How to Increase Board Diversity in Your Nonprofit

Achieve Board Diversity with an Executive Search

A nonprofit’s board of directors is responsible for overseeing and voting on the organization’s activities as well as enhancing the organization’s public standing. As decision-making is a crucial aspect of this role, it’s valuable to have diverse perspectives. To ensure your nonprofit is making the best decisions, you’ll want to achieve board diversity.

What is Board Diversity?

A boardroom should ideally be full of diverse members, consisting of those with different backgrounds, skills, expertise, cultures, and experiences. When together, members should form a working body that reflects society, creating a complete board, equipped to guide the strategic mission of the nonprofit. For example, some members may specialize in finance and fundraising while others are excellent at marketing and communication. Each person should lend their expertise as well as their own unique experiential lens, deepening the knowledge base of the board.

Why is Board Diversity Important?

While there is no prescribed recipe for a perfect board composition, it’s important to have more than one person with competence in each area. This ensures a level playing field that allows for multiple perspectives to be heard when discussing important matters. A diverse boardroom expands organizational knowledge, broadens your base of experience, and deepens cultural insight for the nonprofit, assuring better decision-making capacity. Diversity can also favorably influence the hiring process for the entire organization, attracting talent from a wide spectrum of experiences and cultures. A diverse group of leaders at the top of an organization signals inclusivity to the entire community especially organizational managers and front-line workers.

How Does Diversity Improve Board Performance?

A diverse boardroom will be able to consider all concerns, perspectives, and sides of a situation. Diversity can provide a fresh look at issues and likely present different solutions than what may have been discussed among a group of people with similar backgrounds. Beyond boardroom performance, diversity within an organization can motivate investors, donors, volunteers, and the community at large to be more engaged. If these key stakeholders feel represented, they are more likely to show interest, involvement, and support.

How Can My Nonprofit Achieve Board Diversity?

Growing your board to be more diverse takes time. First, the internal reflection must happen so that your board accepts that it needs to expand with different types of people. You may realize that the board is facing the same issues or complications over and over, a clear sign that change needs to happen. Next, a search committee must be formed. But before they start posting job openings online, they should reach out to an executive search firm that can help.

The Benefits of an Executive Search Firm

An executive search firm, like DCM Associates, is experienced in expanding boardrooms to increase diversity. We have an effective five-step strategy for executive searches that will help your board identify any shortcomings, implicit biases, and structural needs; and then a commitment to a strategy to find your ideal candidates. From there, we do the hard work of sourcing the best candidates using our incredible network. Then, your search committee can interview only the best.

When your committee finds a new board member, our work isn’t done. Our team provides ongoing support to help with onboarding and navigating any challenges or resistance that may come with a change in your board. To start an executive search with us, schedule a consultation online. We can discuss your boardroom needs during the call and how we can help.

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Dennis C. Miller