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NonProfit Sector Still Needs To Move Past 'Tokenism'

Sun Oct 03 2021

Delegates at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s annual convention told that power needs to be shifted to the communities.

Fundraisers have heard that much of the NonProfit sector is struggling to move beyond tokenistic gestures when it comes to highlighting the voices of marginalised groups and the communities it works with.

Jaden Osei-Bonsu, programme manager at the leadership development community interest company the Centre for Knowledge Equity, told delegates at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s annual convention that the sector needed to shift power to the communities it supported, rather than telling them how to solve their problems.

Speaking at the online convention during an event focusing on how to be an ally to marginalised groups, Osei-Bonsu called for larger charities to think about how they could work in genuine partnership with grassroots organisations which allowed them to lead programmes, rather than simply advising.

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Historically with the charity sector, fundraising usually puts communities in a position where they are being researched or people are trying to tell them what is going to solve their problems

Jaden Osei-Bonsu - Programme Manager, Centre for Knowledge Equity

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Osei-Bonsu adds that the conversation should be about shifting power to communities with direct experience of the issues being addressed, as the majority of the sector is struggling to move past tokenistic gestures.

Drawing on her experience in youthwork, fellow panellist Yolanda Copes-Stepney, founder of Speak & Do, said that when engaging with marginalised communities, organisations needed to make a conscious effort to ask what results the communities wanted to see from the engagement.

She also said that, too often the young people she spoke to believed nothing would come from their involvement and that they would not be listened to.

She also said that organisations and individuals need to remember that allyship and supporting marginalised groups was ‘going to be a constant process of learning’.

It’s about asking lots of questions, and never assuming anything for them.

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Sun Oct 03 2021

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