AFP News

International Women’s Day

womens march

In 2020, the International Women’s Day theme is “let’s each be for equal.”  This simple statement embraces the idea that we all should be a part of building a more gender-equal world.  

Some fundraisers like to think that we are a “woke” industry. We don’t need to do more work on gender equity and racial diversity in our sector. With so many of our working-force identifying as female, we must be “woke” right?


What the Statistics Say

The charitable sector is far from equitable or diverse. Recent surveys and statistics demand that we pay attention.

We have a lot of work to do, and we need every single one of you to help us make it happen.

The Business Case for Equity

So why should this matter to you or your organization?

Equality is not a women's issue. It’s a business issue.

Research has demonstrated, time and time again, that organizations who focus on diversity outperform those who don’t. Gender equity and diversity in the workplace leads to more nuanced decision making that, in turn, leads to better outcomes. Without equity and diversity at the forefront of our decision-making processes, our sector will quickly become outdated and irrelevant. This is not the future I want for our profession and for the people and communities we serve.

“Organizations should do everything they can to make their workplaces more fair—starting with putting best practices in place to get bias out of hiring and promotions. When you take bias out of the equation, women will finally get the equal chance they’ve always deserved. Everyone will.”Sheryl Sandberg & Rachel Thomas

Who Am I?

LizI am pleased to introduce myself to you as the 2020 chair of the AFP Women’s Impact Initiative (WII).  I reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and have been a member of AFP since I started my career in 2004.   I am proud to call myself a fundraiser and as an ardent feminist, I have a passion for women’s rights and am committed to building a more equitable world. 

For those of you who are not aware of WII, this falls under AFP’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) program with a focus on the barriers and challenges facing women in the fundraising profession – many of which were highlighted in the statistics above.

While I’ve listed a number of challenges we face, I feel it is important to also highlight the tremendous accomplishments of the WII project over the last 18 months. Since 2018, the AFP Women’s Impact Initiative has:

  • Conducted ground-breaking research on sexual harassment and gender pay inequity in the fundraising profession;
  • Created new educational materials, including fact sheets, videos, workbooks and webinars, on all aspects of gender equity and equality;
  • Developed new policies and procedures for use by the association and to be used as a model for charities around the world;
  • Launched mentorship, executive coaching, and cultural awareness programs to advance women’s issues;
  • Inspired thousands of women and their allies to stand up, speak out and take action as we work to create a profession that is equitable, inclusive, diverse and effective; and
  • Hosted the inaugural Women’s Impact Initiative Summit in October 2019.

In 2020, the WII Committee and AFP Global are committed to building on this momentum and providing the following resources to the membership:

  • Growing the Alford Group Mentoring Leadership Development Program and adding more education and connection opportunities.
  • Develop complimentary all-member webinars about women’s issues.
  • Develop resources about male allyship.
  • Continue to record and post micro-learnings related to women’s education and issues
  • Conducting surveys around allyship and inclusion, diversity, equity & access.
  • Work with our research partners to delve deeper in the issues addressed in 2018-19, especially harassment.
  • Develop resources that AFP chapters can share with their members.

If you have an interest in learning more about the Women’s Impact Initiative, and what resources we can provide, do not hesitate to reach out to me directly or by contacting Taryn Gold, AFP’s associate vice president for chapter engagement.

2020 promises to be a year of continued change and growth for our profession, and I look forward to working with you all.


Liz LeClair, CFRE
AFP Women’s Impact Initiative

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