The increasing diversity of the U.S. population gives the nonprofit sector an unparalleled opportunity to engage new audiences, bring new voices to the table, and involve new talent and leadership. As a sector that focuses on the public good, inclusion of diverse individuals can deepen an understanding of issues communities are facing and create the right environment for problem solving in an authentic manner. Ultimately, this is about mission impact, which is the reason nonprofits exist.
It is important to align your board composition with your organization’s mission, values, and priorities. Nonprofits should be careful to avoid seeking diversity just for the sake of diversity as this can lead to tokenism. However, if boards clearly define their priorities and foster a culture of continuous learning, greater diversity will lead to a more engaged board.
Yet what is the impact of a board’s makeup have on board outcomes? The research found several trends:
- Nonprofit boards with more women members are more involved, engage more in fundraising, and participate more in public policy advocacy.
- Boards with higher percentages of young members (age 39 or younger) have greater commitment and involvement and engage more in oversight and governance.
- Older organizations have significantly higher percentages of board members who meet with potential donors and ask others for money and to contribute financial gifts.
- Boards of nonprofits with revenues of $5 million or greater are more likely to participate in advocacy.
Read the full article about impact of diversity on board outcomes by Angela E. White at BoardSource.