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.
"[there is] a tendency to conflate issues of racial inequality with other issues in order to avoid confronting it." I stand with @BlackFundUK on this issue. And I am tired of 'the best candidate for the job' being used as an excuse. https://t.co/ygTUfHEC5I— Ruby Bayley-Pratt (@RubyBayleyPratt) April 29, 2019
WHAT DO OTHER PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THIS? The Institute of Fundraising has launched a diversity programme. They hired a man to lead on it. He has white skin & no visible protected characteristics. He shares the same first name as the CEO. He was the "best candidate for the job".... https://t.co/BQNJH2gDBu— Mandy Johnson (@MsMandyJ) April 29, 2019
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.
In December last year following an open and rigorous interview process we appointed an EDI Project Manager with project management and EDI policy experience to support the planning and delivery of the programme— Peter Lewis (@piterk68) April 29, 2019
Or was anyone from the Black Fundraisers Network invited to sit on the panel? Also, were the optics of hiring a white man considered when lack of racial diversity and sexism are 2 of the biggest challengesfundraisers are facing atm.— Lizzi H ?? (@LizziHollis) April 29, 2019
I think we also need to know a) where the job was adverised b) the demographics of those applying and short-listed.— Johnny Five (@JTCHANGINGBIZ) April 29, 2019
In the past, I tried to pay to advertise clients' jobs through the BFN but was refused because it had an exclusive arrangement with a sole recruitment agency.
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.
This article raises imp points that we are happy to discuss & engage with. There are equality, diversity & incl issues in the fundraising sector. The EDI Panel & I are confident in @IoFtweets commitment & ability to address them, esp for BAME, LGBT+, disabled & women f/raisers https://t.co/kRxqigwY7L— Sufina Ahmad (@SufinaAhmad) April 29, 2019
Emily Casson, digital marketing manager at Cats Protection also expressed support for Lewis’s comments.
Absolutely this ?? https://t.co/6QqzZu2vN1— Emily Casson ?????? (@EmilyCasson) April 29, 2019
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.
* We are in uncharted territory, making the best decisions we can, all things considered, and LEARNING along the way.— Amicky Carol Akiwumi (@AmickyCarol) April 29, 2019
* I imagine a fundraising profession that’s truly equal, diverse and inclusive, at all levels. And for the first time on the journey, I know many people do too.
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.
While I can see the appearance of irony, I would be cautious about getting outraged. Diversity is more than ethnicity and gender - this is what intersectionality is all about. As the article says; there are many protected characteristics, ethnicity and gender are only two. https://t.co/UmpAkCIq7g— Miss IG Geek (@MissIG_Geek) April 29, 2019
But later in the same thread, she said she hoped Fleet would do "a good job with humility and an open mind".