NPC has made a commitment to embed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into all aspects of our work. Following on from recent blogs about our internal operations at NPC and our work with charities, philanthropists and funders, this blog sets out how we have also been embedding DEI across our events work.
At our Rethink, Rebuild launch event earlier in 2021, Joe Ferns of the Baobab Foundation asked ‘what are we doing right now that perpetuates or challenges inequalities? Because it’s one or the other.’ At NPC, we offer practical insights and facilitate conversations about charity sector best practice among those with and without power and resources. Diversity, equity and inclusion is central to these ideas and conversations, and we are working hard to ensure this is reflected in our events programme.
Over the past year, involvement in DEI discussion groups, accessibility training sessions and self-reflection have emphasised to our team how complex DEI issues are, yet how vital it is that DEI is a priority. It is important that we listen to others outside of NPC to inform our decision-making, and although we are making good steps towards embedding DEI in our events programme, on our journey we haven’t always got it right. We hope that the small but crucial steps we have taken enable NPC and our events to continue to help transform the social sector.
We are proud to host over 50 events a year, convening those within and outside the charity sector, and we value all our speakers who share their time and expertise at these events. In an effort to ensure diversity in our speaker line-up, for a long time we have been committed to including diversity of ethnic groups, of charity size, and of charity location at all our events. In particular, we strive to avoid male only or White person only panels. Plus, as part of our speaker fee policy, we offer payment for speaking at our events, which may include a donation to charity or a gift in kind, to speakers where there is a barrier to participation.
We are committed to improving the diversity of our audiences. To help achieve this, NPC offers a bursary scheme across all our events to small charities, ethnic minority charities of all sizes and ethnic minority representatives from charities of all sizes. We also now share recordings of many of our online events on our YouTube channel, thus broadening our reach to those with differing schedules and commitments.
Some changes have been quick to implement, others require more time, as we need to first better educate ourselves about our available options in order to make the right decisions. For example, when using Zoom, all our events now include the option of subtitles, our events sign-up forms offer help to those with accessibility requirements, and we have altered the time and duration of our events to suit different audience groups. It will come as no surprise that the pandemic accelerated our programme of online events. What is a surprise is how this shift increased our geographical reach, with attendees tuning in to our events from Europe, Asia and Africa. We are really pleased that our events programme is now less London-centric and we will continue to offer online events once in person events are again possible. We are currently exploring how we approach this.
While we have held DEI focussed events in the past, for some time we have found it more useful to embed DEI across all our event topics, highlighting how this issue intersects with so many other ideas and challenges in our sector. For example, our ‘Rebalancing data for the 21st century’ event last year focussed on shifting traditional third sector evaluation and measurement practices towards a more equitable approach. Also, at our annual conference this year, NPC Ignites, DEI will be discussed during various sessions, meaning that DEI concerns will be discussed through a variety of lenses, such as growing inequality in the UK and the impact of the climate crisis on different communities around the world.
Looking to the future, there is still more to be done on our externally facing work. We are keen to widen our networks and feature an even broader range of voices at our events and on our blog. Do you have a great story to tell or are you passionate about an issue affecting the charity sector? Get in touch and pitch us your blog idea. Plus, we host a wide range of events from seminars for trustees to topical debates, and we are always on the lookout for great speakers. If this sounds like you, do get in touch. In addition to this, please share our bursary scheme with those who you think could benefit. In the meantime, we are working hard on NPC Ignites, coming up in October, and we hope you can join us to further discuss diversity equity and inclusion in our sector.