Operationalizing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in your Nonprofit

Alvin Schexnider
Aug 31, 2017 · 5 min read
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http://viablefuturescenter.org/racemattersinstitute/about-us-2/189-2/
  • Utilize art/film/storytelling to generate personal dialogue in connection to the systems conversations. The exposure will advance your staff’s personal investment in tough dialogue.
  • Know what the diverse talent markets are in your city (universities, professional resource groups, heavily networked people) and build relationships with key influencers at these institutions. They will be your perpetual talent scouts.
  • Read books together, dialogue and learn from each other, and then repeat-repeat-repeat.
  • Culturally honoring & minority-lensed leadership development: Does your organization privilege a majority white lensed view of leadership and management over others (very likely as most management books are written by academics who are not people of color)? How does this vibe with the lenses of what a “leader” is in the communities of color your organization might be serving in? Are you willing to hire someone from that same community who is viewed as a contributor and/or leader in the community’s eyes but who is maybe not seen as a cultural “fit” at your organization?
  • Create intentional spaces for difficult cross-racial/ethnic conversation.
  • Use ground rules for difficult conversations.
  • Sustain the work with a cross functional equity committee who will help you look inward and have the courage to listen to tough feedback and be self reflective.
  • Ensure compensation policies are fair and equitable across groups. Audit your payscales by racial/ethnic group. If they are clearly preferencing one group over another even when the jobs are the same, you need to create a strategy to get groups paid fairly.
  • Seek and contract an external advisor for cultural survey assessments (readiness for change, etc) and who is able to adapt and deliver tailored executive and staff level interventions that will build the capacity of your organization to do DEI.
  • Hire from and broadcast outward leadership pipeline programs that introduce professionals of color into the nonprofit field (ie Public Allies, New Sector, Rainier Valley Corps).
  • Seek and contract with outside trainers who are not just training but who are actually practitioners on the ground “doing the work” and innovating and adapting based on needs, and who then direct their learnings into what they teach.
  • Dis-aggregate programmatic data by race/ethnicity to see whether your impact is equitable. If not, you need to closely examine and reflect as to why.
  • Lean on your equity committee to reflect on critical community-facing communications to ensure your messaging is culturally appropriate and so that it won’t be misconstrued, which could decrease the community’s trust in your intentions and integrity.
  • Truly integrate equity into your organizational strategy . If it’s not in your strategy or a part of your values, it’s lip service.
  • Partner with local, sector specific, or national coalitions or member associations of like minded nonprofits and use your collective influence to address sector issues with funders or government agencies.
  • Push forward with the work even when equity is not fun or cool anymore. That’s when most organizations and people give up, and when it’s the most important to sustain, especially for people of color either in your organization or in the communities you work in who are weary of broken commitments from other institutions time and time again.
  • Be humble!
  • Inviting external expert consultants to train us on how to manage implicit bias across our firm’s work.
  • Holding a SEED session (SEED stands for “Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity”) on a monthly basis as a team.
  • Continually examining our recruitment strategies to ensure we are reaching diverse pools of talent and building relationships with new institutions outside of our regular networks.
  • Seeking and attending external training opportunities and bringing their practices back to the organization for share out and integration into our work.
  • Forming an advisory board, made up of members from a number of different professional backgrounds and identities that could provide strategic and operational guidance to our business in a number of ways, including DEI.

Greater Good Studio

Greater Good Studio is a strategic design firm focused on…

Alvin Schexnider

Written by

Director of Operations at Greater Good Studio

Greater Good Studio

Greater Good Studio is a strategic design firm focused on advancing equity. We do this by creating human-centered programs, tools and experiences, and by teaching design to changemakers in organizations and communities.

Alvin Schexnider

Written by

Director of Operations at Greater Good Studio

Greater Good Studio

Greater Good Studio is a strategic design firm focused on advancing equity. We do this by creating human-centered programs, tools and experiences, and by teaching design to changemakers in organizations and communities.

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