Our equity, diversity and inclusion journey

Our ongoing journey to address equity, diversity and inclusion at Reach Volunteering. 

 

Last updated on 25 November 2021

 

Reach Volunteering is committed to becoming a more diverse, inclusive and equal organisation, and to helping to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in civil society. We have made a start on this journey but we know that we have much more to do, and Reach is committed to keep learning and to be receptive to challenge. 

 

Work to date

 

Internally

Recruitment

Reach changed its recruitment processes in 2019, to focus more rigorously on recruiting against defined attributes. This includes reducing bias at shortlisting stage by anonymising applications, switching from CVs and cover letters to work samples, and scoring using ‘chunking’ and scoring matrices. Questions are now shared before interviews. Irrelevant criteria like degrees are not used and the salary is always advertised. This has led to a more effective, fairer and more inclusive process. 

 

Organisational learning

In order to enhance our EDI capabilities, the board signed off an EDI programme in 2020 with a budget which included:

  • Increasing the diversity of the trustee board
  • Getting a consultant to lead Reach through whole organisation training, and to develop our EDI vision. 

Following a board diversity audit, we agreed to prioritise age, ethnicity and disability in our upcoming board recruitment. We appointed four new trustees in 2021, who increased the diversity of the board in terms of age and ethnicity.  This included the appointment of a trustee with expertise in EDI. 

We appointed Social Justice Collective to support us and they provided training to the whole staff team and board of trustees in two half day workshops on 

  • Power & Privilege​
  • How to have challenging conversations​ about race

They also led a mixed group of staff and trustees through a workshop to develop our EDI vision and Theory of Change. 

In addition, individual team members undertake more individual EDI training such as Fearless Future’s Thinking Outside the box, and workshops in recruiting and retaining a diverse board.  related to their specific areas of work. 

 

Our work

Service

We provide a free, accessible trustee recruitment service that supports boards to recruit openly, and to reach a wide audience of prospective trustees with professional expertise 

Data

We analysed the equality monitoring  data that we currently capture (age, ethnicity and gender) to explore the diversity of trustee applicants and appointees through our service. Our key findings were that applicants are considerably younger, and more likely to be from Black, Asian and other minoritised ethnic backgrounds than trustees in general, and were representative of the wider UK population. However, there is a disparity in outcomes, with applicants under 35 years being the age group least likely to be appointed, and white applicants being almost twice as likely to be appointed as applicants of colour. Our report is here

Resources

In 2021 we launched the Trustee Recruitment Cycle to help charities diversify their boards and recruit in a more inclusive way.  It weaves equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the cycle, and through all the resources which include case studies, templates and guidance 

 

Next steps

In order to build on the learnings from our training sessions and workshop, we have established a core working group, comprised of 7 staff and trustees, to take forward our EDI strategy. The working group’s action plan is designed to focus on the steps needed to embed EDI into our internal culture and external services, and for the first six months (to April 2022) includes: 
 

Foundational benchmarks

DATA; review of internal and equality monitoring data for staff and trustees, and volunteers through our services  

VISION; creation of our D&I vision, values, and theory/theories of change, and the core language needed to communicate this consistently across our internal and external platforms 

 

Building an inclusive culture

Update of our EDI policy, to incorporate refreshed language and vision 

Updating internal complaints procedure

 

Our work

Iterating the Trustee Recruitment Cycle, including updates to our content and case studies 

 

This is a living action plan which will evolve and develop as we do. We commit to reviewing our EDI approach on a regular basis and to sharing updates on our progress each step of the way. 

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