Two New Resources for the Nonprofit Diversity Conversation

July 31, 2016

Two works related to nonprofit diversity arrived at GuideStar last month. The first, "Engaging Nonprofit Employees: 3 Key Strategies to Retain and Engage the People Behind Your Cause," adds more evidence of diversity's importance to the sector. The second, "If Your Board Looked Like Your Community," offers steps for moving toward a more inclusive sector.




In 2015, Quantum Workplace surveyed 440,000 employees from nearly 5,500 nonprofit organizations. "Engaging Nonprofit Employees: 3 Key Strategies to Retain and Engage the People Behind Your Cause" presents the results of this research.


The news is not good. Nonprofits had the third-lowest percentage of engaged employees among 18 industries. Only health care (worst) and public administration (second-worst) ranked lower. And for the fourth year in a row, the percentage of hostile and disengaged nonprofit employees exceeded the national average.

Fortunately, as the report's title indicates, "Engaging Nonprofit Employees" offers strategies to increase employee engagement. The first, "positive work environments—for everyone," is where diversity comes in:

There’s at least one ideal universally sought and appreciated by nonprofit employees: diversity. Workers in this sector are inspired by opportunities to improve lives, solve complex problems, and give voice to those who aren’t being heard. Not surprisingly, they expect fairness, positivity, and inclusion in their day-to-day work spaces."


"Engaging Nonprofit Employees" cites several statistics that show diversity remains a goal, not a reality, in the nonprofit sector. That's where "If Your Board Looked Like Your Community" comes in.



          Oakland Museum of California's Pacific Worlds Community Welcoming | Photo: Alessandra Mello


If you haven’t started practicing already, or feel like you need to brush up on a few skills, I hope this resource compels you to take a tangible next step today."

In "If Your Board Looked Like Your Community," Josephine Ramirez of The James Irvine Foundation offers concrete suggestions for increasing board diversity. "If Your Board" provides insights of 11 senior leaders and board members from four California arts organizations on diversity's importance, barriers to achieving it, ways to overcome those hurdles, and their organizations' experiences as they move toward diversity.

"If Your Board" is a valuable resource for any organization that wants to become more inclusive as well as a rich contribution to the dialogue on nonprofit diversity.


The preceding post is by Suzanne Coffman, GuideStar's editorial director. 

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