Giving Compass’ Take:
• Ripley Tate, at Forbes, explains why diversifying nonprofit boardrooms starts with representing the communities of those already within the organization.
• Despite great diversity in organizations’ membership, nonprofit leadership today consists largely of white men. What are you doing to expose this and move for change? How critical is diversifying nonprofit boardrooms in serving marginalized communities?
In this article, we will dive into the importance of having diversified board members and offer a few tips to diversify your boards and attract good-quality leaders.
About 25 years ago, I began my professional career at a highly technical internet company. Many local nonprofits reached out to me for guidance and technical advice, or to deliver speeches to their memberships about the internet, computers and so on.
I frequently noticed a disconnect between us board members, staff and the organization’s constituents. Why was that? How could we close the gap between the decision-makers and the folks impacted by those decisions?
To answer those questions, I first looked at our memberships, then our organization’s leadership. Once identified, it became obvious where the root of the problem was: The membership was composed of extreme diversity while the boards were composed of the aforementioned demographic, mainly white men.
So, how do we as nonprofit leaders start to make the change?
Start by asking each board member what they bring to the table and why and how they plan to help the organization achieve its mission. Ask if they understand the organization’s demographics; if they do not, make sure they have accurate knowledge and information.
There might be up-and-coming individuals that appreciate the opportunity to further their experiences, and have good insights that are beneficial around the board table. Even if an individual member does not possess the required skills to be a board member, they might know someone who does, who they can refer to. Seeking leadership from within the membership illustrates the genuine desire to fulfill their needs and recognizes the value of the inputs and perspectives.
Read the full article about diversifying nonprofit boardrooms by Ripley Tate at Forbes.
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