Defining Membership

Being an ally is inherently about making a commitment to become more conscious and behave with more integrity. Defining the characteristics of an "ally" is already difficult, and adding questions about membership in an allyship group makes things even more complicated. Some questions to ponder below as well as suggestions on moving forward.

to Pledge or not to pledge

■ Should members need to make some kind of pledge?
■ Can a pledge be private or must it be public?

■ Once they pledge, should they be held accountable in some way?

Having an official commitment pledge helps make clear to both aspiring allies and others in the community what allyship means in your context. Use both the existing commitments resources and also host a smaller version of the Town-hall brainstorm event in which underrepresented folks in the workplace community create their own list of allyship requests.

The upside of having the pledge be public is that it invites that person to be more accountable; the downside is that if people are publicly designated allies, but they don't act like it, the allyship program is greatly diminished (additionally, some people who otherwise might get involved with the program but who just are more introverted might decline).

Member value proposition

Defining membership of an allyship group is tricky. Participants get value for joining, but it's not totally straightforward since the point of joining is not to enhance participants careers, provide participant support, or offer members social activities (though those may be incidental outcomes).

The point is to make the community more inclusive for everyone, and support peers who face challenges that participants don't face. That being said, for those who want to become more inclusive leaders, these allyship groups provide great support and educational resources.