Diversity advantage in NGOs
Leadership Diversity in the Nonprofit Sector: Baby Steps, Big Strides, and Bold Stances, by Carleton Universityís Chris Fredette, is based on three surveys of more than 420 organizations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It finds that a diverse board contributes to overall board effectiveness by, for example, safeguarding and fulfilling the mission of the organization and enhancing fiduciary oversight. Board diversity also improves stakeholder relationships, increases the organizationís responsiveness to the community and their clients, and brings fresh perspectives to decision-making. The report also finds that once a critical mass of 30% leadership diversity is reached, there is an increase in reported benefits.
Despite the overwhelming advantages of leadership diversity, the research found that visible minorities continue to be underrepresented in nonprofit boards in the GTA. While visible minorities make up 40% of the GTAís population, of the 4,254 board positions examined only 15.6% are held by visible minorities.
The report includes a number of recommendations for organizations that wish to strengthen their board, including understanding and communicating the benefits of leadership diversity and aligning diversity efforts to the organizationís mission and mandate.