Diversity has been a “buzz word” and a priority for a long time now. But what does it mean, and does diversity impact or change structural racism?
Let’s start with diversity. To what extent is there diversity across your organization as a whole, and to what extent is there diversity within the different aspects of your organization? Reflect on expressions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, country of origin, educational attainment, and physical ability. Is there one “type” of person that dominates the organization? Is there an appreciation for those outside the dominant group? Ask, “How welcoming and affirming are we?”
How would you assess diversity across your organization?
- Board of trustees or board of directors. Does everyone look and sound alike?
- Who does our organization spend its money with? Do we know? Does it matter to us?
- Volunteer leaders. Do friends invite friends into leadership, or do we extend ourselves beyond our peer group?
- Is there a diversity of opinions, experiences, and knowledge represented amongst decision makers?
- Do our staff members share a common background with those we serve, teach, heal, or advocate for?
- Where does our organization’s money come from? Who do we ask for funding and who do we not ask?
- Clients served or students educated. Are we serving and teaching those we know need our services, or those we know?
- Advisory group. Who provides guidance and direction when new information is needed?
- Programs and special events. How do we determine what types of programs to offer?
- Communication and messaging. Who is telling our story? Who are we sharing it with?
As you reflect, identify the areas your organization has shown the most growth in. Can you see where more growth is needed? What feels overwhelming? What are you honestly not interested in addressing? Can you live with that truth? Are you personally willing to change?
Let’s take the conversation a little deeper: Is diversity a “two-way street?” Should Black-led and Black-serving organizations seek to become racially diverse? Are they already diverse? Diverse enough? How will our organizations address the changing demographics that impact all Americans? Are we required to, or are we exempt?
As celebrations of Black history month begin, we at Saad&Shaw have been discussing the importance of diversity and equity. We have come to understand diversity as a first step in the process of working towards equity, and that using a racial equity lens is an important tool in dismantling structural racism. A lack of diversity and the presence of structural racism impact the work of the nonprofit sector. They are preconditions that give rise to many nonprofits, and they seriously impact funding and resources available to nonprofits, especially those that are Black-led and Black-serving.
We ask that you take the time to reflect and take action to improve diversity, dismantle structural racism, and move us together towards racial equity.
Copyright 2020 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
When you are ready to grow your fundraising, prepare for a fundraising campaign, or increase board engagement we are here to help. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.