Giving Compass’ Take:
• Katie Hayes, writing for Stanford Social Innovation Review, offers a roadmap for nonprofits to achieve more diverse boards to govern their organizations.
• Nonprofit boards should reflect the community that nonprofits are serving. Why is this important?
• Read more about how nonprofit board diversity is lacking.
Only 20 percent of nonprofit board members in the United States are people of color. Twenty-five percent of boards are entirely comprised of white people, and 90 percent of board chairs are white. What’s more, 89 percent of nonprofit CEOs are white. This is a big problem, because diversity matters; there’s a causal relationship between diversity and groups that are more innovative, creative, problem-solving, and better performing overall. If we want to optimize the social sector’s potential to create impact, diverse nonprofit boards are not a “nice to have,” they are a “must have.”
The good news is that nearly 70 percent of board members are not satisfied with the racial and ethnic diversity on their board, which indicates there exists a desire to carve a different path forward. And creating more diverse, inclusive, and equitable boards does not need to be a complicated endeavor.
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It’s hard to fix problems we do not name. So to start the process, nonprofit boards and CEOs must make an internal and external commitment to this work. Yes, going public with this goal may bring unwanted attention to current challenges with diversity, equity, and inclusion. But doing so will also help encourage peers to join the effort and shine light on what can be.
As part and parcel of making the decision, board chairs and CEOs should commit to taking the following baseline steps…
- Create a clear board member role description that outlines expectations, roles and responsibilities, fundraising requirements, and your organizational values.
- Recruit better, and reach beyond the immediate network. Board members are often recruited through personal connections, which are not typically diverse.
- Develop a strong vetting process. Each board member should go through the same process to ensure equitable evaluation.
High-impact boards operate to their fullest potential when they tap into a diversity of thought—by drawing from the expertise of people across race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other dimensions such as professional experience, age, and so on. An exceptional board is a high-performing team with a shared purpose to drive the work of the organization forward toward an important vision.
Fostering a space where the experiences of a diverse group are valued and applied to the oversight of social impact organizations is important to addressing social challenges.
Read the full article about how to achieve board diversity by Katie Hayes at Stanford Social Innovation Review
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