Women & fundraising gets action

publication date: Mar 12, 2018
author/source: Ann Rosenfield, MBA, CFRE

Like many professions, fundraising is facing its own #MeToo" movement. Similar to the movements in other sectors, initial focus on sexual harassment has broadened to incorporate more issues that impact women in the profession including pay equity and unequal access to leadership opportunities. Two major initiatives were launched last week for International Women's Day to improve the situation for women in fundraising.

Ms Rupt NOW

Ms Rupt NOW began in 2015 in B.C. and launched nationally on International Women's Day this year. Ms.Rupt NOW describes itself as a community of women who embrace diversity of thought, experience, opinion, disrupt the status quo, move philanthropy forward, and lift each other up.

Ms Rupt NOW is informally structured inviting fundraisers to take four actions:

Reach Out provides a way for women who want to share their story of discrimination or abuse to be heard. The organizers offer the chance for women to talk about what has happened in a way that is respectful and supportive.

This links to Ms Rupt NOW's second area, Listen. The conveners ask us to be good listeners when someone wishes to share her own story and to provide her with support.

In addition to listening, they encourage those interested in Join Us through engagement in social media. The #MeToo movement has really highlighted the power of social media in bringing attention to this area.

Finally, Ms Rupt NOW is planning gatherings in the GTA as well as online Discussions. Ms Rupt NOW notes that all who identify as women are welcome to participate.

Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Women's Impact Initiative

Also, on International Women's Day, AFP launched the Women's Impact Initiative (WII) to address to a whole series of issues around the role of women in fundraising including gender inequity, sexual harassment, and implicit bias. Canadians Andrea McManus and Helen Choi serve as leaders on this important task force.

The first part of this initiative is a comprehensive survey of sexual harassment in the profession conducted in partnership with The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The survey includes responses from the U.S. and Canada and preliminary results will be announced in early April and at the AFP International Fundraising Conference.

AFP plans to use data from that survey and other resources to develop anti-sexual harassment training as part of their library of educational offerings. AFP also plans to provide training so that fair and equitable salaries can be negotiated. Other plans include a mentoring program and a Women's Impact Summit in 2019.

First steps

The work of Ms Rupt NOW and AFP's Women's Impact Initiative hold promise for making important changes in the sector for women. Interestingly, AFP is planning to use the WII methodology to address issues for other commonly marginalized groups. This overdue work has finally begun and hopefully can lead to real and systemic change to ensure all fundraisers have a fair and equitable work environment. 

You can connect to Ms Rupt NOW via Twitter @msruptnow. You can connect to the AFP WII through the WII website: www.afpidea/wii

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