Charities have been told that the sector needs to set “clear targets” and hold itself to account in order to make progress on diversity.
Speaking as part of a panel discussion on diversity at the Charity Finance Group’s annual conference, Cordelia Osewa-Ediae, senior consultant at Green Park, said umbrella bodies needed to show more leadership on the issue.
Osewa-Ediae said some initiatives set up by organisations such as the Institute of Fundraising were a positive step but said that the charity sector was lagging behind the private sector in some repects.
She said: “What we don’t do and what makes all of this fall apart time and time again is we don’t hold ourselves to account.
“In the private sector, you have the Hampton-Alexander review that has set a target of a third female representation in boards in FTSE 350 companies and similarly you have the Parker review, which has recommended that you should have at least one ethnic minority board member at FTSE 100 companies by 2020.
“We don’t have any of these in the charity sector so we keep on going round in circles while we are waiting for leaders and for organisations to take the lead and actually set targets.”
She added: “Umbrella organisations like the NCVO, need to step up and actually be the guardians going forward.”
Osewa-Ediae said inclusion was just as important as diversity and warned that ethnic minority charity staff would leave if they did not feel “part of the organisation”.
‘Show me the money’
Becca Bunce, co-director of IC Change, said during the same panel discussion that charities needed to set aside resources to make progress on diversity.
She said: “There is a lot of talk about diversity, we need to have some action. And we really need to talk about finance.
“To have a response to this large structural challenge we need investment, we need resource, we need to be putting in money.
“If you want to response to the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda, show me the money. Because eventually if we do not invest in this and make it part of our strategy and align that with our budget, we cannot respond to it.”
Bunce added that she understands charities are working in a tough financial climate but said it was “even more reason to be looking at this in a strategic way”.