An Open Letter to FashionRevolution on the Importance of Compensating Strategic & Critical Volunteers
Dear Fashion Revolution,
My name is Madhur Dutta. I am from India and I write a personal blog called "A Vivid Life" where I document my exploration of sustainable fashion in my life.
After careful consideration, counsel, and attempts to reach you privately, I have decided to write an open-letter to you to initiate a conversation on the lack of compensation of strategic and critical roles at Fashion Revolution. This is mainly based on my conviction that this attribute about your organization should be public knowledge. This conviction is based on the awareness that many of your supporters would find this to be a troubling and conflicting double-standard, just as I have, and one that needs to be discussed/addressed.
I want to start by saying, Fashion Revolution and the work done by all those involved has been an instrumental part of my journey with sustainable fashion. On multiple occasions, the growth and learning in my life has come from initiatives taken within your organization. I have been lucky to get to know some of the most passionate and thoughtful people either directly or indirectly through the work done within your organization. For this reason, I have been extremely disappointed to learn that strategic roles such as country coordinators are not paid for their effort and time (https://thegreenhubonline.com/2018/04/20/meet-melinda-tually-the-inspiring-coordinator-for-fashion-revolution-australia-new-zealand/).
I understand that running a not-for-profit organization has its own set of challenges that complicate compensation. I am hoping that you have thought about this before and have either considered or are attempting to make a shift. I’m assuming that you are also aware of the arguments made by thought leaders and experts from the not-for-profit sector on the importance of paying volunteers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfAzi6D5FpM).
Further, I hope you will understand that since one of the major reasons people like me support your organisation is owing to your work around compensation, I expect your organisation to lead the way. To show corporations that if approached with a sincere intent, fair compensation can be part of your strategy and decision making and it need not impact your organisations performance. If Fashion Revolution cannot do the right thing and build fair compensation into their strategy and decision making, I can no longer consider them an authority to be advocating this to others.
I am confident that if you talk about this challenge with your supporters in a candid and transparent manner, you will learn that many others find this conflicting, as I do. You will also find that they will be more than willing to help you overcome this challenge. I think giving your supporters the option to channelize their donations towards the compensation of coordinators is a fairly simple solution and can be a good place to start.
I am hoping that Fashion Revolution proves to be an organization that is equally receptive to receiving feedback and actionizing it as it has been in driving it with other corporations.
Looking forward to a formal response on this.