Inclusivity and Diversity
An organization can take the first step toward advancing equality by simply writing a statement that communicates its values and its stance on inclusivity and/or diversity. Next, the organization should be genuinely prepared to act on its words. An organization’s claim to diversity carries more weight when an environment is created that feels welcoming to everyone, and where each individual feels he or she is a valued contributor toward the organization’s success.
The process used to develop these statements is a learning exercise for many organizations. Some groups may find it essential to listen to the input and contributions from staff, partners, and other stakeholders – and then incorporate this input during the creation of written public statements about inclusivity and diversity. Other organizations may consider creating their own definitions of common terms. For instance, as part of its inclusiveness initiative, The Denver Foundation has made a distinction between the terms “diversity” and “inclusiveness” with the description below:
What are Diversity and Inclusiveness?
- Many people use the terms “diversity” and “inclusiveness” interchangeably. The Expanding Nonprofit Inclusiveness Initiative considers them to have very different meanings.
- Diversity describes the extent to which an organization has people from diverse backgrounds and communities working as board members, staff, and/or volunteers.
- Inclusive organizations not only have diverse individuals involved; more importantly, they are learning-centered organizations that value the perspectives and contributions of all people, and strive to incorporate the needs and viewpoints of diverse communities into the design and implementation of universal and inclusive programs. Inclusive organizations are, by definition, diverse at all levels.