Why a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Policy Should Be an Essential in Your Nonprofit

A diverse and inclusive working environment is key in your organization’s performance. Despite this, a lot of nonprofit organizations are struggling to maintain a diverse workplace. A study done by The Center for Effective Philanthropy found that sexual orientation and gender diversity are lacking at many nonprofits. 

A lot of organizations claim to have a handle on the situation, but the truth is that they still have a long way to go. Nonprofits need to show both their clients and their staff that they are accepting of everyone, regardless of their race, gender or religion. 


What is a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Policy? 

It’s an overarching statement on cultural equity and how your organization plans to uphold it. It can also include any goals your team wants to achieve in order to foster diversity in the workplace. This includes a lot more than hitting a "diversity quota”, its a set of initiatives that leadership is responsible to upkeep

Your policy should have a clearly defined action plan that incorporates the core values of diversity, inclusion and equity into your organization’s daily operations, and ultimately strengthen your mission. Your team should also have an understanding of what diversity, inclusion and equity is and define what it means specifically for your organization. 

  • Diversity: is the presence of differences within a setting. It typically refers to differences in gender, religion, ethnicity, religion, nationality or sexual orientation. 
  • Inclusion: involves how people with diverse identities are feeling or being valued, welcomed and leveraged within a given setting. You can have a diverse group of employees but inclusion means that they are also given opportunities to grow. 
  • Equity: is ensuring that everyone has access to the same opportunities. It recognizes that everyone has different challenges and advantages. It’s about acknowledging these imbalances and seeking to correct them so that everyone has an equal opportunity to grow. 

The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace

In order to do better as an organization, it’s important to not only have a diversity policy in place but to uphold it in your organizational values. Embracing these concepts as core values is a way to make space for positive outcomes to flourish and create action. It encourages people to be more creative, diligent and hardworking.
Decision Making 
A diverse staff promotes innovation and brings an array of unique perspectives that will help to advance your nonprofit's mission and promote an inclusive environment. Casey Enders from the Forbes Nonprofit Council describes it best in saying " diversity is essential to solving problems and collaborating effectively”. 

New research supports that diverse teams make better decisions, and with decision making driving 95% of business performance it is crucial to make sure all genders, backgrounds and sexualities are welcome to the table. Studies show that: 

  • 66% of the time teams make better decisions than individuals 
  • A team with age, gender and ethic diversity will make better decisions 87% and perform 60% better overall 
  • Teams that follow an inclusive process are able to make decisions twice as fast in half the time 
Making a Better Product
Having a diverse team can also improve your products. Facial recognition has been growing increasingly popular but has also had issues identifying people of colour and women. Amazon’s Rekognition software being used for security systems falsely identified users, 40% of which were people of colour. 

Facial recognition software has a harder time identifying people of colour and women. The problem is believed to come from the engineers who are mostly white men designing the software with an unconscious bias. In order to improve the software minorities need to be included in the development process. 

In order to resolve issues surrounding inclusion the conversation on diversity, inclusion and equity needs to be candid. Transparency and a continuous line of open communication are necessary for creating a welcoming environment. In doing so, each client and employee will feel safe, motivated and thrive alongside your organization. 


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Management & Leadership Jan 24, 2020, 12:00 AM

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