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Much of sector struggling to move beyond tokenism when working with marginalised groups, fundraiser

Much of the sector is “still finding it difficult to move beyond tokenistic gestures” when it comes to centring the voices of marginalised groups and the communities it works with, fundraisers have heard.

Jaden Osei-Bonsu, programme manager at the leadership development community interest company the Centre for Knowledge Equity, told delegates at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s annual convention that the sector needed to shift power to the communities it supported, rather than telling them how to solve their problems.

Speaking at the online convention during an event focusing on how to be an ally to marginalised groups, Osei-Bonsu also called for larger charities to think about how they could work in genuine partnership with grassroots organisations which allowed them to lead programmes, rather than simply advising.

“Historically with the charity sector, fundraising usually puts communities in a position where they are being researched or people are trying to tell them what is going to solve their problems,” Osei-Bonsu said, adding that the conversation should be about shifting power to communities with direct experience of the issues being addressed.

“The sector loves to use key terms like 'asset-based', 'co-produce' and 'lived experience', but I find the majority are still finding it difficult to move beyond tokenistic gestures towards a more meaningful space.”

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