Through the Inclusive Lens
How to become inclusive
So you’ve been persuaded to consider the idea of making your organization more inclusive, but you’re not sure how to do it. Here are a few ideas on how to become more inclusive.
1. Examine your mission statement to ensure that it expresses that all constituents/clients/members will be served regardless of ability.
2. Always include an accommodation statement on all marketing, invitations, websites and fundraising events. “XWY welcomes all to participate. If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact (name of person at the agency) by (a particular date) at (phone and/or e-mail).”
3. Conduct an internal analysis of the physical offices and areas where you hold activities. The Americans with Disability Act provides the guidelines. In the U.S., each state has a statute compliance office that provides resources to assist.
4. Make sure every event is held in an accessible location. If, for example, a nonprofit is holding a meeting or a class on the second floor of the building and there is no elevator, move the meeting to the first floor or an alternative location. Even if there aren’t attendees who use mobility devices or cannot use stairs, it sends an important message.
5. Examine your governing board. Are there people with disabilities on the board? They should be represented too.
6. As the self-advocacy movement so eloquently states, “Nothing about us without us!” Do not presume that you know what people with disabilities want or need from your nonprofit. If you’re planning programming, events, etc., make sure you include people with disabilities on the planning committee.
7. Perhaps most important to understand is this: Inclusion of people with disabilities should be woven into every single function of the organization because people with disabilities are part of the fabric of our community.