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AFP Diversity and Inclusion Survey Report Provide Baseline for Future Work

Perhaps the most significant barrier to fostering diversity and inclusion in the charitable giving sector is the confounding lack of information on the number of people from diverse communities who currently identify as fundraising practitioners. 

The issue of a diversity and inclusion census is one of the key learnings in the newly released Diversity and Inclusion Survey Report, which follows an October survey designed by the AFP Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the AFP Research Council.

The survey was disseminated among AFP members and to other fundraising professionals through partner organizations, including CFRE International, African American Development Officers Network, Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), Grant Professionals Association and Native Americans in Philanthropy.  

AFP‘s commitment to building diversity and facilitating inclusion in the profession is one of the four primary pillars of its strategic plan.  The research represents a first step toward a specific goal of the 2013 Diversity and Inclusion Summit convened by AFP, the D5 Coalition and the Joint Affinity Group.

“What we quickly realized at the Summit is that we simply didn’t know enough about diversity and inclusion in the profession and the nonprofit sector,” said Jaye Lopez Van Soest, CFRE, the chair of AFP’s Diversion and Inclusion Committee. “The survey covered a new number of key areas that give us a sense of where the profession is with respect to diversity and inclusion and what is realistically possible now and into the future. It sets the foundation for our future work, and I want to thank all of our partnering organizations for their assistance in disseminating the survey.”

Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

In its findings, more than a third of respondents indicate their sense that the number of ethnically diverse fundraising professionals has increased since 2001.  Only four percent feel it has decreased; fifty-nine percent say the number is about the same. Most of those responding to the question say that their answer is based on personal observations of the number of people from diverse communities at conferences, those employed in their community’s nonprofit organizations or who are members of professional fundraising associations.

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed by AFP say that their organization prioritizes inclusiveness and eight-nine percent say they are treated fairly at work, although those who identify as White/Caucasian are slightly more inclined to feel this way over peers who identify as people of color. 

Additionally, people of color responding to the survey are much more likely to see insufficient organizational diversity as a challenge to their careers.  However, in findings aligned with those in the UnderDeveloped report, most respondents indicate that organizational dysfunction, non-supportive management and poor understanding of fundraising requirements are the biggest career challenges they face.

Longevity in the Profession

Among its other major findings, the study reveals that ninety percent of survey respondents intend to stay in the fundraising professor for a minimum of three to five years.  This represents a significant increase over the forty percent of fundraising professionals cited in the 2013 report UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing NonProfit Fundraising, who indicated that they were uncertain that they would be career fundraisers.

Training and mentors are both positively associated with plans to stay on in the fundraising profession. Over eighty-percent of those surveyed say that employer-subsidized training is available to them.  Fifty-seven percent have taken external training programs that are specifically related to fundraising while another nine percent say they intend to take a training course in the near future.

Although only forty percent say they have a mentor, a full eighty-eight percent of those who do say that the mentor-protégé relationship has helped them in their careers.  Almost half of those with a mentor report that they initiated the relationship.   Well over half (sixty-five percent) of the respondents cite that professional colleagues are the primary source of work-related advice and counsel, and fifty-seven percent say their professional advice comes primarily from professional associations and related fundraising conferences.

The full survey report can be found here on the AFP website.



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