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  • Writer's pictureFrances Roen

Inclusive Conversations: Frances Roen, Fundraising Sol

Welcome to Inclusive Conversations! Once a month, we'll talk with our partners about the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in their organizations. For our first post, we'll start with ourselves and our founder, Frances Roen of Fundraising Sol.

What does DEI mean/look like/feel like to you?

From a very young age, I was always cognizant of when someone was being excluded: from a friend group, from a conversation, from an activity in the classroom. I was, and still am, an inclusive person by nature, always looking for ways to stretch the circle wider. I hate seeing anyone on the outside looking in. I want everyone to feel a part of the group, to know that they add value, and are important. It's probably why when I go into my son's school conferences with his teacher, the most important question I have is "Is he kind? Is he accepting? How does he treat people?" I hope that when people are around me, and by extension - when organizations partner with Fundraising Sol - that they feel seen, heard, included and valued for their whole selves and the expertise and lived experiences they bring to the table.

Describe how Fundraising Sol's work has been enhanced by a team of diverse people from diverse places and life experiences.

Oh wow! Fundraising Sol has been a group effort from the beginning. I've been so fortunate to know, work with, and learn from some of the most talented people who have expertise in areas way outside my comfort zone. Having a team of diverse contributors enables us to provide our clients with expert guidance in things like federal funding, marketing and design, strategic planning, and more. Plus, work is way more fun when everyone gets to bring and be their unique selves!

Tell us about one or two specific things that Fundraising Sol has done to promote diversity, equity and/or inclusion? Fundraising Sol is a vibrantly woman-owned and led consulting company. Growing up in the South, I was taught a very specific definition of what a "woman" looked like, dressed like, how a woman presented, acted, and thought. In full transparency, moving away from that and toward an inclusive and intersectional definition of "woman" happened much later in life then I'm proud to admit. At Fundraising Sol, we are committed to hiring, amplifying, and recommending women - the most inclusive and broad definition - as contributors to our projects. We also just started offering a discount on our interim development and campaign services to women and BIPOC-led organizations.

What is the biggest myth or misconception about DEI that you'd like to bust?

Using "it's difficult" as an excuse for why your hiring practices, board, staff, compensation, policies, donors etc. etc. etc. aren't as diverse, equitable, inclusive as you'd like. I'm a firm believer that it is actually much easier to do the right thing, than to continue to do the wrong one - to make endless excuses, to "hem and haw" about why things are too hard to change, to think of new ways to exclude people - that's exhausting, that's difficult. It's emotionally-draining for the person(s) doing the excluding and the one(s) being excluded. Be courageous. Do the work. You'll feel better (and our community will be better) for it.

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