Chapter Spotlight

AFP Chapter Spotlight: AFP Canada South

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AFP CA South

FRANÇAIS

The AFP Canada South Chapter was incorporated in 2001 and serves the area of Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton, and Windsor-Essex in southwestern Ontario. For this chapter spotlight, we asked them to share the highlights from their new 21-Day Equity Challenge, a program designed to educate members about various aspects of IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and access).

Q: What is the 21-Day Equity Challenge?
A: The 21-Day Equity Challenge was an email campaign to chapter members, which provided resources to educate members on how inequity, racism, and discrimination affect our lives and communities, and what we can do to improve equity and inclusion.

Throughout the challenge period, which for us ran from March 8, 2024 – April 5, 2024, we sent chapter members an email every workday. These emails contained links to videos and articles with further information about a specific equity and social justice-related topic. The challenge was for members to spend a small amount of time each day to develop a deeper understanding of some ways inequity and racism impact equity-deserving groups in our communities, and specifically for our members to think about how this may relate to conversations or actions with volunteers, staff, and donors.

Q: How did your chapter come up with the 21-Day Equity Challenge? 
A: The 21-Day Equity Challenge has been implemented in several markets across North America. One of our AFP members, through the City of Windsor, experienced a 21-Day Equity Challenge first-hand that was designed for employees to participate in during 2023. We utilized the base concept of the challenge and localized the content to ensure the material would relate to AFP Canada South Chapter members. We adapted relevant topics to include inclusivity, diversity, equity, access, and anti-racism as it reflects community partners and charitable organizations that we engage with each and every day.  

Q: Can you tell us about the implementation of the project? 
A: There were a few AFP Canada South Chapter board members who led discussions and creation of this version of the 21-Day Equity Challenge, in partnership with local chapter member organizations. Resources for the daily emails were found on various websites and YouTube channels. Several video clips were found on Ted Talk and articles found on Google.

Q: What types of topics were included in the daily emails and how were they structured? 
A: For the email topics, we wanted to cover a broad range of equity issues. Emails typically would include an introduction, links to a few resources, and a takeaway or something to consider, so members could contemplate how the topic impacted their daily life. We included the length of the video next to the links as well, so people could see it was a relatively short time commitment and something that would be easily digestible in their morning routine.

Here are a few of the topics covered in the email series:

  • Systemic racism in Canada
  • Unconscious and implicit bias
  • White privilege 
  • Micro-aggressions
  • Being an ally 
  • The disability community 
  • Intersectionality 
  • Ageism
  • Gender and sexuality discrimination 
  • Religious discrimination


Q: How did members respond to the program? Were they engaged with the emails? 
A: The open rate on emails was 81% and engagement was strong. They certainly were interested, as members indicated they shared the content with fellow staff members, allowing the experience to generate further positive outcomes and continued discussions within the member organizations.

Q: Did the program accomplish your goals? 
A: Yes, several goals were met through this program. This program was only one step in a continual learning process to grow and try to be more inclusive, equitable, kind, and just citizens. We all have biases, we all can make mistakes, but acknowledging and learning from our missteps, and mindfully working to be better allies who lead with actions rather than words, is the goal. We are reminded that genuine corporate and community change requires the actions and dedication of many.

Q: Do you have any advice for chapters who are interested in creating a similar program? 
A: We wholeheartedly recommend that a program similar to the 21-Day Equity Challenge be created and shared with chapter members. This challenge will help all people develop a deeper understanding of race, equity, and our collective role in improving our communities, to demonstrate that we are committed to the change that starts from within and reaches through our families, friend groups, professional networks, organizations, and community-wide actions. As for advice, it is time we take a closer look at the inequities that are deeply rooted in our systems and institutions. We need to work together to create a stronger connected AFP community whereby every individual has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and identity.

Q: Is this something that you would repeat again next year? If so, was there anything that you would change or improve in future efforts? 
A: Yes, AFP Canada South Chapter would consider repeating the 21 Day Equity Challenge because the members that took the time to devote themselves to this learning experience found it worthwhile and enlightening. We will continue to research articles, videos, and testimonials as it relates to the fundraising profession and explore some difficult topics, like structural racism, segregation, and privilege, to open up dialogue on how we can be champions of equity in our personal and professional lives. We encourage all AFP members to find comfort in the discomfort and realize that you can make a difference. You just have to care, be more aware, take action when needed, and communicate from a place of kindness and courage.
 

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