Is diversifying on your board’s to do list?

The folks over at Nonprofit Quarterly recently invited readers to weigh in on issues that “do or should most concern boards” in 2016. They received 172 replies (mine included) to the “pulse survey,” with more than 50 percent of respondents listing “economic uncertainty” as a top concern.

No surprise there. The nonprofit sector can’t seem to shake off the albatross of perennial money woes. What did surprise me, however, was the topic holding second place on the list– board representation (youth, diversity and inclusion).

holding_hands_group_line_spectrum_5643Perhaps the nonprofit organizations with which I work are the exception, but I don’t hear much talk about the need to diversify the board, be that via age, gender, or ethnicity. Occasionally an executive director utters the “d” word, but usually when describing failed attempts to engage young adults or persons of color.

As for board members, most seem satisfied with things just the way they are. In fact, I’ve been chastised for pushing political correctness simply for broaching the subject of diversity in the boardroom.

Which is why I am excited to co-facilitate a “knowledge pod” session at The PURSUIT ’16 conference with Dr. John Stackhouse, Jr., a scholar and thought-leader who has analyzed the theory, history, and practice of both American and Canadian approaches to diversity, multiculturalism, and social change. My contribution to the session focuses on the challenge of building a strong board.

Please join us if you can in London, Ontario in late April for The PURSUIT ’16. For those who can’t make the trip, I’ll report highlights from the knowledge pod session back here at Generous Matters.

Until then, check out these posts about building a strong and diverse board:

Three reasons not to invite former board members back

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who has the fairest board of all?

Wile E. Coyote and board recruitment strategies


What's your take on this topic?

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