In 2019, AFP was approached by a group of Black Canadian women fundraisers who wanted to tell their stories, both professional and personal. The project would contain a series of what we’re calling Bright Papers, each written by a member of the group, as well as videos and interviews. AFP is proud to present their project: Our Right to Heal.
“Stories are thus much more than a book or narrative – they are the way our minds make sense of our lives and world….”
For the majority of my 20-year career, I have been the only Black woman in the room. I continue to cope and manage that reality, but to be clear, it is work. The impact of this isolation is cumulative and there is much to be said about being “the only or the first.”
Most of the issues facing Black people in our institutions, and communities are systemic and deeply engrained, which is precisely why we are successfully kept from truly belonging.
But the Work of Undoing is about finding people who can identify with your experiences and frustrations, getting together because of this commonality, and unpacking and challenging it together. The Work of Undoing requires that when you get together you name and confront those things using whatever means available to you.
The stories we share unveil our individual experiences; the details of the injustice and inequity we face daily; they also reveal the depth of our individual and collective courage. These stories were written a year ago during times of certainty. And in this time of global crisis due to COVID-19, we believe exposure and understanding of our realities is even more critical.
These are revolutionary times and we know first-hand how Black women are uniquely situated within overlapping systems of oppression to sustain disproportionate losses of both life and livelihood during this pandemic.
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By Loretta Lam
Understand Your Audience Before You Ask
May 30, 2019 – I was at a conference today filled with around 500 attendees from small to large not-for profit organizations. The conference, called Fundraising Day and appropriately themed “The Fabric of Fundraising” in celebration of its 25th year, was organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Toronto Chapter. I made remarks at one of the sessions at the conference about the importance for fundraisers to understand the changing fabric of Canada.
Canada now has over 40,000 immigrants every year and 7.1 million Canadians’ mother tongue is neither English nor French. By 2036, 34% of Canadians will be multicultural consumers. Charities and not-for-profit organizations have to understand that their current and future donations, sponsorships, volunteers and employees will come from these immigrants. Fundraisers need to adapt their fundraising and marketing strategies to the fast changing demographics. With that being said, I wonder how many of them have hit some roadblocks along the way before they realized they need a different approach to this unique audience segment.
The Chinese, for example, are known for their charitable giving and generosity, but they are not keen to give just because you have a good cause. With so many good causes, how can you push the right buttons to get results? Many organizations make the mistake of asking before the right relationships have been built. From my own personal history and experience, I have learned that doing business with the Chinese requires building positive relationships and trust. This same principle applies to fundraising in the Chinese community (and in the sector at large). While immigrant Chinese are trying to integrate into the Canadian culture, it is important to keep in mind that most were brought up with a very different set of values, which still shape how they think and behave.
So, how do we embrace these values and diversity in our fundraising?
Here are 6 quick tips to get you started:
By Tricia Johnson
AFP Toronto’s Congress was an empowering and highly personal experience that is changing my outlook towards the fundraising sector. But it didn’t start off that way.
It started with my arms crossed against my chest and my mouth drawn tightly into a straight line. It was a frown to be honest, but it could have been mistaken for concentration.
Hadiya Roderique was giving the first plenary speech at Congress, Canada’s premiere educational forum for fundraisers. Ms. Roderique’s experience as a black lawyer on Bay Street made front page news of the Globe and Mail last fall, and here, her powerful and informed speech tackled the racism and exclusion present in Canada’s corporate culture. Her observations, statistics and personal experience brought the conference’s theme, “Disrupt Philanthropy” sharply into focus. It showed that philanthropic culture in Canada was not immune to the “-isms” that affect other sectors. For me it touched a nerve that I was used to covering up.
“Why is she talking about this?” I thought. “We already know this! Just deal with it and move on!”
Well, that’s exactly what she was doing. Head on. I too am a black woman. I am a fundraiser working in Ottawa since 2005. I know what it feels like to be the only person of colour in a crowded room. But I don’t talk about it. Instead I’ve gotten used to the discomfort and moved on. But am I moving? Really?
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