Mixed reactions on social media to IoF appointment of white, male diversity manager

The Institute of Fundraising defends its choice of Peter Fleet, and some caution against outrage - but others are critical

The good folk of Twitter responded to the issue
The good folk of Twitter responded to the issue

The Institute of Fundraising’s response to criticism about its decision to hire a white man as its equality, diversity and inclusion manager has met with a mixed response on social media.

Third Sector reported yesterday that several IoF members had expressed concern about the decision to hire a white male diversity consultant to help advance its diversity strategy, including members of Black Fundraisers UK, the IoF group that supports its black, Asian and minority ethnic members.

But the IoF defended its choice, saying Peter Fleet, who was hired in December, was the best person for the job.

Ruby Bayley-Pratt, policy and research manager for fundraising at the British Red Cross, said the use of "best candidate for the job" was an "excuse", and the fundraising consultant Mandy Johnson also seemed to query the phrase.

Another user, Michelle Blau, appeared to communicate her disapproval by tweeting a gif image of a cat shaking its head and saying "nah".

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, defended the appointment process, but Lizzi Hollis, head of corporate engagement and partnerships at Richard House Children’s Hospice, and the fundraising consultant John Thompson responded by questioning whether the recruitment and interview process had been set up to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Sufina Ahmad, who chaired the IoF advisory panel that developed its diversity Manifesto for Change last year, said she was confident in the IoF’s ability to address EDI issues in the fundraising sector.

Emily Casson, digital marketing manager at Cats Protection also expressed support for Lewis’s comments.

And the fundraising consultant Carol Akiwumi, who has previously chaired the Black Fundraisers UK group, said she did not share the concerns about Fleet’s appointment.

Rowenna Fielding, a digital officer at the National Association of Data Protection Officers, said the optics of the appointment were "dubious but not damning" and cautioned against an outraged reaction.

But later in the same thread, she said she hoped Fleet would do "a good job with humility and an open mind".

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