Frequently Asked Questions about the Inclusiveness Project

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What is the Inclusiveness Project (IP)?

Why should we care about inclusiveness?

How much will an inclusiveness initiative cost?  How can we fundraise for this work?

Are there diversity and inclusiveness consultants or trainers who you recommend? How much do they charge?

How much time will the Executive Director and other staff members need to dedicate to an inclusiveness initiative?

When will we be done with inclusiveness work? How long will it take?

Where do we/how do we find staff and board members of color?

Why does The Denver Foundation focus its inclusiveness materials on race and ethnicity? What if our organization wants to focus on more than race and ethnicity?

Some members of my organization aren't on board regarding inclusiveness. How can I help them to see the value in inclusiveness?

What is The Denver Foundation doing about its own inclusiveness? Is it "walking the talk"?

What is the Inclusiveness Project (IP)?
The mission of the Inclusiveness Project is to engage with Metro Denver nonprofits, including philanthropy, to become more inclusive of people of color. IP develops research and tools to help organizations achieve this goal. Since its launch in 2001, IP has conducted qualitative and quantitative research about inclusiveness in Metro Denver nonprofits, made presentations on the best practices and barriers to inclusiveness to Denver-area board and staff members of nonprofits, provided grant support to nonprofits working on inclusiveness, and developed numerous resource tools. (Read more in About Us/History
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Why should we care about inclusiveness?
Inclusiveness has a demographic, mission, business, and equity imperative for nonprofit organizations. Most of us are familiar with the suggestion that being more inclusive is simply the right thing to do. It is equally important that inclusiveness will affect the bottom line of nonprofit organizations: for example, organizations with more inclusive fundraising efforts will likely find that they can tap into more sources of funding; having a more inclusive organizational culture and hiring process will usually allow a nonprofit to attract and retain qualified staff; more inclusive programs and communications with clients and potential clients (thereby reaching more people) will likely help raise the income of organizations that collect fees-for-services.

Nonprofits are charged with improving their communities and the lives of the people in their communities, whether it is by providing mental health services, enrichment through the arts, food, or any number of other resources. As demographics change, nonprofits will need to understand and be able to meet the needs of a more diverse population if they wish to remain relevant and more effectively fulfill their missions.
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How much will an inclusiveness initiative cost?  How can we fundraise for this work?
It depends. Typical costs include consultants/trainers, research/assessment costs, and meeting expenses. While there is no minimum budget required, at least $3,000 is a good minimum budget number to use to cover basic training costs. If you can't invest significant resources on an inclusiveness initiative, it can still be done; it'll just require more of your internal resources. If you have very limited financial resources to commit, we encourage you to focus your available resources on inclusiveness or diversity training.

It is important to incorporate inclusiveness work into your budget as you would any other programmatic or operational expense. Contact your current funders and talk to them about your inclusiveness initiative. Be honest about the successes you've achieved and the challenges you've faced in working toward inclusiveness. Remember to connect your inclusiveness work back to your mission.
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Are there diversity and inclusiveness consultants or trainers who you recommend? How much do they charge?
There are a number of diversity/inclusiveness consultants and trainers listed in The Denver Foundation's searchable technical assistance database. The Denver Foundation does not endorse particular consultants. Hourly costs vary significantly but in Colorado, the typical range is between $75 and $175/hour.
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How much time will the Executive Director and other staff members need to dedicate to an inclusiveness initiative?
It depends on how quickly you want to move the process along and whether the Executive Director is the Chair of the Inclusiveness Committee. It is very difficult to more specifically predict the amount of time any one organization will spend, because all nonprofit organizations are so different.

Participating on the Inclusiveness Committee will probably require anywhere from two to five hours/month, depending on how often you meet and how much work volunteers take on. Chairing the Committee could take up to three times as long. Other employees not on the inclusiveness committee will also devote time to the initiative, whether it be through conducting assessments of their own department's work, taking part in trainings, or spending time developing the blueprint.

Small organizations may find that they use volunteers, such as board members or other committee volunteers, more often than larger organizations that have more staff members. Time may be more of a challenge for smaller organizations with few employees, as it might be difficult to spread tasks among a small number of employees. Tapping into volunteers or interns is also one option to help support your initiative. These and many other variables will affect how much time individual staff members and volunteers, as well as organizations as a whole, commit to an inclusiveness initiative.
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When will we be done with inclusiveness work? How long will it take?
Inclusiveness work is a lifelong journey for individuals and organizations so it's never totally finished. The average organization will usually take between 8 and 18 months to create an inclusiveness blueprint. Implementation of the blueprint will depend on how ambitious your goals are. For example, a small goal such as creating more inclusive personnel policies could be completed in as little as month or two after completing the inclusiveness blueprint. A large goal such as ensuring that your client base is more than 50 percent people of color could take many years.  

