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How to Create an Inclusive and Diversified Non-profit Team

Equality and diversity are two buzzwords often used very lightly by many businesses that only aim to follow through with certain policy expectations. Too often it’s all about image and reputation instead about the actual issues. However, in the world of non-profits, the merits of a diversified team structure trump many hurdles organisations need to surpass. Fostering equality through difference actually has a tendency to make us smarter, more productive, and better at what we do, which is something every single non-profit needs.

No matter the cause that is at the heart of your organisation, every non-profit can benefit from practicing what it preaches. Whether it’s hiring more people of colour when they work with such communities, or providing education to those in need, your hiring strategies need to reflect your core values. This is something that will not only boost your standing, but also help achieve your goals as a group. Here are several ways in which you can ensure greater diversity and live by your words at the workplace, as well.

1

Know and grow your culture

Equality and diversity are not empty mantras, but should be treated as core values of a non-profit. As such, the very effort to implement diversity policies, spot issues, and work around setbacks needs to come from the top. That said, your overall culture is a clear reflection of how well you truly empower diversity in your offices and in your work relationships.

Take a closer look at your vision, mission, purpose, as well as all other key statements that define your organisation’s identity. They are the very core of how you conduct yourself and how you treat one another, hence the need to use them as beacons of diversity. This will also serve as a wonderful tool to educate your employees and make sure any new candidates fit your culture if they share your diversity values.

2

Rethink your hiring methods

The typical selection process that happens behind the scenes of any major organisation is a helpful source of insight when it comes to spotting unwanted bias. More often than not, management might use outdated hiring practices and biased selection criteria that prevent true diversity from permeating any non-profit culture. This is something many modern-day organisations still struggle with, thus unintentionally causing diversity issues in the workplace.

Every step of the process should be created with diversity in mind. Some of the most diversity-focused organisations rely on disability employment services that will connect them with the most qualified employees that will also enrich their culture. They will receive the support and guidance they need to adapt to their new workplace, and you’ll be richer for new team members that value your work. Finally, review your interview process, and educate your hiring teams to look for gaps in their selection strategy so as to be more inclusive when considering new candidates.

3

Teach your leaders

When you think of training and education, you most likely restrict yourself to the image of educating your employees. However, they will most often mimic and follow in the footsteps of the people that are their superiors in any organisation, and non-profits are no different. That is why this learning curve shouldn’t circumvent the very top of your structure. After all, if they are to be leaders, they need to take the lead in every sense of the phrase, including the notion of building a more diverse mindset.

Too often, organisations deal with bias that is deeply-rooted into their structure, without ever addressing the issue directly and from top to bottom. The fact that many managers and executives throw around “diversity” into their speeches doesn’t mean they fully understand what it means. Implement training and workshops specifically for the management of your organisation to make sure they avoid bias in decision making, and proper communication in the workplace. Keep in mind that these efforts should go beyond language, but move to everyday treatment and care of your employees with different backgrounds.

4

Empower what makes your teams different

Much like with everything else in life, your diversity efforts boil down to actions, not just promises. Now that we are dealing with global organisations with employees scattered across the world, from all walks of life indeed, we need to step up to the challenge of making each and every one of those employees feel welcome. Even the smallest of gestures can help someone feel as part of the team.

How about serving a national dish of some of your minority team members for lunch? Or offering your religious employees a prayer room instead of the standard pool table and lazy bag space. You have single parents among your teams? Why not provide them with extra flexibility in their schedule, offer childcare, or simply ask them what they need? Sometimes all it takes is a little active listening to find the right solution for your diversity issues.

Further information

We live in an era when we have the means to live up to our own expectations when it comes to embracing differences in the workplace. Use these tips to make your culture more inclusive, and your non-profit will flourish with more productive, innovative, happier teams at your disposal.

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Page last edited Sep 12, 2019 History

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