Report on Diversity in Non-Profit Organizations

We were thrilled this week to see the publication of “The Voice of Non-Profit Talent: Perceptions of Diversity in the Workplace”, co-authored by CommonGood Careers and Level Playing Field Institute.

Though the information gathered was largely in an American context, the results of the survey are undoubtedly applicable to the Canadian non-profit sector. The whole report is worth a look, but here are some of our highlights.

“Without a clear and comprehensive commitment to racial diversity reflected throughout the organization that is being acted upon with results, nonprofits will have difficulty recruiting and retaining diverse employees”

  1. Perceived diversity and inclusiveness within organizations significantly affects both the recruitment process and the retention of employees, especially employees of color“. The report found that 71% of applicants of colour are likely to assess the diversity of the organization– largely through the actual diversity of it’s staff– before applying. More than half of those have withdrawn candidacy or turned down a job offer due to a lack of diversity and inclusion in the organization. 27% have left a job they already had for the same reason.
  2.  The second finding we wanted to highlight is one we are very familiar with here at COCo: “Many nonprofits that claim to “value diversity” have not actually defined what diversity means for their organizations and why they consider it to be important for their ultimate success.”. In our experience, many groups want to talk about inclusiveness and diversity without ever considering that that might involve actual change, planning and thought. Getting clear about what this means is a hugely important first step. The result is another important finding of the report: staff say their employers “talk the talk” but rarely “walk the walk”.
  3. And lastly, highlighted throughout the report is the fact that the best measure of your organization’s commitment to diversity is its actual diversity– especially in leadership and management positions.

“The lack of diversity in leadership was viewed as hypocritical and led to the belief that the organization’s commitment to diversity has been superficial. “

We’d love to hear what you thought about the report and whether any of it’s practical suggestions might come in handy to your organization. How can we build a true commitment to diverse organizations, especially in a sector that works so closely with marginalized communities?

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