Though it is difficult to make generalizations about small versus large organizations, change usually takes longer in large organizations. Thus, the process might be a little bit shorter for a smaller organization. However, this will also depend on other variables such as an organization's individual strengths, challenges, and readiness for change.
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Where do we/how do we find staff and board members of color?
We recommend that you look at staff/board diversity as one element of a larger inclusiveness initiative. While establishing more diversity among your staff and board members is an important part of creating a more inclusive organization, it is best done in tandem with a more holistic approach to inclusiveness that involves all aspects of your organization, from its overall internal culture and programs to its mission and volunteers.

Create an inclusiveness committee with current board and staff members to establish goals that relate to other aspects of your organization. We've found that when you begin working on the blueprint, you will develop authentic relationships that allow you to branch out into new communities. Over time, these new relationships will help you spread the word regarding job announcements and volunteer opportunities.
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Why does The Denver Foundation focus its inclusiveness materials on race and ethnicity? What if our organization wants to focus on more than race and ethnicity?
The Denver Foundation's Inclusiveness Project focuses on race and ethnicity for many reasons.

(1) The Foundation wants to understand and help others understand more about how race relations specifically impact nonprofit organizations. The Foundation, in its work in the community, has received feedback that many nonprofit organizations are very interested in inclusiveness, specifically as it relates to race and ethnicity, but need tools to help them address this issue.

(2) The Foundation believes that, in light of the demographic shifts happening in Colorado and throughout the United States, many nonprofits do not have the tools necessary to deal with these rapid changes, and that there is an urgency to work with nonprofits so that organizations can better respond to the needs of their changing community.

(3) The Foundation has limited resources and wants to focus its resources on one issue, namely race, related to inclusiveness practices to make a significant impact. The Foundation values all types of inclusiveness, and believes that, as organizations better understand how to become inclusive of people of color, those lessons will help them build inclusiveness related to other diverse populations.

The Denver Foundation values all forms of inclusiveness, as shown by the Foundation's Anti-Discrimination Policy: The Denver Foundation shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers, selection of vendors, and provision of services.

All forms of inclusiveness are essential. Although focused on race and ethnicity, much of the work and information presented here can be transferred to help organizations become inclusive of other traditionally marginalized groups. We do recommend that organizations focus and define what inclusiveness means for them. It can be tempting to create an expansive definition of inclusiveness, but this can make the work even more overwhelming. We've found successful organizations are those that are able to more specifically define inclusiveness.
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Some members of my organization aren't on board regarding inclusiveness. How can I help them to see the value in inclusiveness?
It isn't necessary to have everyone in the organization fully supportive in order to begin an inclusiveness process. If they were fully supportive, chances are this would have been a priority a long time ago and there wouldn't be a need to have this conversation in the first place!  However, starting a dialogue on this issue when you have resistance from the leadership can be very difficult. If there is no commitment to inclusiveness from either the Board or staff leadership and no willingness to learn more about it, it may not be a good time to invest a lot of energy on this issue.

How are new ideas initiated within your organization? Try bringing up the conversation in a way that works within your organization's current culture. For example, during a staff meeting talk about why you have a value for inclusiveness and ask others to share whether or not they agree. Invite other staff to join you when you attend an inclusiveness workshop. Send your colleagues a link to this website and ask them what they think. There is never a perfect time to begin this important and challenging work; you have to just move forward with thoughtfulness and intention.
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What is The Denver Foundation doing about its own inclusiveness? Is it "walking the talk"?

In 2003, The Denver Foundation began its own formal internal inclusiveness initiative. We have created small groups called BRIDGE groups that meet separately to discuss inclusiveness issues and how they relate to our work. Assessments of field-wide information about inclusiveness and diversity, and surveys stakeholders for their perceptions about the Foundation's inclusiveness practices have been taken. Staff regularly assesses its own work as it relates to inclusiveness departmentally and creates and monitors plans for further inclusiveness work. We have engaged in several board education sessions as well as multiple staff trainings, and are focusing on implementing our inclusiveness blueprint. We do not have all the answers, and go about this work with humility. The major communities of color in the seven-county metro Denver area (Latino, African-American, and Asian-American) are well-represented at all levels on the board and within staff, and we aspire to uphold this level of diverse participation.

Please note - The Denver Foundation's Community Grants has new guidelines for 2013.  Click here to read more.

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For FAQs about Considering an Inclusiveness Initiative for Your Organization, click here.

 

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