Readiness Exam

This worksheet was created by The Denver Foundation’s Inclusiveness Project
(http://www.nonprofitinclusiveness.org)
to support organizations doing inclusiveness work.

A Word version is attached. 

Becoming more inclusive requires a commitment to an in-depth, extended process. The following short pre-test will help you determine whether this process is appropriate for your organization at this time. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers - the purpose of this assessment is to help you determine whether the process is a good fit for your organization. If it is not, you can take other steps to work on inclusiveness, some of which are explained at the end of this assessment. You will tally your answers after completing question six.

This pre-test has been designed to be taken by an organization's CEO/executive director, board chair, or other senior-level staff or board leadership. Most questions will rely on your impressions and opinions, which may or may not be the same as those of other members of your organization. It may be helpful for individuals within an organization to have a discussion about the answers after taking the pre-test, prior to embarking on your inclusiveness work.


1. Which of the following choices best summarizes your organization's focus regarding inclusiveness/diversity? (select one)

a. We are primarily interested in having more staff and/or board members of color.

b. We are interested in incorporating inclusiveness into all that we do - changing the way our organization meets its mission, our culture, and environment related to race and ethnicity, and how we recruit and retain people of color as board, staff, volunteers, and clients.

c. We are primarily interested in improving our services/reaching out to clients of color.

2. Based on your knowledge, which of the following statements would best characterize your CEO or executive director's approach to inclusiveness? (select one)

a. Our CEO/ED believes that inclusiveness matters, but that we have other priorities to focus on right now (fundraising, strategic plan, capital campaign, etc.).

b. Our CEO/ED would go along with an inclusiveness initiative if the board of directors or a major funder strongly recommended it.

c. Our CEO/ED believes that our organization should not take race or ethnicity into account in any area of our work.

d. Our CEO/ED believes that being inclusive is simply the right thing to do.

e. Our CEO/ED believes that inclusiveness will help our organization to raise more money.

f. Our CEO/ED believes that inclusiveness will help us to better meet our mission, such as in the following ways: raising more funds, improving services and programs, and better meeting the needs of our community.

g. Our CEO/ED believes that our organization should become more diverse to respond to community pressure or expectations.

3. Based on your knowledge, which of the following statements would best characterize the approach of your board of directors to inclusiveness? (select one)

a. Our board thinks that inclusiveness is generally a good thing.

b. Many members of our board of directors strongly believe being more inclusive would help us to better meet our mission, and they raise issues related to race and ethnicity often (i.e., when discussing program policies, suggesting training for the board, etc.).

c. Most members of our board of directors prefer that we not take race or ethnicity into account in any area of our work.

d. Our board of directors does not seem to have strong positive or negative feelings about inclusiveness.

4. Current organization focus/priorities: (check all that apply)

__ Our organization is in the midst of (or about to embark on) a major capital campaign.

__ Our organization is in the process of a leadership transition at the CEO/ED level.

__ Our organization is currently addressing a crisis (i.e., loss of a major funder, major influx of clients, federal or state funding cuts, etc.)

__ Our organization is in the midst of a major reorganization.

5. The level of resources that you believe your organization can commit to an inclusiveness initiative: (select one)

a. We have (or can access through funders) funds available ($3,000 or more), and are able to make inclusiveness a priority for our staff and board's time and energy right now.

b. We are able to make inclusiveness a priority for our staff and board's time, but we do not have funds available.

c. We have funds available ($3,000 or more), but our staff and board have other priorities right now.

6. The kind of work your organization would be willing to engage in for an inclusiveness initiative: (select one)

a. We would like to undergo diversity/inclusiveness training about culture, diversity, race relations, and/or racism.

b. We would like to complete an organizational assessment that provides information about our work in relation to race and ethnicity and that provides information that we will use to create an inclusiveness blueprint (i.e., a diversity strategic plan).

c. We would like to undergo diversity/inclusiveness training about culture, diversity, race relations, and/or racism and we would like to complete an organizational assessment that provides information about our work in relation to race and ethnicity and that provides information that we will use to create an inclusiveness blueprint (i.e., a diversity strategic plan).

Answer Key

Convert your answers to numbers.

Question 1: a = 3, b = 6, c = 4

Question 2: a = 1, b = 2, c = 0, d = 3, e = 2, f = 4, g = 2

Question 3: a = 3, b = 4, c = 0, d = 2

Question 4: Subtract four points from the total score for each line checked.

