Inclusiveness Initiative

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What To Do When a Potential Board Member Says "No"

 

It's likely that some of the individuals you invite to your board will be unable or unwilling to serve. High-profile people of color are very often asked to serve on boards or committees, and they often decline because they are already on other boards, or because of busy schedules.

Retaining Board Members and Utilizing Exit Interviews

 

In addition to board member recruitment, retention is an important piece of board inclusiveness.

Monitor your retention rates, considering how the retention of board members of color compares to that of white board members. Also, continue to communicate with board members about your organization's needs, and about the board members' experiences with your organization.

Recruiting Board Members of Color

Be Clear About What the Board Needs: Often organizations make a blanket statement that they need people of color to serve on the board of directors. Asking board members of color who do not have skills or characteristics that match the organization's needs to serve as directors can result in disappointments for all parties concerned. Like all candidates, individuals of color should be approached because they have capabilities that are relevant to the organization.

Creating an Inclusive Environment

 

Changing Board Culture: Changing the culture of any group of people is difficult. An organization usually creates its culture over time and groups often take as long as three years to make more substantive cultural change. Culture is often invisible, so just identifying the current characteristics of a board of directors' culture can be challenging.

Setting Goals for a More Diverse and Inclusive Board

 

To Set Numeric Goals - or Not

Before moving ahead with action steps for creating a more diverse and inclusive board, give some consideration to the extent to which your organization wants to set concrete, numeric goals regarding the composition of the Board of Directors. Some organizations choose to be very deliberate about establishing diversity goals regarding their Board composition.

Managing Volunteers: Policies and Benefits

 

Policies

Managing volunteers in many organizations often falls to staff people who do not have enough time to recruit and oversee volunteers effectively or who are not evaluated based on their ability to work with volunteers. Thus, volunteer management is sometimes done haphazardly. Though developing or updating policies isn't a silver bullet for effectively managing volunteers, policies can provide some consistency to the process and to the experience that volunteers have.

Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Base of Volunteers/Helpers

By now it shouldn't come as a surprise that the best way to build a diverse base of volunteers is to make a sustained commitment to doing so. A key element to your success will be to create an inclusive organizational culture and develop relationships with community members who feel good about supporting your organization.

Benefits of Having a Diverse Base of Volunteers

 

Any organization that has successfully developed a diverse base of volunteers and helpers can attest to the innumerable ways that such a base can help an organization. Some of the benefits are similar to the benefits of creating a diverse board of directors and staff. (Refer to Board of Directors and Personnel, for more on benefits.)