June Steward poses some uncomfortable questions
Although not new, the concept of white saviourism is now an ethical dilemma that has reared its head again for fundraisers.
At the heart of it is the question: how can we fundraise without encouraging white saviour narratives?
This assumes you accept the white saviour narrative is a real problem — which not all fundraisers do. I know many fundraisers have struggled and argued over fundraising language, portrayal of beneficiaries and pushed back against making the donor the hero. But recent public discourse on decolonisation and white privilege have pushed white saviourism in fundraising into an issue that goes beyond how we communicate with donors. If you agree that white saviourism causes harm — and again, not all fundraisers do — then this is an issue that requires systemic change. Tinkering with our fundraising messages alone will not solve it. In isolation, it would likely only result in lower income, which doesn’t help anybody.
In this article, I hope to highlight some of…