The Role of DEI in Today’s Nonprofit
Recently, a master’s level student and her professor at Mindanao State University in the Philippines asked me to lecture their class on nonprofit management principles. Since I enjoy teaching, I loved this class interaction. The student had actually read my NonProfit PRO blogs and looked me up on LinkedIn. Through the years, I have engaged readers across the world through my articles.
I strongly believe in LinkedIn, which has more than 774 million registered members. I constantly update my LinkedIn profile, and personally have more than 9,135 followers and 500-plus connections. One feature that I have continually learned through interactions on LinkedIn is the concept of diversity with people across the globe.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the nonprofit sector is especially important. There are two types of DEI, according to The San Diego Foundation. DEI in the workplace that creates an organizational culture is known as inward DEI while the way a nonprofit interacts with its stakeholders — volunteers, donors, friends, board members and other external partners — is outward DEI. True DEI integration involves a strategy of both approaches working together. A nonprofit needs to have a broad external reach and a diverse team that can expand a nonprofit’s horizon and possibilities. Diversity also enables an organization to be healthy and vibrant.
The U.S. population is more ethnically diverse than ever before and those new shifts in demographics have implications for the nonprofit sector. The diversification of donor bases plus development staff are now providing new ways to grow revenue. Actions for success need to involve the concept of DEI.
Ways you can drive DEI strategies for fundraising success include:
- Changing the organizational culture to understand diverse donor bases.
- Using tools to understand the diversity component of your donor base.
- Structuring a variety of communication tools to attract diversity in donors.
- Thinking of donors in a holistic way.
- Using DEI strategies for fundraising impact through research.
A white paper from The Association of Fundraising Professionals, “In Diversity and Inclusion in Healthcare Advancement: Changing Behaviors and Outcomes,” found diverse fundraising teams are more creative and engage a wider array of donors at a deeper level.
Suggestions for strategies that can change fundraising organizations include:
- Defining DEI for your advancement program.
- Devoting resources to diversity and holding recruiters to diverse standards.
- Paying careful attention to job descriptions and postings.
- Establishing measurable diversity goals and tracking progress.
- Embracing diversity that will pay off in increased engagement of donors and dollars generated.
Diversity is needed on your team, and research has shown that diverse companies are more innovative and creative. People who have a wide array of life experiences and varied backgrounds have different views that enhance sustainable success.
Here are eight ways you can build a more diverse team:
- Think about diversity from the start.
- Address all aspects of diversity.
- Improve your recruiting strategy.
- Celebrate employee differences.
- Stop and listen to your employees.
- Provide leadership development opportunities.
- Improve your own leadership skills.
- Evaluate your efforts.
The world and your nonprofits are changing quickly. Your donor base is also evolving. You need to take these factors into consideration when building your nonprofit staff. If your organization embraces DEI strategies, the improvements will show in greater revenue, broader organizational awareness and improved perception. It will also expand your horizons and partnerships. Creativity and uniqueness will set your organization apart from the pack.
Your nonprofit leadership goal should be to transform your organization in a variety of ways. Your organization encompasses a variety of donors, friends and volunteers. Make integration and diversity real for your organizational workplace. Your institutional culture will change in a positive way over time.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy.