Embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access as organizational values is a way to build sustainable, positive outcomes.
The National Council of Nonprofits says they "stand with others for equity and justice and in denouncing racism, intolerance, and exclusion."
However, we all know saying these words is only the start. Nonprofits need to build core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into operations. Likewise, they need to measure these values and demonstrate these values through the board, staff, and actions.
Embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access as organizational values is a way to build sustainable, positive outcomes. If each nonprofit can articulate its values and be guided by them, then this global community we aim to strengthen can only get stronger.
One place to start the building process is to use staff and board meetings to examine core values. Ask questions and highlight common concerns. When you insert honest dialogue, it encourages staff and board members to reflect, listen to each other, and learn from others' experiences. Once you get to this stage, broader dialogue could elevate how diversity, equity, and inclusion can continue to be at the forefront of your nonprofit. Consider dialoguing with state networks, regional representatives, and national platforms to explore.
Many organizations use data to drive decision-making. Here data from Scientific American shows diversity can boost the quality of decision-making and a diverse workplace can encourage people to be more productive and creative.
When board members, staff, donors, and others who shape your nonprofit's values and activities come from different backgrounds, they bring unique perspectives that influence how the nonprofit approaches its mission in more inclusive and innovative ways.
Below are a combination of resources from the Community Foundation and the National Council of Nonprofits to help individuals, organizations, and your networks.
- Begin with an exploration of terms to start conversations. The Social Justice Glossary from the YWCA and this glossary from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation offer common vernacular for conversations.
- Understand yourself and teach understanding intolerances throughout your board and staff. Project Implicit also offers a tool to test social cognition - thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control about race.
- The Statement on Cultural Equity adopted by Americans for the Arts offers a powerful affirmation about the importance of getting behind diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
- Read this article, 6 Steps for Building an Inclusive Workplace, to understand how an equitable workplace is beneficial for all involved.
- Hire a skilled practitioner to help guide your organization's internal discussions and transformations.
- Creative ideas to get your organization's policies in order and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Nonprofit Bylaws
Looking for resources to help your organization build a DEI & Access Plan? Here are a few additional spots to check out:
- TSNE MissionWorks builds the leadership and effectiveness of individuals, groups, and nonprofits to support a more just and democratic society.
- SHRM offers thoughtful resources to help guide the conversation around “How will you create racial equity in your workplace?”
- Racial Equity Alliance offers a how-to action plan to help guide the conversations. You can download the PDF here.
- The Association of Fundraising Professionals shares a thorough list of definitions and policies to get your organization started.
Check out our Racial Equity Hub at the Community Foundation for an ongoing library of resources.