Navigating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conversations

What’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Why Should We Care About It?

It’s easy to talk about the things we have in common. When we meet people, we start with what we all relate to. “Is it still raining out there? Are you also flying home? ­­­You got tickets to Hamilton?!

It’s a lot harder to talk about differences.

It’s even harder to talk about differences when they’re about our identities.

Five Mistakes Your Nonprofit Doesn’t Want to Make When Investigating Sexual Harassment Allegations

In a former professional role, I served as legal counsel to employers in employment discrimination cases, including sexual harassment matters. While representing employers I learned about many instances of sexual harassment that were not handled well by the employer. Many of the underlying harassment claims were so mishandled that the victims became even more outraged and angry, not only at the harasser but also at their employer. This was particularly likely if their employers were slow to respond to allegations of harassment, allowing it to continue, or if the employer sidelined the victim while trying to “protect” him or her, which had the result of isolating the victim, cutting the victim off from professional development opportunities. Once a smart plaintiff’s lawyer learned of this “response” to their client’s harassment complaint, the lawyer would add an additional count to the complaint: retaliation. In fact, there are far more complaints about retaliation filed and resolved each year than there are cases of employment discrimination alone. Retaliation for filing a complaint of sexual harassment, whether in the form of something obvious, such as termination of employment, or in the form of something more subtle, such as moving the victim to an isolated office on the other side of the building, is the most common mistake employers make in connection with their response to a complaint of sexual harassment.

STUDY: Nonprofits Continue to Hire More Aggressively Than For-Profits in 2017, but the Gap Is Narrowing

Nonprofit HR today released the results of its 10th annual Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, which indicate that while nonprofits have been hiring more aggressively than for-profits for the last several years and will continue to do so in 2017, the gap is now narrowing. According to the survey, 50 percent of nonprofits plan to hire in 2017 (down seven percentage points from 2016), while the corporate hiring outlook is the best it has been in a decade, with 40 percent of for-profit companies planning to hire in 2017 (up four percentage points from 2016 according to the CareerBuilder's Annual Job Forecast). This narrowing gap is due at least in part to the growth of social enterprise and purpose-driven business.

New Report Finds Gender Representation Stagnant Among U.S. Philanthropy Leadership

The proportions of women and people of racial and ethnic minorities in philanthropic leadership levels has been stagnant over the past decade, according to a new report from the Council on Foundations.

9 Principles of Community-Centric Fundraising

Hi everyone. After last week’s post, I got a lot of comments, many in support, a few cautiously curious, and some strong disagreement. Which is all awesome, because we can disagree on many things, but I think the conversation around equity as it’s applied to fundraising is much needed. I also want to reiterate how much respect I have for the fundraisers in our field. I’ve said it before that I think you have to be pretty brilliant to be a successful fundraising professional, considering how complex this work is. I also want to reaffirm how much I appreciate donors, and that my critique of donor-centrism in no way precludes respect for donors, just like my critique of inequitable funding practices should not mean a disrespect for foundations or program officers, or my post on how data has been used to perpetuate inequity should not be seen as a dis on evaluators and researchers.

19 Tips for Making Your Job Posting So Amazing, Unicorns Will Weep Tears of Joy

We need to talk about a serious problem that’s been ignored for a long time. No, not the lack of gel pens given out by vendors during conferences. (Seriously, vendors, get better pens! Ballpoint is so cliché!) I’m talking about job postings—they suck. They have sucked for a long time. I bet when aliens dig up remnants of the human race, they’ll encounter our job postings and go, “……” which is alien telepathic language for “these documents suck; no wonder their civilization collapsed.”

We’ve been using the same format, the same tired language, and the same archaic requirements. We need to do better.

Two New Resources for the Nonprofit Diversity Conversation

Two works related to nonprofit diversity arrived at GuideStar last month. The first, "Engaging Nonprofit Employees: 3 Key Strategies to Retain and Engage the People Behind Your Cause," adds more evidence of diversity's importance to the sector. The second, "If Your Board Looked Like Your Community," offers steps for moving toward a more inclusive sector.

Insights into Nonprofit Compensation and Diversity

Every year, both the Council on Foundations and GuideStar publish compensation studies for the philanthropic and broader nonprofit sectors, respectively.  The Council’s Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey and GuideStar’s Nonprofit Compensation Report serve multiple important purposes for both the individual organizations that use the data as well as the field as a whole.  The objectives we find most interesting and relevant are related to having tools that promote effective organizational management and improve our understanding of the state of diversity in our field.

