When Charities Review Council surveyed its nonprofit partners a few years ago, the organization found that 86% of them needed additional support to meet the Council’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Standard, one of the 25 Accountability Standards® the organization uses to inform donors and strengthen nonprofits. In response, Council leaders launched its DEI Toolkit in 2017 to help organizations look at three key areas: 1) people, who reflect an organization’s diversity; 2) processes, which demonstrate an organization’s culture of inclusion; and 3) power structures, which show how an organization makes decisions that lead to greater equity.
While the DEI Toolkit has been an important tool for many nonprofits, former Operations Manager Abby Wellan said that the Council realized its own internal diversity, equity and inclusion goals had taken a backseat. “When we did our new strategic plan, we made sure that DEI went to the top of our list again.”
As a result, the Council has revised its handbook and holiday policies, budgeted for staff professional development on the topic, hired a consultant to help apply an equity lens to job postings, and added a diversity, equity and inclusion statement to its bylaws and articles of incorporation. In addition, the Council now pays interns in an effort to remove barriers. “Internships are a big indicator of career success,” says Wellan. “But if you don’t pay people, it perpetuates a lack of diversity in candidates.”
Importantly, the Council staff and board have committed to regularly assess the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and share its results transparently. “We know doing so will hold us accountable and also provide helpful tips for others,” says Wellan.