Narrative needed to prevent people ‘tuning out’ from sexual harassment and inequality agenda

Fundraisers who want to tackle sexual harassment and inequality in the sector need to develop a narrative for change to prevent people from “tuning out” of the discussion, according to the chair of the fundraising think tank Rogare.

Speaking at a Rogare event in south-west London yesterday, Heather Hill, who is part of a research project on gender in fundraising, said it was crucial that any narrative for change was inclusive, to allow everyone to think of themselves as part of the solution.

Hill outlined areas the project was looking at, including sexual harassment and women in leadership, but said that developing a narrative for change was a key area of work.

“Over the past few years we’ve been hearing more about challenges around gender – not just in the fundraising area but more broadly as well, with the #MeToo movement – these issues have been coming up, and the concern we have is: ‘Are we at a point in our culture where people start to tune it out?’”

She said there was a danger that many people would start to feel they had heard about the issue before and dismiss it on the basis that it did not affect them or their organisation.

“So the question is, how do we build a narrative for change that is inclusive and inviting and people can see themselves as actors within it?” Hill said.

“Because we can propose all kinds of solutions, but if no one’s hearing them, no one’s taking ownership of them and if no one thinks that they are part of the solution, then none of the change happens, none of the solutions go anywhere.

“So we really want to create a narrative for change that’s inclusive and engaging to the key audiences.”

Hill acknowledged it was possible that the narrative might need to be broad or easily adjusted to cater to a wide range of different audiences, from frontline fundraisers and organisational leaders to donors.

Rogare will publish the results of the second phase of the gender in fundraising project by the end of the summer.

The first phase was published in April 2019.

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