White Development Staffers and Allies

It is essential for those on the ground to be an active part of the solution, beyond simply “not being part of the problem.” White development staffers and allies’ perspective, as peers to development professionals of color, is crucial in shedding light on entrenched patterns of attitudes and behaviors. And while your voice should not supplant that of fundraisers’ of color in speaking up about these problems, you have a critical role in validating their perspective and helping it get truly heard.

  • Pay attention to how fundraisers of color are treated (by inclusion, exclusion or relegation of role) in mixed-race scenarios, and do your part to create more equity at the table. Make room by speaking less, highlighting the voices of people of color, and, to the extent you can, steering white people in the room who overspeak to do the same.
  • Open your circle of influence to include development professionals of color, especially if you notice that they are underrepresented within your existing networks:
    • Mentorship: Offer to connect development professionals of color to colleagues who are interested in supporting other fundraisers as colleagues.
    • Fellowship: Do all development staffers have the opportunity to be introduced and networked with people other than their supervisor or manager? Are they encouraged to connect with industry peers and build community with leaders in the field? If not, help promote community - building within your department, your mission area, and your partner organizations and any other sector cohorts.
    • Allyship: To help make professional allyship more visible, begin normalizing it within your professional networks by broadening inclusionary practices. Invite fundraisers of color in your proximity to industry events where networking is the purpose and goal. To foster community-building, speak with your colleagues in professional associations who are attuned to diversity, equity and inclusion about best practices in allyship.
  • Support development professionals of color by validating – to them, to executive staff, to HR, to development supervisors – when you see instances of implicit bias and microaggressions occur. But be sure to respect staff of color’s judgement about how they want to deal with a particular situation.

Return to the list of Recommendations


  • NYCT
  • JP Morgan
    JP Morgan
  • NYC 276
    NYC 276
  • Altman
  • Kramer Levin
  • Robinhood
  • William Casper Graustein
    William Casper Graustein
  • The New York Women's Foundation

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