeting in July. Our sessions have been facilitated by Natasha Broomfield-Reid at Diverse Matters.

  1. Arrange for all staff that wish to, to have mentors that can help them realise their potential

In August last year, we provided information to all staff about what mentoring is and its benefits. We have encouraged existing and new staff to talk to their line managers if they would like a mentor but only one member of staff has asked for a mentor.

We will continue to offer mentoring but will also talk to staff who did not request a mentor to see if there are other opportunities we could offer that would help them meet their professional goals.

  1. Review our staff and trustee recruitment processes to ensure they are inclusive

At the end of 2018, ACEVO recruited a new chair, Rosie Ferguson. Shortly after announcing the appointment I wrote about how we approached the search and what we learned from the process.

In early 2019 we asked HR specialist Ellis Whittam to review our recruitment processes and offer advice on what we should think about doing differently. We are behind schedule with examining new or different recruitment methods but I hope to provide a more detailed update on this objective by the end of this year.

  1. On an annual basis, beginning in March 2019 we will publish a breakdown of the diversity of our board, staff and membership alongside progress against the objectives set here.
  2. Work with our chair to set permanent and minimum diversity targets.

We have published diversity data about our membership, staff and board for the first time today. Collating this data is important because it enables us to find out if ACEVO is accessible to all leaders regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or religion. Publishing the data is important because we are committed to being accountable and transparent regarding our practice. This took some time, in part because prior to March last year we did not collect data on race, religion, sexuality or disability. We changed our membership form and database and have used the new form in all renewals and new membership requests for 12 months. If long-standing members are happy to complete the equality and diversity monitoring form when they renew then this will enable us to build a more robust picture of our membership and where we aren’t reaching the people we should be.

As well as publishing diversity data we have published board and staff diversity targets. These targets were developed by the staff and board and information about how and why those targets were chosen is available on ACEVO’s website.

There is some data in here that I am not proud of, especially that none of our trustees or staff is a disabled person. This shows me and the board that we have a lot of work to do to create a truly accessible organisation. With regards to membership, 5.6% of members described themselves as a disabled person compared to 16% of those completing our Pay and Equalities Survey 2019.

We have started to ask members for their access requirements at the point they join ACEVO, have transcribed our new podcasts and have raised the issue of inaccessibility to the toilets in our current office with the landlord. Unfortunately, the landlord has said that it is not possible to make access to the toilets step free but as our current office space is temporary, we have committed to ensuring that our next office is a fully accessible space.

Of all the diversity principles, the principle of setting permanent and minimum targets has caused the most discussion and has meant that some leaders have felt unable to sign up to the principles. I appreciate that some people do not think targets are a helpful tool because they are often too low, can create complacency and a sense of ‘job done’ when (or if) they are met.

However, our race advisory group and the ACEVO team believe that setting targets is important to measure progress and create transparent accountability. We have sought to be bold in our targets and be clear about their purpose. They are not a recruitment tool or a finishing line. Reaching these targets will not mean we have ‘done’ diversity, which is a continual process that requires nurturing an inclusive workplace culture.

There is no one way to do diversity or one set of targets that will apply to all charities but I hope creating our process helps others to think about what actions they may want to take and a framework to help them formulate their own actions. I welcome feedback on any of our work and look forward to continuing to work together to achieve a stronger more inclusive civil society.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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