Question 5: a = 3, b = 2, c = 1

Question 6: a = 1, b = 3, c = 5

Record your total here: ____________

Total 14 - 21: Good fit
Your organization is probably ready to Consider a Comprehensive Initiative.

Total 8 - 13: Moderate fit
Your organization may wish to start more gradually by focusing on specific pieces of inclusiveness. (Use Search or visit any of the Doors to explore specific pieces of inclusiveness.) Your organization may wish to take six months to a year to plan for a comprehensive initiative.

Total 0 - 7: Not a good fit at this time
The comprehensive initiative process is likely not a good fit for your organization's current interests and resources. Read on to see the six key areas, each of which includes several options for inclusiveness work for organizations whose needs don't match the resources available in Consider a Comprehensive Initiative.

Characteristics That Will Affect Your Organization's Ability to Go Through the Initiative Process: Six Key Areas
Regardless of your organization's total on the quick quiz above, you will find it helpful to take these areas into account when deciding whether the comprehensive initiative is a good fit for your organization. 

1. Focus on Inclusiveness Versus Diversity
This process is designed for organizations that are interested in becoming more inclusive in a comprehensive way that will affect all areas of their organization, from programs to governance.

This process is not well suited for organizations primarily focused only on increasing the representation of individuals of color at board or staff levels. These organizations will likely find, though, that changing organizational culture, recruitment and retention practices, and other policies and procedures in a deeper way will have an important effect on the organization's ability to recruit and retain individuals of color into all levels, including staff, volunteers, clients, and Board members.

If your organization is primarily interested in diversity (i.e., increasing representation at different levels of your organization), we recommend that you engage in discussions internally about the reasons behind your organization's desire to increase representation of individuals of color, the factors that influence your ability to do so, and the benefits of inclusiveness. You may also wish to consult respected colleagues within your field who are working toward deeper inclusiveness, or who have successful inclusiveness practices, about their work. 

2. Strong CEO/ED Commitment
Research has shown that the level of commitment to inclusiveness from the CEO/ED, whether white or a person of color, is a key factor in becoming more inclusive.

We recommend that organizations that do not currently have a strong, deep commitment from their leadership not go through this workbook at this time, even if all other factors are present.

If your organization does not have a strong commitment from your CEO/ED, you may wish to have board members or other staff talk with your CEO about why you feel inclusiveness is important.

Furthermore, you may recommend that your CEO/ED talk with colleagues in your field who have strong inclusiveness practices about their work, including the benefits and challenges of an inclusiveness initiative.

You may also wish to work through Making the Case for Inclusiveness as an exercise to clarify the benefits of inclusiveness for your organization.

However, we recommend that you do not go through the full workbook process until your organization has a strong commitment from the CEO/ED in place, including the desire to lead an inclusiveness initiative for your organization.

3. Board Commitment
Commitment from your board of directors will help institutionalize inclusiveness at your organization because the board is responsible for making policies, governance, and hiring the CEO/ED.

If your organization has weak or moderate support for an inclusiveness initiative at the board level, but has all of the other key items in place, you may wish to go through this workbook process.

Some organizations may find that their board members do not fully understand the benefits of inclusiveness for the organization.

If this is the case, completing Making the Case for Inclusiveness, and then presenting your findings to your board, could be a way of helping your board become more supportive of your initiative.

Furthermore, you may wish to engage an inclusiveness trainer or consultant (Find Consultants and Training Resources) to help your board understand the ways that race and ethnicity affect your organization's work.

4. Environment

Competing Initiatives

  • If your organization is currently involved in an initiative that requires a great deal of time and energy, such as a capital campaign, now is likely not the best time to take on inclusiveness work, as it will only compete with your other priorities.
  • It's best to wait until your organization has completed other potentially competing initiatives and then begin the process detailed in this process.

Addressing a Crisis

If your organization is currently facing a crisis, such as a drastic cut in funding, it's best to focus your energy on stabilizing your organization prior to beginning this process.

Leadership Change or Reorganization

If your organization is in the midst of a leadership change or reorganization, it's best to wait until that change is complete, as the leadership of the CEO/ED is vital to a successful inclusiveness initiative.

