Diversity is the sector's Achilles' heel, says fundraising consultant

Carol Akiwumi tells the Institute of Fundraising's annual convention that charities must stop doing the same old, same old with the usual suspects

Carol Akiwumi
Carol Akiwumi

The lack of diversity in the charity sector is "an embarrassment" and an "Achilles’ heel", according to the fundraising trainer and consultant Carol Akiwumi.

Speaking at the Institute of Fundraising’s annual convention yesterday, Akiwumi said increasing diversity would help the sector face the challenges of the future with the help of different perspectives.

She was speaking at a panel session exploring what the "next big thing" in fundraising and the sector as a whole was likely to be.

"My idea for the next big thing is diversity," she said. "At the moment it’s an embarrassment, an Achilles’ heel.

"The world is changing and the sector must keep up. That means getting past doing the same old, same old with the usual suspects."

If charities really wanted to find new ways of doing things in order to raise funds and achieve their objects they would have to increase diversity, said Akiwumi.

"There are all those people who have such amazing ideas and who could help us by giving us alternative views," she said.

"Because if the people who are closest to you are all like you, you have blind spots. All of us have unconscious biases – that’s why we need a 360-degree view."

She challenged delegates to "get out of your comfort zone" and implement effective diversity strategies in order to find ways of "getting comfortable" with new and different perspectives and ideas.

"Dare to dream bigger," Akiwumi said. "Dare to imagine that you can harness not just the ideas from the places that you would be uncomfortable with, but whole communities. We can actually begin to reach communities that we don’t traditionally target in our campaigns."

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