Programs and Constituents

Note: For the purposes of this website, an organization's constituents are defined as the people who benefit from the services provided by the organization. Certain individuals may be both beneficiaries of services and supporters. However, donors who give money to an organization but who do not directly benefit from the services provided are not, for the purposes of this website, considered constituents. To refer to those who receive services from programs, human services organizations often use the terms "clients" or "consumers," while arts organizations may use the terms "audience members" or "visitors," and education-related organizations may refer to "students." This section uses the term "constituents" to include all of these groups.

The Denver Foundation's Inclusiveness Project stresses that inclusive organizations are generally more effective than organizations that are not inclusive. There are many ways an organization's inclusiveness demonstrates effectiveness, such as the ability to raise money from diverse communities and the ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders. However, the most important indicator of effectiveness related to inclusiveness is usually an organization's ability to develop and implement inclusive programs successfully. An organization's programs are the manifestation of the organization's mission. Other elements of inclusiveness generally help to ensure that an organization's programs serve all of the target populations effectively.

For example, one important reason to have an inclusive board of directors is to ensure that the board gives consideration to issues of inclusiveness when they develop policies related to the organization's program and mission.

Programs and constituents involve two key variables:

  • Quantity: Are the people who benefit from your programs roughly equivalent to the demographics of the population you're trying to serve? For the most part, this is a question related to constituents.
  • Quality: Do constituents who are people of color and white people receive equal benefits and services from your work? For the most part, this is a question related to programs.

Complete Benefits and Barriers to More Inclusive Programs and Diverse Constituents and Analyzing Information. 

Complete Developing an Action Plan for Programs. 

Defining Your Target Population 

Tracking and Evaluating How Constituents Use Your Programs

Approaches to Program Design 

Examples of Impact of Inclusiveness on Program Effectiveness  

Creating More Inclusive Programs and More Diverse Constituents 

    Developing Partnerships with Others Who Have Cultural Competence in Your Field 

     Asking Constituents for Suggestions 

     Creating a Programs/Constituents Advisory Board 

     Finding a Mentor

Visit Related Links and search under "Program Development" for more on this topic.


Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be ...Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you'll live as you've never lived before.     
     Erich Fromm