‘It’s vital you have an EDI strategy’ no matter the size of your charity, says diversity coach

05 Apr 2022 News

All charities, regardless of size, need to have an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy, experts told leaders last week. 

Gamiel Yafai, CEO of Diversity Marketplace, and Nathan Nalla, the director of Be the Riot, were peaking at ESG Imperative, an event organised by Civil Society Media, about creating inclusive workplaces. 

Yafai said: “It doesn’t matter what size your business is – it’s vital you have an EDI strategy.”

Some charities and voluntary sector organisations feel “they are not big enough to have an EDI strategy” Yafai said, who heads an organisation that helps businesses improve diversity in the workplace.

Be the Riot provides workshops that help organisations create a more inclusive work environment. Nalla said it is important charities check for “gaps that might exist” in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion so they are able to address them. 

Charities must become ‘more diverse as a whole, not just in one department’ 

Yafai said urged charities to “more diverse as a whole, not just in one department”.

He continued: “The role of a good head of diversity is somebody who facilitates because diversity isn’t the role of the head of diversity, their role is to support every other department and departmental head within the organisation to look at creating their own diversity and inclusion strategy.

“The first piece of advice I’d give to any of you is to find out where you are at in terms of good diversity and inclusion practice. Most organisations run off and do different initiatives, some might do reverse mentoring or unconscious bias training, but you really need to know where you are as an organisation.”

He advised members of the audience to use the Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Benchmarks, a free service that it audits a charity and analyses where they are in terms of EDI. 

As someone who has worked on the topic for 21 years, Yafai stated he felt EDI has “moved more in the last three years than I’ve seen in the previous 18.” 

He spoke about the importance of spreading awareness of a charity's cause and objectives. Yafai said: “Share that purpose and I guarantee you that a lot of other people from different backgrounds will be interested in what you have to say.”

When an audience member asked if gender equality is being addressed well by the sector, Yafai simply replied “no” and said race often overshadows other forms of diversity when charities think about EDI. 

Nalla elaborated: “There are more women than men in the charity sector but when you get higher to senior levels that does not continue.”

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