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AFP Board Adopts New Approach to Diversity and Inclusion

October 18, 2017

The AFP International Board approved a series of changes to the association’s diversity and inclusion efforts, including a new focus on access and equity, as well as new projects and resources to support and enhance each chapter’s diversity efforts.

AFP’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee will now be named the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Committee. IDEA will also be a broader term that covers all of the association’s work in this area.

That change originated from feedback and comments from a survey the committee sent to chapters about successes and challenges with their diversity work. The committee received a wide range of responses about what the terms diversity and inclusion meant, as well as how the two were differentiated.

In addition, the committee looked at why some chapters were struggling with addressing these issues. In reviewing the best practices of successful chapters, Equity and Access were identified as the two concepts that were present in their practices. The committee’s report noted that:

“Without inclusive practices, there can be no diversity in our chapters. Without equity, diverse members of our chapters can’t participate despite being included. Without access, inclusive practices that provide equity to diverse members can’t be applied.”

IDEA Recommendations for the Association

Based on these findings, the committee developed definitions of all four key concepts: inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA). It also created new board policy regarding IDEA and made the following recommendations:

  • Change the Diversity and Inclusion committee to the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Committee.
  • Ensure all IDEA Committee initiatives reflect inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.
  • Create a definition of philanthropy from the AFP perspective to ensure a culture of philanthropy among all stakeholders.
  • Move one of the Inclusion and Influence goals for the AFP Ten Star/Ten Star Gold award from optional to a required goal.
  • Measuring success relies on data. Collaborate with staff and other workgroups to create IDEA benchmarks/scorecard for chapters to measure and drive success
  • Have chapter presidents report through the annual accord process on initiatives taken to advance chapter inclusiveness, and demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity and access

“Since the days of NSFRE, our association has taken an active role in addressing issues around diversity and inclusion in the fundraising profession, “said Birgit Smith Burton, chair of the IDEA Committee.  “This year, the committee worked hard to ensure that we take a big step to the next level in our quest to make important changes that serve as an inspiration to all nonprofit organizations working to provide a welcoming space to diverse communities.  Let’s celebrate the success of these recommendations and move forward with the work that has yet to be done.”

Chapter Mentoring Program

The recommendations also included a plan to create a diversity mentoring program for chapters and ways to benchmark success. The program will be implemented in phases.

The Friends of Diversity (FOD) Designation would be used as a metric to determine mentoring program candidates. Chapters that have achieved the FOD designation will be asked to serve as mentors, sharing ways they’ve implement programs that lead to their success.

Another goal of the program will be to raise the number of FOD designation applicants/recipients from 38 percent of all professional AFP chapters to 50 percent.

The IDEA committee is also exploring the development of an advanced FOD designation to keep chapters engaged in diversity and inclusion efforts.

“What the IDEA Committee has brought to the table is a quantum leap in our association’s diversity and inclusion work,” said Jason Lee, interim president and CEO of AFP. “I’m excited about making IDEA a board priority because it is essential to the growth and development of the fundraising profession. AFP needs to be a leader in this area, and I want to thank Birgit Smith Burton and all the members of her committee for their hard work. These recommendations will serve as the foundation for our IDEA initiatives for years to come.”

The recommendations can be found here on the AFP website.  If you would like to join the IDEA Committee in 2018, complete the 2018 Committee Sign-Up form by October 31, 2017.