Diversity, equity and inclusion: our language and classifying our data

Heart n Soul

Learn about what language we use when talking about people and communities and how we're using the DEI Data Standard to help us better understand how equitable our funding and funding practices are.

We know that putting people into categories can diminish individual identities and that this is problematic. We want to avoid this as much as possible. So, when describing individuals and communities, we will seek to use the term(s) the individual or community identifies with.

We will use a collective term to refer to inequities across communities. For instance, we will use ‘communities experiencing racial inequity’ to describe people that experience inequity as a result of their race or ethnic group. We will also take an intersectional approach to how we describe people to recognise multiple identities. For example, we will refer to ‘women experiencing racial inequity’.

Classifying our data on organisations and the communities they support

To help us track progress on our commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and ultimately be a better funder, we have adopted the DEI Data Standard to classify our data based on the following:.

  • The communities an organisation is targeting or supporting: by this, we mean that 75%* or more of the people receiving support or are intentionally being targeted share a particular identity or lived experience.
  • An organisation's leadership (the key decision-makers): we define an organisation as being ‘led by’ a particular category when 75% or more of the Board/Management Committee AND 50% of senior staff share a particular identity or experience, where staff exist.
  • An organisation’s mission: by this, we mean any specific groups or communities that are included in your constitution.

* This figure of 75% - or 3 in 4 people - was decided on after working with a wide range of groups. We know this can only be an estimate. Learn more about how the DEI Data Standard was developed below.

Data collection and how we'll use your information

We started collecting DEI data from organisations who apply to our funding in September 2021. We want to use the information we gather to help us identify and address structural inequity. This will also help to inform our funding strategy and ensure our funding practices are accessible, fair and just.

  • All applicants will be asked to complete a DEI monitoring form after submitting an Expression of Interest. They will be able to select what categories and sub-categories apply to their organisation.
  • We will also be sending a DEI monitoring survey to organisations we currently fund to capture information we may not already have.

See a sample DEI monitoring form.

When publishing information about grants we have awarded, for instance on 360Giving's GrantNav, data shared about who the project is supporting, the organisation's leadership and the organisation's mission will be included in the grant details.

What we know so far

We shared our initial analysis of the data we gathered from October 2021 to September 2022 in a report on who our funding is reaching. We will continue to gather data so that we have as accurate a picture of our funding as possible, and will share what we find.

If you have any questions about the data we're gathering or what we're doing to improve our diversity, equity and inclusion, do get in touch by emailing: communications@esmeefairbairn.org.uk.


Will the information I share be used to assess my application?

All applications will be assessed in line with our strategy and our commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion. We will use all the relevant information we have to assess applications - this includes information provided at each stage of the application process, including data shared in the DEI monitoring form.

How have the categories in the DEI form been chosen?

Whilst the form uses a number of specific categories and sub-categories, we know there may be identities or experiences not included. For this reason, we have also included a free text option under ‘lived experience’. And at the end of each section, there is a free text box that can be used to share any other relevant information. Information entered into this box will not be published on any websites or publications about the organisation.

You can read more about how the DEI Data Standard was developed below.

What do you mean by 'lived experience'?

By 'lived experience', we mean the experience of a person or community whereby a social issue, their identity, or combination of issues, has had a direct impact. For example: experience of the criminal justice system, care experience, long-term unemployment.

What if my organisation does not quite meet your definition of being 'led by' a community or group of people with a shared aspect of their identity?

We appreciate that some organisations who consider themselves to be 'led by' and for the community they serve may not quite meet our definition. At the end of each section (including the section on leadership) in the DEI monitoring form, there is a free text box where you can share any other relevant information. So in the leadership section, you can include what lived experience means to your organisation in terms of leadership.

We do also support work that is a strong fit to our strategy where the organisation doesn't meet our definition of 'led by'. However, for areas of our strategy where we want to prioritise work that is shaped by people with lived experience of the issues, we will want to understand how you are engaging, supporting, and compensating those with lived experience to shape the work.

The DEI Data Standard

The DEI Data Standard is a shared framework (taxonomy, application and guidance) to monitor equity considerations in grantmaking, which was developed by 360Giving and The Social Investment Company. It was designed with extensive consultation with a diverse range of specialist infrastructure organisations, organisations working on social justice issues, and the wider sector to try to reflect, as far as possible, how organisations identify themselves.

Jointly commissioned by a group of funders including Esmée, we hope the framework will help us to collect data in a systematic manner, and to gauge how equitable our funding and funding practices are.

Learn more about the DEI Data Standard

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