Nonprofit Radio: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Nonprofit Governance

I’ll be on Nonprofit Radio this Friday, February 22, at 10:30 am PT / 1:30 pm ET talking with host Tony Martignetti about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and a nonprofit’s governing documents. This follows up on part one of our discussion on DEI and nonprofit governance from February 15, which is now available as a podcast here.

We’ll add to the list of resources below after February 22 and beyond. Check back in and feel free to contact us to suggest others.


What are we talking about when we say diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and why does DEI matter? 

Key: An organization can have a diverse board or staff without addressing issues of inclusion and equity (i.e., diversity in and of itself is not a solution for fair and just treatment, access, and opportunity for all people)

What’s the general state of diversity on nonprofit boards? 

Key: As a sector, nonprofits do not have diverse boards (with respect to race) and haven’t made much progress over the last 20 years

Why is diversity on a nonprofit board helpful?

Key: Diverse perspectives result in more informed, better decision-making; diverse leadership attract broader community support; diversity and inclusion help lead to greater equity

How do you build diversity on a nonprofit board? (detailed information)

Key: Open communications among board members about why they want to build diversity and in what areas; and developing, investing in, and implementing a strategic plan for building diversity and inclusion on multiple levels

How are persons of color tokenized in nonprofits?

Key: Including a person of color based primarily on that single factor; failing to recognize and respect the knowledge, experiences, skills, and perspectives such person brings; not treating such person as an equal; and excluding such person from positions of influence and power with respect to the organization as a whole (and not just limiting them to leading a “diversity committee” with no real powers or authority)

How can board members advance DEI? 

Key: Make DEI core values of the organization; widely communicate and invest in DEI priorities; build DEI goals as metrics for organizational and employee performance; recruit and maintain a diverse an inclusive board; hire with a focus on DEI.

Key: Create a culture of inclusion with attention to key practices, set clear expectations for inclusive leadership behaviors among all managers, and align the mission of the organization to the broader equity issues being faced by the communities it serves.