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Equity-Driven Fundraising and Marketing: Building an Authentic EDI Lens

October 26, 2021 @ 3:00 pm 4:00 pm CDT


As fundraisers and marketers, we can play a powerful role in dismantling racism. Our messages influence our communities. Our language can help shape policy. Our words carry currency. How we talk about it matters. Every philanthropic and nonprofit organization has an extraordinary opportunity and responsibility to do better. Frankly, society’s need for many of the programs and services provided by the human-serving sector stems from systemic racism. Until we name that, we cannot create the real and lasting change with families and communities that our mission statements loftily promise.

For an organization to put equity at the center of its mission, values, and leadership, it must look deeply into all aspects of agency operations—including fundraising and marketing. Guided by two expert fundraising and marketing professionals, this webinar will candidly explore how the language of fundraising, use of illustrations, and characterizations of clients can contribute to their marginalization and oppression. We also will discuss strategies and tactics that likely reinforce negative attitudes by donors towards those in the community served. Special emphasis will be given to the problems that have been perpetuated because of the overwhelming lack of diversity among professionals in the field, evident in the majority percentage of fundraisers who are white (79%).

Topics for discussion will include:

  • Moving to community-centric instead of donor-centric fundraising
  • Honoring clients’ life experiences and hard work in partnering with organizations and donors
  • Hiring fundraising and marketing staff of color proportionate to communities served
  • Using language, illustrations, and photos that honor and represent our communities
  • Involving the whole organization and board members in supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Authentically engaging with all organizations in the community, particularly the NAACP, Urban League, LGBT centers, and other local or regional groups
  • Implementing a sample list of effective steps to avoid a repeat the failures described in the 1968 Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (i.e., the Kerner Commission Report)
  • Talking with funders about supporting equity in your community with their investment

The presenters will share the knowledge gained from their experiences in highly diverse communities. All have made strides toward greater equity, diversity, and inclusion in their organizations and will offer practical solutions. Both are white leaders who are committed to using their voices and their privilege to become better allies.

Participants will be encouraged to share their stories of success, however large or small. The presenters will invite questions throughout the session to ensure there is clarity and a diversity of ideas for solutions discussed. A custom toolkit of action items, checklists, and tips to advance equity in marketing and fund development will be distributed.

This presentation is sponsored by the Alliance-COA’s Fundraising, Marketing, and Communications Peer Exchange, which serves as a place to make connections, share ideas, and ask questions among professionals working in fund development, marketing, communications, and public relations. Participants in this community also have access to a comprehensive library of resources, including a variety of materials on multiple topics designed to assist with creating a fund development plan, engaging board members in fundraising, building a brand strategy, and staying current with ever-changing digital trends, among many other vital fundraising, marketing, and communications functions.

What You’ll Take Away

  • Resources for beginning your own EDI journey and centering your work through an EDI lens, including opportunities to consider how you have or plan to abandon stereotypes in your communications and how to have honest conversations with donors about racism
  • A deeper understanding of the critical role organizational communications play in shaping the perceptions of the organization held by clients, philanthropic donors, contracting entities, public and private marketing partners, and the public
  • Appreciation for the corrective actions needed for stereotypes among clients and these stakeholders
  • Awareness of fundraising, marketing, and communications’ role and responsibility in ensuring authentic EDI engagement across the organization; these include assessments, services, outreach, and especially staffing representative of the makeup of the community, e.g., POC, API, indigenous peoples, First Americans, LGBTQAI+

Who Should Join

  • Chief development officers
  • Fund development staff
  • Marketing staff
  • Chief executives
  • COOs
  • Board members


Len Iaquinta

Leonard P. Iaquinta
Len Iaquinta’s Excellence in Communications Inc.

Len Iaquinta is a career fundraiser of millions of dollars in major gifts, grants, and periodic funds. Recognized as a strategic thinker, he is passionate about improving the culture of philanthropy. He augments the performance of nonprofit organizations in fund development and public communication. Iaquinta advises the Nonprofit Development Certificate Programs of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and teaches six-hour modules. He often presents regional and national workshops. Iaquinta is a past two-term board member and a 20-year member of the steering committee of the Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Peer Exchange of Alliance-COA.

Following study at Northwestern University (B.S.J.) and Columbia University in the City of New York (M.S.J.), he joined the Academy for Educational Development in New York City. There he raised funds from the U.S. government and private foundations and staffed projects including the reporting of human behavior, minority recruitment into journalism, and higher education management.

He led the United Way of his hometown and devoted 30 years to successful university fundraising and alumni programming at his alma maters and public campuses. As a board member and officer, he has led human development services agencies to improve their philanthropic performance and enhance their public reputations during his 52-year career. Iaquinta has been a leader in the LGBTQAI+ community since 1971.

Jocelyn Mourning

Jocelyn Mourning
Vice President of Advancement
The Family Conservancy

Jocelyn Mourning is a fundraising and communications expert focused on helping children grow up in healthy communities with thriving families so they may experience well-being throughout their lives. She is passionate about Kansas City families and was born and raised in the KC Metro. Mourning has been overseeing the increasingly successful fundraising events, grants, and other donor relations at The Family Conservancy, a 140-year-old nonprofit, since 2012.

She holds a fundraising certificate from the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Missouri – Kansas City’s Bloch School of Management, is a CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive), and also has marketing and sales experience in the for-profit sector. Mourning is co-chair of the Fundraising, Marketing, and Communications Alliance-COA Peer Exchange Group core team.