How to Make the Case for Inclusiveness in Your Organization


Because building shared ownership for inclusiveness work is essential, all steps are intended to involve all appropriate stakeholders.

In general, the more people who are involved in providing input regarding making the case, the better. However, it is also important that your organization make measurable progress, so you should not develop a cumbersome, drawn-out process that discourages people. Strive for a middle ground between too much and too little input from key stakeholders that works for your organization.

Here is a helpful process for how to make the case for inclusiveness:

  • Discuss how inclusiveness will help advance the mission of your organization.
  • Identify how you currently engage with the people you serve.
  • Visualize greater inclusiveness in your organization in a variety of areas: mission; programs; fundraising, marketing, and communications; operations; composition of staff, board, volunteers, donors; and organizational culture.
  • List specific potential costs to your organization of not being inclusive.
  • List specific benefits to your organization of becoming more inclusive.
  • Articulate reasons (e.g., the four imperatives) for doing inclusiveness work.
  • Plan how to put your case statement into action by engaging in inclusiveness work.

Your Inclusiveness Committee, with input from other stakeholders, should develop your case statement. Ultimately, the board of directors should ratify the statement. You will revisit the case statement after you have completed your blueprint to make sure that it still reflects the needs of the inclusiveness initiative; thus, it need not feel final at this time.

Definitions of Inclusiveness and of Inclusive Organizations (NARRATIVE)

Who Are Your Stakeholders? (NARRATIVE)

Reasons for Doing Inclusiveness Work: The Four Imperatives

Caution Color-Blind Approach for Organizations Is Ineffective

Sample Case Statements


Once your organization has made its case for doing inclusiveness work, The Denver Foundation hopes your organization will choose to engage in an ongoing inclusiveness initiative. An inclusiveness initiative is a concerted, organized effort on the part of an organization to become more inclusive of people of color (and other diverse groups, if your organization has decided to have a broader focus). A concerted, organized effort is much more effective than disconnected short-term activities.


Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
     Martin Luther King Jr.