Fundraising significantly under-represents disabled and BAME communities, says report

According to Who Isn't in the Room, published by the Institute of Fundraising, only 3 per cent of fundraisers have disabilities, compared with 18 per cent in the wider charity workforce

The largest survey of diversity in UK fundraising has found a significant under-representation of disabled and black, Asian and minority ethnic fundraisers.

Who Isn't in the Room?, published today by the Institute of Fundraising, shows that representation in some areas has worsened over the past five years.

More than 400 fundraising charities provided data relating to 6,912 fundraisers between November and February.

The results revealed that only 3 per cent of fundraisers have disabilities, compared with 18 per cent in the wider charity sector workforce, as reported in the 2012 UK Civil Society Almanac.

The new figures show that 9 per cent of fundraisers belong to black, Asian or minority ethnic groups while the remainder are white.

The 2011 government census estimated that 13 per cent of the UK population were BAME.

Seventy-six per cent of fundraisers are women, compared with 68 per cent in the charity sector as a whole. But the mean gender pay gap is 11 per cent in favour of men, compared with 8 per cent in the charity sector.

The report says the IoF’s figures suggest that women in fundraising are likely to be under-represented in senior roles.

The only protected characteristic surveyed to show diverse representation was LGBT+.

The IoF previously captured data on diversity in 2013.

"While the two pieces of research had different methodologies, it is clear from comparing them that very little has changed in our sector in the years between them," today’s report says. "In fact, in some areas representation has worsened.

"In almost every area, the fundraising profession is less diverse than the voluntary sector workforce, which in turn is less diverse than the UK population as a whole.

"The results provide a benchmark for us to track change and monitor progress, and should be a wake-up call to fundraising organisations across the country to do more to prioritise this agenda."

The IoF’s Manifesto for Change, which is its blueprint for developing a long-term equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, committed it to capturing data.

An institute spokesman said the research would "underpin our long-term EDI strategy by establishing a baseline against which we can track progress".

He said the IoF would conduct further research, but did not say when.

The spokesman said the survey's high response rate suggested charities were willing to engage on the issues. But he added that many were failing to turn good intentions into action, as highlighted by the fact that 70 per cent of organisations have EDI policies but only 35 per cent require staff to do EDI training.

Sufina Ahmad, chair of the IoF’s expert advisory panel on equality, diversity and inclusion, says in the foreword to the report that the research provided "irrefutable evidence that change is needed".

She writes: "I have absolutely no doubt that it will be acted upon in an accountable, transparent and collaborative way."

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, said in a statement: "Although many charities are beginning to address EDI as an issue, many are still unable to report accurately on the make-up of their teams."

The report is available here.

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