Charities need to invest money if they are to address the lack of diversity, equality and inclusion in the upper echelons of the sector, the Charity Finance Group’s annual conference has heard.
Speaking at a session on diversity at the conference this morning, Becca Bunce, co-director of the IC Change Campaign, which lobbied for the UK government to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on violence against women, said that charities must make space in their budgets if diversity is to be properly addressed.
"There’s a lot of talk about diversity, but we need to have some action," she said.
"We need investment, we need resource, we need to be putting in money. If you want to respond to the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda, show me the money.
"If we do not actually invest in this and make it part of our strategy and align it in our budget, we cannot respond to it."
Also speaking at the conference, Cordelia Osewa-Ediae, senior consultant at the recruitment consultancy Green Park, said the challenge for charities was to increase diversity in senior roles, because there was plenty of diversity in middle management and working on the front-line.
But she said there had to be "honest conversations about why some groups might be facing barriers in the workplace or not having access to roles within organisations where they have the power to make decisions".
Osewa-Ediae added that charities needed to prioritise inclusion if they wanted to retain staff.
"There is a knee-jerk reaction that is hiring talent that appears to be diverse," Osewa-Ediae said. "But without inclusion, without people feeling they are part of the organisation and have a role to play in its progress, those people will leave."
This meant having set targets for diversity, similar to those adopted by the private sector, to ensure charities prioritised the issue, she said.
Kunle Olude, director of Voice4Change England, told delegates that data was vital to understanding where charities were failing on diversity.
"The starting point for me is data and understanding the landscape of our own sector, but I think we also need to be in a position where we can look at these things with a degree of openness and honesty," Olude said.
"It is not about making people feel bad or that in some way they have been inadequate because of the way the institution has developed in terms of not pursuing these policies."