How we raise and spend our organisation´s money provides opportunities to improve the equality and human rights of the people we work with and for.
Fundraising activities range from funding applications to campaigns for donations, events to bidding for contracts. These are all opportunities to:
- raise money to directly or indirectly support action on equality and human rights
- fund a specific equality and human rights objective
- communicate your equality and human rights values.
When applying for grants or bidding for contracts, remember to budget for the activities that help achieve your equality and human rights priorities. Many organisations don’t budget for these costs – even though they budget for all other aspects of their activity.
Fundraising is also key in communicating the value of your work – and the values that inform this work. Fundraising activities carry carefully prepared messages about your work designed to appeal to specific target audiences. An equality and human rights focus in your fundraising can differentiate your organisation and strengthen the attractiveness of your call for support. It can also make funders think more critically about the equality and human rights impacts of the work they fund.
One: Build equality and human rights into your budgeting process.
Example: a humanitarian agency routinely budgets for truck hire to distribute aid to refugees. A survey identifies that aid is not reaching some of the people who need it most: disabled refugees. In future funding budgets, the agency includes the costs of targeted distribution by local disabled people´s organisations.
Example: a charity reviews its annual budget through an equality lens. It discovers that core funding is available for strategic objectives that don’t relate to equality, while objectives that relate to equality have to rely disproportionately on external fundraising. There is no objective business reason for this. The Board agrees a business case for re-balancing the use of core funding across all strategic objectives.
Example: an organisation bids for money to hold a national conference. Their budget includes bursaries to cover childcare and travel costs for participants from traditionally under-represented and disadvantaged BAME groups, and on low incomes. It includes a contingency amount to cover BSL interpreting and other access costs which may be needed.
Two: Ensure the images and messages used in your fundraising materials match your equality and human rights values.
- Assess the images and messages used in your fundraising materials against equality and human rights criteria. For example, do they show that your organisation cares about all parts of the community? Do they show people’s humanity, agency and potential? Do they talk about people’s rights – not just their needs?
- If necessary develop images and messages that meet these criteria to include in your fundraising materials.
Example: an organisation looks at recent fundraising campaigns. They often use images that show people as helpless, passive recipients of charity. It decides in future to only use images consistent with their human rights values – and emphasise people’s humanity, dignity and equal worth.
Three: Prepare reports of your achievements in equality and human rights for use with funders and in your fundraising work.
Your fundraising supports action on equality and human rights.
- Fundraising materials contain explicit human rights and equality messages
- Staff responsible for budgeting and fundraising are committed to, and confident using, an equality and human rights perspective.
Community and voluntary organisations have significant purchasing power – use this to further your equality and human rights goals.
This does not cost anything extra, but makes use of the power you already have to create change. From buying biscuits, to commissioning a consultant, to tendering for IT or other services, you can build equality and human rights into how you spend money.
Formal procurement processes can be used to specify equality and human rights related activities, outputs and outcomes to be delivered and set standards for how services are provided. You can then assess bidders’ proposals against these criteria and hold them to account through the contract.
A specification or contract can create a neutral environment. It helps you avoid the resistance to anything equality or human rights-related that occurs in some organisations. If it’s in the specification, the provider will include it in their bid. And once appointed, they’ll generally do it as specified without arguments over whether it’s really necessary (though as with all contracts you still need to monitor progress, delivery and standards). Conversely, if it’s not in the specification, they won’t – so be clear and specify your requirements upfront.
One: Make the money you spend have social benefit.
- Buy from local sources that create local employment
- Switch from brand-name tea, coffee and biscuits for meetings to Fair Trade ranges
- Only hire accessible venues. Use venues run by community organisations to generate income.
Two: Work with suppliers who share your values.
- Ask suppliers and contractors for their equality and human rights policy – and for evidence of how they put it into practice.
- Check if your suppliers have any findings against them of breaches of equality and human rights legislation in the last two years.
Three: Build delivery of equality and human rights standards and priorities into specifications, contracts and KPIs. Ask bidders to show how they will meet these criteria.
Example: an organisation tenders for delivery partners to provide one-to-one support to people with mental health problems. It includes the requirement that the service uses a human rights-based approach, and trains and monitors staff on the use of this approach.
Example: an organisation buys a new client database. The specification requires that this system meet recognised accessibility standards for staff with visual and physical impairments – and that it is developed and tested with users with these impairments.
Example: an organisation selects a recruitment agency for senior staff hires. It includes a criteria that providers take steps to produce high quality, diverse candidate pools. It assesses providers against that criteria, and includes a performance indicator in the contract.
Four: Develop a framework for your organisation to consistently build delivery on equality and human rights into its procurement and contracting activity.
Your purchase of goods and services supports action on equality and human rights.
- Delivery on equality and human rights is built into procurement and contracts.
NIHRC guidance on procurement, Northern Ireland
Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Building Equality and Diversity into Commissioning and Procurement Guidance (pdf)