Ethnic Diversity in Boards

A recent Board Source study looked at racial demographics of nonprofit board members as compared to the 2014 U.S. census. Below are the main findings. diversity

  • 25% of all boards remain all White.
  • People of color remain underrepresented in nonprofit leadership as compared to their representation in society.
  • 80% of board members are White as compared to 73% of all Americans.
  • 9.9% of board members are Black as compared to 12.7% of all Americans.

Many nonprofit boards discuss diversity; however, there is a disconnect between planning and follow through. In the study, a few questions were posed to help guide a nonprofit board to include diversity on their recruitment agenda. One such question is “why do we want to diversify our board and how will a diverse board enhance our organization?” First, it should be more than a numbers game or to fill a quota. It is also about diversity of behaviors, practices, perspectives, and experiences. With a diverse board, it “sends a message and sets an example about the organization’s values.”

Hopefully the board agrees that diversity is important. However, what processes are in place to recruit diverse board members? The answer according to the Board Source study is to “establish written diversity policies, develop intentional plans to recruit diverse board members, provide equal access to board leadership opportunities, and pay careful attention to social inclusion practices.” In addition, existing minority board members can aid in “identifying the success factors that got them on your board, and the barriers they may have encountered on the way, which need to be removed.”

To read the full study, click on Race-Role-Board-Recruitment.

Please take our poll below to find out how our local nonprofits stack up to the national survey.

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