DEI at ADRP Gets a Boost: Collective Action for Collective Good

Kimberly Karol
Deputy Director of Development
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Vanessa Harmon
Director of Donor Stewardship
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

“Blacks are not philanthropic.”

“Sure, we want to diversify our board, but we cannot compromise our fundraising performance.”

“We need a white gift officer to engage this (white) community.”

“We cannot find people from underrepresented communities with the experience to fill senior roles.”

“While we would like to diversify our volunteers, we need people who know what they are doing.”

“A donor made a pass at me. I don’t feel safe but feel pressured to keep him in my portfolio to meet my goals.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

Despite the heightened awareness of biases and discrimination in the workplace and the proliferation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) value statements and programs, these harmful statements — and the sentiments behind them — continue to erode our development efforts, impeding our ability to inclusively engage our beneficiaries, volunteers, donors, colleagues, and community. 

In addition to diluting the impact of an organization’s mission by limiting the pool of supporters and failing to encourage employment opportunities that yield a diverse workforce, these statements and corresponding behaviors perpetuate an unsafe work environment and contribute to inequalities in the fundraising profession.

To further its commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and its development leadership team, led by our Chief Development Officer Tom Neises, is proud to support ADRP in promoting DEI practices in philanthropy. TNC understands that fulfilling our mission of conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends requires committing to DEI across all facets of our work. We also recognize that the nonprofit fundraising community can create more substantive and lasting change by sharing resources and acting together.

Recently, TNC made a financial commitment to kickstart ADRP’s DEI educational programming and provide scholarships to help diversify our membership base. TNC’s contribution enabled the ADRP DEI Committee to bring in an expert to facilitate its session on unconscious bias at the 2022 international conference in Albuquerque.

And this transformative partnership is only the beginning.

We encourage ADRP members and your organizations to join TNC in financially supporting ADRP’s efforts to cultivate a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable fundraising environment, leading to more significant philanthropic outcomes for all.

Consider the benefits and privileges that may exist within your institution. If your organization has committed to increasing equity, reckoning with systems of injustice, and working towards a more inclusive workplace that values and cultivates diversity, then consider an ADRP DEI sponsorship. It is a collective opportunity to care for one another, share opportunities with less-resourced organizations doing important work, elevate the field of donor relations, and deepen the impact of our work to make the world a better place.

We embrace a more equitable and just approach to professional development, job opportunities, and skills evaluations. We are ready and energized to work together to build our resources and increase knowledge as development professionals and bring more voices to the table. If you’re interested in joining us in support of ADRP’s DEI sponsorship or would like more information please reach out to either one of us via the member portal or contact ADRP’s Executive Director Louise Miller at [email protected].

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