President's Perspective Blog

The Legacy of MLK: Being Vocal and Taking Action

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Martin Luther King Jr.

Yesterday, the United States and other countries honored and remembered the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

There are others who will speak far more eloquently than me about Dr. King and his impact, and I would recommend to you the statement from Dr. Bernice A. King with The King Center in Atlanta. 

But no matter what we say, what matters more is what we do. And AFP continues to work towards the goal of a more just, fair and equitable fundraising profession and nonprofit sector that will, in turn, help create a more just, fair and equitable society. 

Our work is guided by our statement of principles related to IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access), as well as our official board policy related to IDEA. I encourage you to read these documents, especially our board policy, which concludes:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT AFP will lead our sector in achieving inclusion, diversity, equity and access by taking continuous, quantifiable actions, dedicated to these goals, throughout AFP governance; leadership and staff; chapters; committees; membership; volunteers; and, programs and activities.

We have done a lot of work in creating more equitable, accessible and inclusive practices related to our governance, volunteer and board recruitment processes; our staff hiring process; selection of speakers and presenters at our events; and our use of images and language. 

There is still so much to be done. This article, based on research from BoardSource, underscores just how far we have to go in terms of representation and leadership within the nonprofit sector. And our collaborative IDEA Survey, the first comprehensive survey of IDEA practices within the fundraising workplace, demonstrates the challenges that so many fundraisers face every day with respect to bias, bullying, discrimination, harassment and more. 

This year, with data from the IDEA Survey, as well as our Workplace Climate Reports conducted in partnership with researchers at The Ohio State University, will be developing tools and resources for chapters to use in addressing and advancing IDEA in their own communities. We are also examining, with our IDEA Survey partners, the possibility of holding an IDEA Summit to gather IDEA-related resources together and create plans to address these issues more fully across the profession. 

And, of course, there is still so much that each of us can do as individuals at our own organizations. Dr. King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

I think the fundraising profession has always been vocal about the things that matter. After all, that’s the goal of fundraising, to ensure that people come together and have their voices heard. To create impact that changes the world. 

But we can’t just wait for organizations and charities that specifically work on IDEA issues and others to address these problems. Advancing IDEA will never happen without all of us being vocal. 

Let’s continue to be vocal and ensure our voices are heard—by taking action, individually, organizationally and sector-wide. No matter your title, your experience, your race or ethnicity or any other factor, we all have a role to play in helping Dr. King’s vision become a reality. 

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19 Sep 2022 President's Perspective Blog
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