By now the idea of diversity has become standard in many areas of American life, including the nonprofit sector. That’s a fine ideal, but just what is diversity?
During the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ international conference on fundraising, Beverly L. Herbert of the Association for Community Living in Springfield, Mass., and Alphonce J. Brown of Docere Consulting in Long Branch, Calif., looked at the AFP’s definition of diversity, but did so by bringing in another important concept: Inclusion.
According to the AFP, diversity and inclusion in fundraising seek to achieve a broad representation of experiences, perspectives and cultures to ensure that that the best possible thinking, ideas, opportunities and solutions are considered; intentionally create a respectful and welcoming environment that is open to all; and appreciate the unique contributions of every member of the community.
Herbert and Brown said that although many nonprofits are aware of demographic shifts, many still view minority groups as recipients of charitable benefits, rather than producers, contributors or donors.
To promote both diversity and inclusion in nonprofit organizations, they recommend the following:
- Recognize that differences can and should be embraced by the leadership.
- Look beyond the obvious.
- Seek others who are not represented in leadership’s immediate circle, i.e., individuals who have skills and experiences an organization lacks.
- When finding these individuals becomes difficult, cultivate new leaders.
- Talk about it. Reach out. Ask somebody.