About Vicky Browning
Vicky Browning has headed up ACEVO, the network of civil society leaders, since February 2017. She joined ACEVO from CharityComms, the membership network for communications professionals in UK charities, where she was director since March 2010.
A former magazine journalist, editor and publisher, Vicky worked at Haymarket Publishing, the UK's largest privately owned publishing company for 16 years during the nineties and noughties. She was publishing director of a host of business titles including Third Sector and ad-industry bible Campaign, as well as spending two years in New York heading the launch team of internet marketing title Revolution US. Vicky then enjoyed six years as an independent publishing consultant, offering management consultancy, product development and marketing services to a range of clients, before joining CharityComms and ACEVO.
CEO of ACEVO – Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations – Vicky Browning, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss leadership networks + ACEVO’s upcoming report on racism in the charity sector.
ACEVO is a network of more than 1,400 CEOs and aspiring chief executives based in the UK. They represent members from organisations across all sizes. They are a charity themselves and aim to ensure the leaders they serve are able to make the most impact possible. They support leaders and, in turn, these leaders inspire their own organisations. ACEVO helps CEOs be the best they can be.
Vicky sheds light on how ACEVO’s members are responding to COVID-19 – a crisis that is stretching many charities to the limit. She notes there are serious concerns and, indeed, demand for charities’ services has gone through the roof. At the same time, many fundraising and income streams have been negatively impacted. Yet, there is much hope and much consideration in the sector for how we can build back better.
ACEVO has actually weathered this pandemic quite well. They have had to shift all their events on to digital platforms but that has led to good engagement. Whereas before they were convening their members through 50 different in-person events annually, now they’re doing approximately four weekly events using digital platforms. Engagement with their members has increased, as have their membership renewal rates. Members see the value of being part of this community of CEOs and aspiring leaders at this time of crisis.
On 17th June 2020, ACEVO have a report on racism coming out called ‘Home Truths’. They have been working on this report for more than a year in conjunction with a partner organisation called ‘Voice for Change England’.
The report looks at racism within the charity sector. Its insight is derived through various sources and methods: by talking to people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds who work in the charity sector; surveying more than 500 people; conducting in-depth interviews with people from diverse backgrounds; and holding roundtable conversations.
Vicky notes that the experiences BAME individuals have while working in the UK charity sector are often not good. This report aims to understand exactly what BAME individuals are experiencing in this sector and how best to address the problems highlighted. The report is called ‘Home Truths’ because it delivers some fairly robust truth to, particularly, white leaders in the sector about how the sector is falling short in areas of equity and inclusion.
Vicky notes the problem is not just an absence of BAME people in the charity sector but, also, that those who are in this sector are often not having a positive experience. She also notes that, historically, organisations serving BAME communities are underserved in the funding arena.
During the podcast she also sheds light on ACEVO’s work and coalitions with other organisations who represent this sector, such as the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF). Interestingly, she notes there is room to explore international coalitions.
Vicky’s key takeaway: As leaders we need to imagine better to create a better world, so let’s not be limited in our imagination for what things could be, let’s think big and then work collectively to move towards achieving some of those bigger, bolder visions.
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