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Donor Participation Project

Focus on Allies, Inclusion and Curiosity to Advance Diversity

Diversity, equity and inclusion are long-term priorities that require persistent work. For nonprofit leaders and fundraisers seeking to build more diverse and inclusive organizations, the path forward starts with allies, inclusion and curiosity.

There is no diversity without allies.

Joey Zumaya

Allies are critical partners in creating change.

Allies of underrepresented groups can advocate for diversity initiatives, endorse new policies, and recruit diverse board members and donors. Identify and empower allies at all levels of your organization. Make space for allies to learn and ask questions. Allies need inclusion too.

Inclusion is a must to achieve belonging. Policies and training are hollow without an inclusive culture where diverse staff and donors feel valued and heard. An inclusive environment encourages difficult conversations, shares decision making, and affirms people of all backgrounds.

Be mindful of how we affirm everyone and how we give them value. Model inclusion in your own words and actions.

Reshunda Mahone

Curiosity is key to learning. Many see diversity and inclusion as politically charged issues, but fundamentally they are about humanity. Approaching diversity with curiosity allows us to see our shared humanity.

Smart people ask more questions than make statements.

  • Ask open-ended questions to learn from those with different life experiences.
  • Create opportunities for donors and staff to share their perspectives.
  • Check assumptions and be willing to feel uncomfortable.

Overall, advancing diversity and inclusion is challenging work, but allies, inclusion and curiosity can help overcome obstacles. Diverse and inclusive organizations are stronger, more innovative, and better able to serve their communities. With time and effort, nonprofit leaders can build a culture where everyone belongs. The rewards for this difficult work are well worth the investment. Focus on allies, foster inclusion, remain curious — and keep learning, asking and trying. Progress will follow.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.

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