Great talent makes great organizations. Knowing that, nonprofit leaders are increasingly considering talent development alongside their goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Why? For one, the nonprofit sector is experiencing a racial leadership gap. Over the last 15 years, the percentage of people of color in nonprofit executive director/CEO roles has remained under 20 percent, according to the Building Movement Project’s Race to Lead report.1 The same report notes that it’s not for a lack of aspiration: more people of color aspire to lead nonprofits than their white colleagues.

Talent also drives organizational culture. In order to have a culture that supports equity and inclusion, your people need to have the skills and mindsets required to create a culture that centers on equity and fosters a sense of belonging for all staff.

How, then, can leaders provide more opportunities for people of color to become leaders in their organizations? And how can all organizational leaders develop the skills and competencies necessary to foster an inclusive and equity-minded culture?

Develop an intentional approach to talent development
In Bridgespan’s work with mission-driven organizations, we’re intentionally bringing a racial equity mindset to our approaches. This is particularly relevant in our work and research on nonprofit talent development. If you’ve named equity as a value and a strategic priority, talent development is an important place to start.

We’ve found that executive teams who seek to develop leaders of color and create inclusive talent development processes for their organizations employ three key practices:

  1. They agree on what “great leadership” looks like, with equity goals in mind.
  2. They prioritize one to two areas on which each emerging leader can focus.
  3. They craft development opportunities with intention.

Read the full article about inclusive development culture by Meera Chary at The Bridgespan Group.