There has been a great deal of discussion about the lack of diversity in the nonprofit sector. While we already know that nonprofits struggle with diversity at almost every level of the organization (from staff to leadership to board) the conversation has been focusing less on why and more on the impact of the lack of diversity on organizations and what must be done to address it. Below is a roundup of interesting reads:

Common Good Careers: The Voice of Nonprofit Talent-Perceptions of Diversity in the Workplace (PDF)

In this study conducted by Common Good Careers, they go beyond identifying the lack of diversity and examine the impact the lack of diversity in nonprofits has on employees. They also provide action steps for nonprofits to get to the root of why they struggle with ethnic/racial diversity.

OnlyUp: The Diversity Challenge Facing Nonprofits

In this piece for OnlyUp, I note that  the 2011 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey states how nonprofits of various sizes value diversity. This made me wonder about willingness to commit time and resources to developing a diverse work environment and how nonprofits can move forward in diversifying based on race, gender, and age.

Philanthropy Potluck (Minnesota Council on Foundations): What Does it Take to Lead in Diversity and Inclusivity?

What skills and actions are required to build a diverse organization? In this interview with Headwater’s Foundation for Justice, program director David Nicholson discusses the core competencies leaders need to build inclusive organizations. This is part of the Minnesota Council on Foundations’ recent issue of Giving Forum which focuses on diversity in philanthropy.

Rosetta Thurman: Nonprofits Don’t Care About Diversity / More on Nonprofit Diversity: Rethink Your Rules

In the first piece, Rosetta examines the Common Good Career’s report. In the second piece, she asks critical questions about what it takes to be inclusive in particular our rules for orienting new hires in a way that kills the very diversity we should be seeking.

Jamie Notter: Inclusion Brings Change

Sometimes we forget that genuine diversity isnt just about adding another person of color/woman/young person to the organization. Instead, diversity requires organizational change in values and actions. Jamie explores what those changes are and asks if nonprofits are ready to accept them.

NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and National Urban Fellows:  Advancing Diversity in Public Service (PDF) / Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion: Insights from Scholarship (PDF)

The first document is a great list of resources–funding, trainings, programs, etc–for organizations interested in building diversity and people of color interested in developing skills to thrive in the sector.  The second is a literature review of research related to race, leadership, and creating diverse organizations.

Any other articles you would add?

What’s compelling about the conversation so far is that we are talking about impact and actions, making what can feel like a large abstract issue real and accessible.  To that end I have a few questions for readers:

  • Why do you think so many nonprofits struggle with diversity?
  • What makes an organization diverse to you?
  • How has an organization’s diversity (or lack thereof) affected your desire to work with them or stay with them as an employee, if at all?
  • Does your organization have an action plan for nurturing diversity at all levels?  If so, what is a step you recommend other organizations take?

Please share your thoughts below.