Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are crucial components for non-profit organisations to effectively serve their communities and make a positive impact. By prioritizing DEI, non-profits can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for staff, volunteers, and donors while also better addressing the needs of the communities they serve.
As the National Council of Nonprofits explains, just standing up for equity and justice is not enough. It's imperative that nonprofits "identify how to build the core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into all... operations, as well as model those values."
One of the key best practices for building a more diverse and inclusive non-profit organization is to prioritize DEI at every level. This means integrating DEI considerations into all aspects of the organisation, including hiring practices, program design, fundraising, and donor engagement.
Another best practice is to provide training and education on DEI issues to staff and volunteers. This can include workshops, seminars, or diversity training to help individuals understand and address issues of bias, discrimination, and inequity. Providing a safe and inclusive space for staff and volunteers to share their experiences and perspectives can also promote DEI and help build a more inclusive organisation.
According to a 2021 report by BoardReady, S&P 500 companies with boards that have more gender, age and racial diversity saw greater revenue gains than companies with less diverse boards. While the report doesn't prove causality, the correlation between diversity and performance suggests that organizations with less diverse boards should evaluate the impact of the board's homogeneity.
CIVICUS (a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world) actively promotes DEI. Civicus offers an interesting tool if you want to assess and improve the level of diversity of your organization. Take the test and become inspiring role-models and champions of diversity and inclusion in your communities.
In conclusion, prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in non-profit organizations is essential for building a more just and equitable society. By creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, NPOs can attract and retain diverse talent and better serve their communities. By implementing best practices for building a more diverse and inclusive organization, non-profits can take meaningful steps towards creating positive social change.
Do you want to expand the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in your organization and on your board? Start with the Why and then embrace the How, as explained in this excellent article.