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Imagine Named Top Nonprofit Search Firm for Women of Color in Fundraising for Second Consecutive Year

We are thrilled to announce that Imagine Consulting has been recognized as one of the top nonprofit search firms for women of color in fundraising and philanthropy for the second year in a row by Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy. This recognition highlights our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the fundraising space.





The Importance of Diversity in Fundraising

The philanthropic sector has long been dominated by whiteness, despite many organizations serving diverse communities and advocating for social justice causes. This lack of representation is not only unjust but also hinders the effectiveness of fundraising efforts. As Tycely Williams, CFRE, and chair of the AFP Ethics Committee states, "Racism exists in our profession, and we need to acknowledge it and work to end it" (AFP Global, 2020).


Women of color, in particular, face significant barriers in the fundraising profession. According to a survey conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), 77% of respondents identified as white, while only 9% identified as Black or African American, 6% as Hispanic or Latino, and 5% as Asian (AFP Global, 2020). This lack of diversity is even more pronounced in leadership positions, with women of color being underrepresented at all levels of management.


The underrepresentation of women of color in fundraising is not only a matter of social justice but also has practical implications for the effectiveness of fundraising efforts. As Birgit Smith Burton, Former Executive Director of Foundation Relations at the Georgia Institute of Technology and founder of The African American Development Officers (AADO) Network, notes, "Diverse teams are more innovative, make better decisions, and achieve better results" (AFP Global, 2020).


Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

At Imagine, we are committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the fundraising profession. We believe that everyone deserves a fair shot at opportunities, regardless of their race, gender, or background. That's why we utilize the Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF) principles in our hiring process.


When we have a diverse group of people at the table, we are better able to understand and address the needs of the communities we serve

CCF is a movement that seeks to shift the focus of fundraising from donor-centric to community-centric. One of the key principles of CCF is "Prioritize the safety and well-being of our teams, fundraisers and volunteers, especially those most marginalized in our communities" (Community-Centric Fundraising, 2020). This means creating an inclusive and equitable hiring process that values diverse perspectives and experiences.


In practice, this means taking steps to mitigate bias in the hiring process. As Joan C. Williams and Sky Mihaylo note in their Harvard Business Review article, "How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams," "unconscious bias can play a big role in determining who gets hired, promoted, or left behind" (Williams & Mihaylo, 2019). To combat this, we utilize strategies such as blind resume reviews, structured interviews, and diverse hiring panels.


We also prioritize creating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture that values and celebrates diversity. This includes providing ongoing training and education on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as creating employee resource groups and mentorship programs for underrepresented groups.


The Impact of Diversity on Fundraising Success

The benefits of diversity in fundraising go beyond social justice and workplace culture. Research has shown that diverse teams are more innovative, make better decisions, and achieve better results. A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians (McKinsey & Company, 2015).


In the fundraising context, having a diverse team can help organizations better connect with and serve their communities. As Birgit Smith Burton notes, "When we have a diverse group of people at the table, we are better able to understand and address the needs of the communities we serve" (AFP Global, 2020).

Moreover, having a diverse team can help organizations attract and retain a broader pool of donors. A study by the Blackbaud Institute found that African American and Hispanic donors are more likely to give to organizations that they perceive as being inclusive and representative of their communities (Blackbaud Institute, 2019).


Looking Ahead

At Imagine Consulting, we are proud of the recognition we have received for our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the fundraising profession. However, we know that there is still much work to be done to create a truly equitable and inclusive sector.

Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in our hiring process and workplace culture. We will also continue to advocate for greater diversity and representation in the fundraising profession as a whole.


We believe that by working together and prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, we can create a fundraising sector that is more effective, innovative, and responsive to the needs of the communities we serve.



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References:

AFP Global. (2020). The issue of racism in the fundraising profession. Retrieved from https://afpglobal.org/issue-racism-fundraising-profession

Blackbaud Institute. (2019). Diversity in giving: The changing landscape of American philanthropy. Retrieved from https://institute.blackbaud.com/asset/diversity-in-giving/

Community-Centric Fundraising. (2020). The CCF aligned actions list. Retrieved from https://communitycentricfundraising.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/CCF_Aligned_Actions_List.pdf

McKinsey & Company. (2015). Why diversity matters. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters

Williams, J. C., & Mihaylo, S. (2019). How the best bosses interrupt bias on their teams. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2019/11/how-the-best-bosses-interrupt-bias-on-their-teams

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