Special Report: Business On Board, Diversity
The term diversity is taking on new distinctions. When it comes to boards tackling issues like funding, recruitment and delivery of services, thinking that challenges the status quo is important. One of the newer terms being applied to this is “diversity of thought”. Boards should be applauded that have this as well as visible diversity. Which brings me to a question asked at my presentation.
Is “We have diversity of thought” an adequate response to the question, “Do you have a diverse board?”
In real terms, yes. Board leadership can answer any question in any way they choose. However, answering this question in this way is a “cop out” when this response is all that is given. Questions to follow up with are…
- What is the cultural, gender, racial, (and so on) profile of your board? (The diversity dimensions identified by Marilyn Loden & Judy B. Rosener in their Workforce in America are useful guides in determining the profile of a board. )
- Is the board inclusive? (Inclusion is different from diversity.)
- Does your board reflect the community in which you live and/or serve?
- Do you have the skill sets that will enable you to deliver on your mission?
- Are you attracting diversity among your volunteers and suppliers?
- Would that answer alone be enough to get grants?
We have difficulty finding diverse board members who have the financial resources to give at the level we require, what outreach strategies can you recommend?
Participants brainstormed and responded:
- Know the centers of influence: Churches, chambers of commerce
- Do a board matrix. Identify the gaps
- Communicate WIIFT (what’s in it for them)
- Solicit sponsorships that take the place of the financial responsibilities
- Allow in-kind services
- Reach out at grad events, trade schools
- Use ads
- Do cross training with other boards
- Ask previous board members to come back
- Use social media
- Have contributions be more than financial
- Consider advisory boards without a requirement for financial giving
- Have a board development committee
Is there anything you would like to add to the conversation? If so, post your comment.