Nonprofit Network Blog

Is Your Organization as Diverse as You Believe It Is?

Wednesday, May 02, 2018 2:41 PM | Deleted user

Katena Cain

Nonprofit Management Consultant

There is a growing body of research regarding the benefits of diverse teams in the areas of organizational performance and problem-solving. In addition, there are some powerful examples of leading nonprofit organizations which successfully utilized diversity to help generate innovative initiatives and services that delivered tangible benefits to their organizations, employees, and communities.

While many of the documented examples of diversity initiatives focus on race and gender, the concept of diversity is broader and encompasses factors including age, culture, personality, skill, training, educational background and life experience. The influence of a variety of perspectives and viewpoints can contribute to flexibility and creativity within organizations, which can help it thrive.

This is where the Nonprofit Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Assessment comes into play.

Nonprofit Network has collaborated with Michigan Nonprofit Association and NEW: Solutions for Nonprofits designed a survey instrument to gauge the perspectives of board and key leadership staff regarding the best practices for diversity, inclusion and equity that the organization has implemented.

Nonprofit Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Assessment is designed to help nonprofit organizations assess their capacity and progress in demonstrating best practices in diversity, inclusion and equity. The underlying assumption of this assessment is that all organizations will move back and forth along a continuum of effectively implementing best practices. Best practices, organizational capacity, diversity, inclusion and equity are complex concepts sensitive to local conditions and subject to multiple interpretations.

The assessment is in two forms: one for board members and one for executives and staff.

The assessment may be used by nonprofit managers, staff, board members, external capacity builders and funders in the following ways:
  • To identify those areas of capacity relative to diversity, inclusion and equity that are strongest and those that need further advancement, which could inform the development of a diversity and inclusion action plan for organizational improvement in this area.
  • To measure changes in an organization's progress towards effectively building and sustaining diversity, cultivating inclusive environments and creating social equity. 
  • To serve as a starting point for discussions among those in the organization by drawing out different views regarding diversity, inclusion and equity. Different responses to the grid among staff, board members and funders, for example, can be a valuable discussion-starter within an organization.

The discussion around Diversity, equity and inclusion is complex, which is why Nonprofit Network is available to facilitate conversations for your board and staff. 

Are you interested in taking the next step? 

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