By Nick Billingham, Managing Director, Charity People

I’ve been a football fan for as long as I can remember. I’m used to the disappointment that brings, but this week feels different. 

This week I am filled with feelings of shame, anger, frustration and demoralisation about what happened before, during and after the game. Three of our players, who just four days before were being lauded as heroes, became subject to vile, racist abuse.

I’m sorry for my Black and Asian colleagues who have to feel and hear this nonsense so regularly. And I’m sorry that we seem to live in a society where this divisiveness is actively encouraged.

But like the Marcus Rashford mural – I have hope. We must do more. 

More than statements

As the leader of an organisation, I know it is not enough for us to release statements condemning racism. I have hesitated to put pen to paper about this, because I wanted to take the time to reflect on our actions on this in the past year. 

I’m proud of the progress we have made. We’re further along the road in our journey towards equity, diversity and inclusion at Charity People and I hope our work in this area is influencing the charity sector as a whole.  

We last wrote about this nearly a year ago in a blog. Our goals at that time were to assess our own structure and lack of diversity, particularly racial diversity, at a leadership level.  Since then we have made significant steps to be more inclusive. I’m not sharing these steps to say “look at us” but because I want Charity People to have these uncomfortable conversations, to be transparent about where action has been taken and where it is still needed, to inspire others in the sector to consider these steps and to allow the sector to hold us to account. 

The progress on our EDI journey so far…

In the past year we have: 

  • Created a strategy committee – we recognise that our most senior outward facing staff are white so we have created a strategy committee to enable more junior staff to work alongside me on the direction of the company.
  • Addressed our own recruitment practises – Too often we have recruited ‘people like us’. We’ve taken positive action with our own hires, seeking 33% of candidates on our shortlist to be of non-white ethnicity
  • Gained the confidence to work with clients who share our passion for a workforce that is more representative, to undertake positive action searches on their behalf.
  • Revamped our data collection methods to encourage greater ownership for this vital practice and to assess the diversity of the pool of candidates we are connected with. 
  • Started measuring our own equal opportunities, so we can measure our progress with representation year on year.
  • Initiated formal exit interviews with staff leaving (I know, I know.. we should have been doing this anyway). 
  • Initiated the search for our own Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; someone who can work with us on continuing this work whilst exploring how we can better partner with our clients on improving their own practices. This role remains unfilled at the moment, but I know the right person is out there!
  • Supported organisations like She Leads for Legacy to encourage Black female leadership within and beyond the charity sector. 

There is so much more we need to do, and we will. In the meantime, to our colleagues, clients and partners of non-white ethnicity, we stand with you against racism and we are committed to enabling an anti-racist charity sector.