Missed our recent Fundraising Refreshments webinar on incorporating DEI principles into fundraising programs? Check it out:
Inclusive messaging is an important foundational element for any fundraising program, and it’s becoming even more critical with changing demographics across the U.S. Inclusive messaging:
- Addresses unconscious bias
- Avoids “otherizing” and exploitation
- Aligns with your beliefs and value
This ensures that no one in your audience feels left out, which allows the message to reach more people and create a bigger impact.
You may have heard of unconscious bias before, but what does it mean?
Unconscious bias is the underlying attitudes and stereotypes we all have, which influences our understanding and decision making. It is perpetuated through repetition and reinforcement of stereotypes and assumptions accumulated over one’s lifetime. Race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, disability or other distinctions that identify unique characteristics in someone can all influence how that person experiences and interprets something.
A common saying often heard is “I was blind to what was going on.” This can be harmful to someone with vision impairment and implies that blindness means ignorance.
Once we’re open to recognizing unconscious bias, it’s much easier to understand that the ways we choose to communicate can be interpreted differently, depending on someone’s background and experience. We can combat unconscious bias in fundraising with inclusive messaging.
Inclusive messaging can be thought of in these four broad ways:
- Perspective: Seeing a situation through someone else’s eyes, being able to walk in their shoes and accept their reality.
- Tolerance: Understanding that not everyone shares the same perspective. We need to be respectful of all individuals and groups. This is diversity in practice.
- Vulnerability: The knowledge that any one of us could find ourselves in a difficult situation and that we're all vulnerable to things that are out of our control.
- Togetherness: A sense of belonging. Giving dignity and respect to all members of the community, so that everyone feels welcome.
Keeping these four points in mind is important when crafting an inclusive fundraising appeal. As nonprofits, we want everyone to feel heard.
The video above is a recording of the recent Fundraising Refreshments webinar on this topic. Watch it to learn more about how to incorporate DEI principles into fundraising and reinforce your organization's values through inclusive messaging.