Encouraging Diversity in Nonprofit Organizations

By September 8, 2020Nonprofit

You can’t turn on the news today without hearing something about equality, diversity, and racial disparities. Not since the 1960s has the topic of racial equality been so prevalent in our society and culture. Discussions about how every organization, from schools to businesses, can welcome and include greater diversity are critical to ensuring that all voices are heard from the boardroom to the classroom.

Importance of Diversity in Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofits are better positioned to plan for the future and embrace current challenges when they have a diverse staff and board. Diverse people bring unique perspectives, life experiences, and opinions to the table to add to discussions.

Another reason why diversity is essential in nonprofit organizations is to ensure that the staff reflects the populations served. People from similar backgrounds share common approaches to problem-solving, shared understanding of cultural norms, and other attributes that make it easier to connect and communicate. Having people of diverse races, genders, and other factors that reflect the demographic your organization services improves your ability to reach others to achieve your mission.

Many nonprofit organizations address sensitive issues as part of their mission: reproductive rights, healthcare, child and family needs, domestic violence, hunger, poverty, religious freedoms, education. It can be difficult for people to talk about their needs with nonprofit volunteers and staff who do not look like them or do not share the same cultural background. Improving diversity can lead to better outcomes because people may open up more to others from the same background.

Diversity Improves Performance

Many reports indicate that having diverse teams and boards improves an organization’s fundraising and revenue-generating ability. Forbes reports that companies with ethnically diverse executive teams were likely to achieve 33% more profits. Boards that were racially and ethnically diverse led companies to achieve 43% more profits.

Another study found that nonprofits with a higher percentage of women on their boards engaged more in fundraising and advocacy. The Association of Fundraising Professionals agrees that diversity improves an organization’s outreach efforts and leads to better fundraising.

Diversity Among Accountants Still Lacking

The accounting profession has made some inroads in diversity, but much work remains to be done. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the 1.9 million auditors and accountants in the United States, just about 9% are black. There is much room for improvement in these statistics.

How Can Nonprofits Improve Diversity?

Nonprofit organizations can take many steps to improve diversity throughout all levels of their organizations, including their accounting team. As we have seen, a more diverse organization can lead to better advocacy, communications, and fundraising activities.

To improve organization-wide diversity, your organization can:

  1. Establish organization-wide policies on diversity and inclusion.
  2. Appoint resources for diversity training.
  3. Review policies and hiring practices for potentially hidden biases.
  4. Train hiring managers and recruiters to be “color-blind” when hiring candidates.
  5. Seek board members who reflect the diversity of the population that your organization serves.
  6. Include diversity and inclusion language in job postings to welcome potential candidates of all ethnicities, races, genders, etc.
  7. Create and measure diversity goals.

It is only by becoming aware of a problem that we can confront it head-on and address it. Becoming aware of any diversity issues in the workforce is a necessary part of growth. “Futureproof” your nonprofit organization by ensuring a diverse workforce now.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.