Charities should be incentivised with grants to increase diversity, a charity consultant has proposed.
Speaking at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering in Parliament yesterday about diversity in the sector, Tesse Akpeki, consultant at Onboard and NCVO, called for charity leaders to take more action to improve diversity in the sector.
She proposed that charities be rewarded for improving diversity, by receiving grants as incentives.
Akpeki likened the proposal to a scheme that is done by Sport England, which uses National Lottery funding to, in part, develop a more diverse base of volunteers.
She added that board chairs should also have a role in creating apprentice schemes to ensure that younger people are recruited into the sector.
Her sentiments about the gravity of the diversity issue were echoed by other panellists. Lucy Caldicott, chief executive at the charity, UpRising said that there was “a moral cause” for investing in diversity.
“It is quite significantly worrying that the voluntary sector does not reflect the society it serves,” she said.
She suggested that the sector endeavour not to tick boxes with leadership recruitment, and hire a diverse range of trustees rather than hiring one trustee from a diverse background.
“Tokenism’s not good enough,” she said.
Tracey Lazard, chief executive at Inclusion London, added that efforts to improve diversity should not be limited to those governing charities, but throughout the team. She said: “We should get out of the naïve idea that one superhero head can be parachuted in and clean up the mess.”
She suggested a bottom-up approach, training people without skills but with potential to get into the sector. She said that leadership qualities are spread out evenly in society and so without diversity there is “a huge waste of talent”.