Green 2.0 Reports Lack of Transparency about Diversity by Major Environmental Funders, While Many Smaller Foundations Disclosed Data

Green 2.0 announced that one year from their initial call for transparent diversity data – and months after the Presidents of the Bullitt, Ford, Hewlett, Kresge, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Wilburforce Foundations jointly echoed the need for data sharing by environmental funders – a majority of the 40 biggest funders of environmental work declined to share diversity data on their GuideStar profiles. Green 2.0 reports that many funders outside of the top 40 disclosed their employee and board information. This summer, the six foundation presidents co-signed a letter urging their peers to upload data by August 15. The deadline was extended to September 15, 2015.

A Proven Playbook for Increased Effectiveness

Reprinted from Markets for Good

As the director of an organization that works with foundations across the country, I get to see remarkable examples of foundations working together and learning from each other about how to be more effective.

But sometimes we need to look beyond the field to get ideas of how to tackle our biggest challenges. I agree wholeheartedly with philanthropy's well-placed skepticism of exhortations to be more "business-like." Philanthropy has different goals and different ways to measure effectiveness than business. When it comes to the power of diversity, however, the business sector can provide important lessons from which philanthropy can draw inspiration to achieve our sector-wide goal of advancing the common good.

First, businesses are proving that greater diversity leads to success. Earlier this year, McKinsey & Company, the global management consulting firm, released a study of 366 public companies that found that "when companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are more successful."

The numbers don't lie. According to the study:

  • Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians.
  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians.

Second, successful companies are making the decision to be more transparent with their data, recognizing data as a tool for tracking progress in order to improve their success. Last year, some of the biggest names in the tech sector—Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon—began to publicly disclose data about the diversity of their workforce.

These companies made the decision to release the data because the only way to improve the situation is to understand and confront it. As Google states on its diversity page, "We're not where we want to be when it comes to diversity. And it is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you're not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts."

Facebook agrees. Maxine Williams, who Facebook tapped in 2013 to be its global director of diversity, recently said "For Facebook, diversity is imperative to our future growth. If we don't get it right, we risk losing relevance in an incredibly diverse world."

Philanthropy faces a similar challenge. The face of America is changing rapidly. In two states—New Mexico and California—Latinos have surpassed whites as the largest racial/ethnic group. Women make up 51 percent of the workforce. One million more voters identified as LGBT in 2012 than 2008. In order for foundations to serve their constituencies effectively and maximize their impacts, they must change with them.

Foundations and nonprofits have the opportunity to take a page from successful business playbooks and use data to support this change. Clarity on the dynamics of demographic data will help us to understand fully the state of nonprofits and foundations, and shape a path for advancing equity for the people we serve—the impact we are all striving for.

It may seem hard to see how diversity and inclusion that contributes to the bottom line of a tech firm relates to foundations and the social sector, but clear parallels do exist. Recently, after collecting and reviewing the data from several years of applicants, a major national nonprofit organization found it was struggling to increase the number of applications to its leadership program from under-represented communities, a critical need given the demographics of the emerging workforce and talent pool. In response, it developed a clear and explicit commitment to non-traditional outreach strategies, informed by new staff who, in addition to sound skills and broad experience, brought new networks, insights, and strategies. The inclusion of the perspectives from under-represented communities transformed the applicant pool in two short years. Now the program more closely reflects the demographic make-up of both current and future leaders, a transformation that is essential to the important leadership development role this organization provides. Just as with business, this development was informed by sound data.

The social sector's work is even more sensitive to the importance of identity, inclusion, and equity. Are outreach efforts crafted in the right language? Are interventions appropriate and reaching all members of a community? Are partnerships and alliances informed by the perspectives of all constituents and stakeholders? These are dynamics that can change in a few short years. But without a sound system for rigorous data, how can we know if the programs we invest in are achieving optimal impact on the communities we want to touch?

If philanthropy is to achieve its best "bottom line" it must be informed by the same kind of sound data the business world relies upon. Because if we don't understand who we're impacting, how can we know we are really making the most effective impact we can?

Are You with a Nonprofit?

If you are, has anyone updated the diversity data in your organization's GuideStar Nonprofit Profile?

How to Update Your Diversity Data

  1. Sign in or register to update your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile.
  2. Enter your diversity data and more through the profile update form.
  3. Click the Publish button to finalize and share your information.




Learn more about updating your nonprofit profile
Learn more about GuideStar's program to collect diversity data

Kelly Brown, D5 Coalition
Reprinted from Markets for Good under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial Unported 3.0 License (CC-BY-NC 3.0)

Kelly Brown is director of the D5 Coalition, a five-year effort to increase philanthropy's diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Kelly has more than 30 years of experience working on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in the social sector, both domestically and abroad.