5. Willingness to Commit Resources
The process described in Inclusiveness Initiative will take resources - time, energy, and funds. For your work to be successful, it is important that your organization have adequate resources in place. This process is designed for organizations that are able to commit time and resources for an extended period - from six to eighteen months. Organizations should be prepared to make the inclusiveness work a priority.

If your organization is ready to do this, but does not have funds available, you may wish to spend a year planning for the initiative by going through the Costs and Time Factors of Doing Inclusiveness Work, Roles and Responsibilities of People Who Work on Inclusiveness, Making the Case for Inclusiveness, What is an Inclusiveness Blueprint?, and Find Consultants and Training Resources and setting funds aside in your budget (or request financial support from individuals or institutions) for next year.

Organizations that have funds available for work but do not have time should set aside those funds until they can commit staff and/or volunteer time and energy. The funds you'll need will depend on your organization's size, access to volunteer resources, and ability to devote staff time and energy (see Costs and Time Factors of Doing Inclusiveness Work).

6. Willingness to Participate in Both Organizational Development and Inclusiveness Training
This process is designed for organizations that are interested in both training about race and ethnicity and evaluating and addressing any existing weaknesses in their organization's programs, practices, and policies. Both areas are intertwined and dependent upon one another for the eventual success of your inclusiveness initiative. The relationship between these two areas is further explained in Training Resources.

If your organization is focused solely on inclusiveness training, this process is probably not right for you. Such organizations may decide to engage the services of an inclusiveness trainer.

Then, after completing training, these organizations often consider how to institutionalize the benefits of that training in all areas of your organization, at which point you may want to return to the initiative process.

If your organization is focused solely on changing policies and programs related to inclusiveness, this process is not quite right for you, as it relies on the connection between the individual work done through training about culture, race, and ethnicity and inclusiveness policies and practices in the workplace.

However, the degree to which your organization engages in each of these areas is up to you: some organizations may choose to do a multi-day inclusiveness training retreat and gradually work on organizational development, while others may choose to spread out small chunks of training over the course of a year and work intensely on organizational development.

Note that the above characteristics will likely fluctuate over time.

  • For example, your board might be mildly interested in inclusiveness at the start of your initiative, and fully committed by the time that you are through.
  • Or, your organization might have a great deal of staff time to commit to the initiative over the summer during a programming lull, but less staff time to commit during the winter. Such changes are to be expected.
  • The most important thing is that your organization and its leadership make a continued commitment to addressing inclusiveness in your organization.

Additional Helpful Qualities
In addition to meeting the characteristics of the above six areas, the following qualities will likely be helpful to your organization as you go through the initiative process. Unlike the above six areas (especially numbers one and two), these qualities are not strictly necessary for an inclusiveness initiative following the model detailed in this process:

  • Open to feedback about the organization's work.
  • Expectation that this work will include difficulty and discomfort.
  • Strong internal and external communication systems, both formal and informal.
  • Organization's ability to change.
  • Conflict-resolution skills within the organization.
  • An internal culture of respect.
  • A belief in the value of differences.
  • A belief that race and culture matter in the delivery of services.
  • Ability to set and reach goals and objectives.
  • Ability to track, measure, and evaluate progress.

If your organization does not currently have one or more of the above qualities (e.g., you may believe that your organization can improve its conflict-resolution skills), you can choose to address that as a part of your initiative (e.g., by looking at how race and culture affect conflict during inclusiveness training sessions).

Summary
Inclusiveness work is a marathon, not a sprint: it will take time, patience, and endurance. Through the course of this process, your organization will likely experience highs and lows, and it will need internal strength and external support. But, at the completion of the process, you will have a concrete blueprint for how to make your organization more inclusive and will be well on your way to implementing this plan.

Your plan should improve your ability to do some or all of the following: serve current and prospective clients, recruit and retain staff and board members, meet the needs of your community, solve problems creatively and effectively, and fulfill your mission. In short, committed organizations ready for the process will probably find it well worth their while.

 

ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENT RESOURCE: The National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) developed the Cultural Competence and Linguistic Competence Policy Assessment (CLCPA) at the request of the Bureau of Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the US Department of Health and Human Services. It is available on NCCC's website.

AttachmentSize
Readiness Exam.doc52.5 KB

Post new comment

Type the characters shown in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated.