Blackout Tuesday

Actions Speak Louder than DEI Corporate Pledges

Remember black out Tuesday? Remember how many corporations and nonprofits hopped on that bandwagon, pledging to do better with racial equality? Those were some inspiring times! We even published a piece on what we’d commit to at Media Cause. Fast forward a full eight months – what actions have companies all actually taken? What organizations have spoken out about the uptick in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders?

Well, some really nice person on the internet compiled the list of Fortune 100 Companies, the concrete actions they wanted to take, and what, if anything, has come from their pledges here

Spoiler alert: 24% of the companies on this list have not publicly made any moves. 

Promises like this can’t just be lip service.

In June, we took a pledge to focus on not only diversity but transparency in how we’re approaching our objectives and key results (OKR) with any and all DEI measures. We made the choice to publish our OKRs (objectives + key results), along with quarterly status updates, publicly to hold ourselves and our industry accountable. 

We now have a DEI committee who’s reviewed our vendor list, ensuring we’re supporting diverse, responsible companies, and is serving as a gut check for all culture/social activities going forward to keep us accountable.

We’ve also completed two all-staff diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings focusing on bias and taking a look at how we as an agency can do a better job with internal bias. We wanted to specifically focus on when it comes to the hiring process, as well as taking an objective look as to how inclusive we come across in our digital presence. We’re committed to continuing this effort into 2021 and beyond.

Most exciting of all, we’ve started a paid Media Cause RiseUP Fellowship focusing on giving an opportunity to populations that the marketing and advertising world has traditionally overlooked.  Our first 3 Fellows were incredible (working in Google Ad Grants, Social Media, and paid advertising)—and we were fortunate enough to hire two of them. These positions are fully integrated into our teams, giving our Fellows top-of-the-line industry training, allowing them to focus on their specialty, as well as get experience working with a wide range of experts and clients. (Read about the details and perks of the RiseUP Fellowship here.)

This program is more than just a DEI effort. It’s a win for small nonprofits, too. Once our Fellows complete their training, they begin work with pro bono clients who can use the marketing help. The nonprofits get the help they need, our Fellows get the experience they deserve, and it sets everyone up for success in the future, at Media Cause, or beyond.

While we’re proud of the strides we’ve made in the past eight months, we know there’s still plenty of work to be done. Our next round of applications for the RiseUP Fellowship just closed and we received hundreds of applications. Since Media Cause can’t hire everyone, we’re looking for agency partners to host additional Fellows, find more nonprofits who need support. 

At your organization, what actions have been taken? What have you found successful and what’s been lip service? We are in this to learn and grow together, so if you have any nuggets of wisdom, we want to hear them.

P.S. Interested in getting involved in RiseUP as a partner or mentor? Drop us a line.