When describing their business models and the values upon which these businesses are founded and conducted, the subject of diversity is currently at the forefront of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. In today’s workplace environment and going forward as well, decisive action is being taken by nonprofits to change the way diversity looks both internally and externally.
The intention may be present but without specific action, diversity becomes just another buzzword devoid of any real substance. Creating a definitive diversity strategy through nonprofit consultation with leadership, board members, staff, and community stakeholders will ensure that your nonprofit contributes to and mirrors the diversity of the community it serves.
Assess the make-up of all the players within your nonprofit and then do the math. What percentage of your directors, managers, and direct service staff reflect a diverse composition based on gender, race, orientation, and ethnicity? What about your board? Do you see a varied representation of demographics that achieves diversity at this level?
And most importantly, the staff members who provide direct services to the community, do they bear a similar reflection to those people who must rely on them and trust them?
Diversity within the people who make up your organization is not just about being bilingual or being a person of color. It is about including folks from all walks of life who bring an enormous array of experience and wisdom to the table so that no matter their background, they provide an effective, heterogeneous foundation of compassion and expertise for the community in which they serve.
Who is living, working, and going to school within the service area of your nonprofit? It is essential to know who they are not only according to their demographics based on race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status but also in what they value and how they may be appropriately engaged to receive support in a kind, dignified manner. Observe perceptions about your reputation and brand awareness in the community as an organization that is rooted in diversity with whom they employ and what populations are served.
Diversity is not just about inclusion. It is about denouncing inequity and intolerance and accepting that in both giving and receiving services all people are welcome and respected.
Where Do You Start?
There are many ways to address and improve the level of diversity in your nonprofit. Some are quickly achieved; others take a bit of time and are open-ended. Here are some ideas to get you started or thinking in this direction:
1. Assess who you serve and what issues you address. Are there diversity gaps that can be narrowed by broadening your scope of services or advocacy?
2. Create a diversity statement to be included in your by-laws and make it visible on your website and in any documentation, both inside and outside the organization.
3. Include diversity as part of your long-term strategic plan. Set goals and evaluate outcomes each year the plan covers.
4. Establish a pipeline of potential leadership, board members, and staff that reflects your commitment to diversity and inclusion.
5. Establish a similar pipeline for volunteers, community partners, and donors to ensure that diversity among these stakeholders is a valuable part of your mission and vision.
6. Create a robust digital marketing strategy that includes your website as well as social media platforms. Utilize photos, videos, and posts that allow your audience to observe your approach to diversity in action.
7. Engage the services of a nonprofit consultant to help you form a needs assessment and subsequent action plan addressing diversity as a priority.
A plan for improving diversity within your nonprofit requires creativity plus commitment, but nothing will be achieved unless the effort is made. The positive outcomes from this initiative will be rooted in this valuable work.
To get started with your diversity plan contact KM Clark, and our experienced nonprofit consultants can help you succeed in being a community leader regarding diversity.