Our Journey So Far - Small Charity ED&I Networking Group

As part of our Commitment to Diversity, we created a small charity networking group last year to create a platform to support those individuals and organisations who needed it. This is still an area in its infancy across the sector and we are confident that our support, knowledge and passion can benefit charities as a whole.

Since establishing the group, we have hosted three events and grown in members. We now have members from 21 different charities, meeting quarterly to discuss various topics and trends covering ED&I. But most important for us and the reason we set up the group was to allow small charities without HR teams to share their policies and improve best practice – something we are achieving.

Michael Livingstone

Last week, we had Michael Livingstone (Development Database and Insights Manager) speak. He has played a key role in implementing policies around the Museum in support of ED&I. As an individual, he identifies as Queer and has experienced discrimination in the past, specifically, when he was passed for a promotion due to his sexuality. This experience heightened his passion for change and allowed him to create a safe working space at the Museum where people do not need to hide their sexuality. Michael introduced and implemented non-gender bathrooms at the Museum. One of the many barrier’s small charities face is push-back from senior management and Michael very eloquently taught us the importance of finding common values and bringing onboard members from middle management, and then senior management who can back your corner. Now, 75% of the bathrooms at the Museum are non-gender.

The top 3 takeaways from the session with Michael would be:

  1. Do things with a policy of asking for forgiveness rather than permission – Michael found it easier to work with middle managers first who were budget holders to get buy-in and not rely on senior management approval, which can always take a while.
  2. Be genuine in your commitment – start by promoting ED&I and introducing best practice internally before going public and making external announcements otherwise staff will feel this is a tick box exercise.
  3. Be supportive. Be collaborative. Be informative – use data to reinforce the importance of the changes you want to make.

If you work in a small charity and would like support on how to better position your ED&I policy and commitment, please email [email protected] to register your interest in joining the group. We look forward to welcoming you.

‘I always look forward to our networking sessions, they are a boost of motivation. It is great to hear about all the different initiatives and perspectives across the group. I leave the session full of ideas and positive energy.’ – Nili Cyntrynowicz, Humanity and Inclusion UK]