What do these three words mean to you?
What do they mean to your board, staff, donors, volunteers, and to the culture of your nonprofit organization? Have you asked? Do you have agreed upon definitions by which you operate? And, more importantly, do you operate with these statements as closely held beliefs and values?
In our experience, most organizations only define diversity by demographic measures and they almost never define inclusion and equity. But, even with race, ethnicity, and gender, nonprofit organizations are failing to have broad representation in leadership positions.
The 2017 Leading with Intent research conducted by BoardSource, found the following:
- “Boards are no more diverse than they were two years ago and current recruitment priorities indicate this is unlikely to change.Despite reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with current board demographics — particularly racial and ethnic diversity — boards are not prioritizing demographics in their recruitment practices. Nearly a fifth of all chief executives report they are not prioritizing demographics in their board recruitment strategy, despite being dissatisfied with their board’s racial and ethnic diversity.”
- “90% of Chief Executives, 90% of Board Chairs, and 84% of Board Members are Caucasian. 28% of Chief Executives are women but 58% of Board Chairs and 52% of Board Members are men.”
For organizations to move beyond race, ethnicity, and gender, the leadership must also go deeper because a fully diverse board may not be inclusive or equitable.
A coalition of funders called D5 supported a five-year effort to change this reality in the nonprofit sector.
The D5 Coalition defines diversity broadly to encompass the demographic mix of a specific collection of people, taking into account elements of human difference, but focusing particularly on race and ethnicity, LGBT populations, people with disabilities, and women.
They refer to inclusion as “the degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes within an organization or group;” and, improving equity as a way “to promote justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems.”
Now, more than ever, we need the social fabric of our communities, which is woven with nonprofit organizations, to be inclusive and equitable places that reflect the populations served.
D5 invites nonprofits to sign up as champions of this effort. What changes are you willing to make?
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO