Donation Screening at ESA

ESA has always and will continue to support any and all gender identities. Full stop.

ESA is an event in which we want every runner to be comfortable. While a runner can choose their couch, they can not choose their donation reader, and donation readers do not choose what is passed to them from screening. For this reason we have robust safeguarding around incoming messages.

In our fundraising handbook trans rights are not listed as a “political matter”. There was an unfortunate miscommunication to this effect during an informal conversation between volunteers in a private channel, for which we apologise. Guidelines do exist covering how such donations should be handled, which will be explained next.

This handbook asks that no message should be approved that implies that either the runner or ESA endorses a particular viewpoint on current affairs or social issues. This text was introduced as part of “lessons learned” from events in the period of 2017-19 and has stood directly on the donation page since 2020. Protected characteristics are particularly sensitive areas and are specifically highlighted in the full handbook. Maintaining focus on the run and charity cause at hand has been a success and has reduced posthumous runner complaints about unwelcome or intrusive messages to zero.

Even a superficially positive message can be harmful. Not everybody wants a spotlight shone on, for example, their sexuality, politics, homeland or gender. This is a key tenet of respect for personal space, especially among those who may be questioning, are political or war refugees, or have a past hidden trauma.

ESA shows support to LGBT attendees through action where it counts the most. We have a robust screening policy for every runner, commentator and volunteer coming to ESA. Through this process we make sure there are no unwelcome attitudes shown from volunteers or in the stream room. This is real, difficult work that has made a difference in the past few years.

We are always listening and evolving based on feedback. Please reach out to one of the organisers if you’d like to discuss anything about this further. The easiest way to reach us is emailing, but you may also find any of us personally via the Discord profiles linked on the team page.

We look forward to kicking off the show next week with all of you. Our focus remains clear – reach a new fundraising record for research into the fight against Alzheimer’s. See you there.