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Seize the Day! Addressing Diversity in the Nonprofit Workplace

With over 6 years of experience supporting the hiring needs of nearly 150 nonprofits, we’ve heard time and again that our clients are interested in increasing the diversity of their organizations but don’t know how.  So we set out to better understand diversity from the point of view of nonprofit professionals in order to meet the needs of those professionals and the organizations with which they work.

In partnership with Level Playing Field Institute, Commongood Careers conducted a national survey and heard from over 1,600 nonprofit professionals about their perceptions of diversity and inclusiveness in the sector. The result of this inquiry is a new report, The Voice of Nonprofit Talent: Perceptions of Diversity in the Workplace

What did we find?  That nonprofit professionals, particularly people of color, put a real value on diversity and inclusiveness and that these perceptions impact their decisions about employment.  A few key findings include:

  • Nearly 90% of employees believe that their organization values diversity. However, more than 70% believe that their employer does not do enough to create a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • More than half of employees of all races – and 71% of employees of color—attempt to evaluate a prospective employer’s commitment to diversity during the interview process.
  • More than 35% of people of color who indicated that they examine diversity during the hiring process report having previously withdrawn candidacy or declined a job offer due to a perceived lack of diversity and inclusiveness.

What does this mean for nonprofit organizations?  In the report, we outline a number of specific recommendations that nonprofits can implement in order to position themselves strongly in this area, such as building their employer brands and slowing down recruitment processes to allow for enough time to recruit diverse pools.  We believe strongly that nonprofit organizations need to pay attention to these matters now, because as the economy recovers, the competition for the best talent will only increase and the strongest employees are looking for organizations making genuine and results-oriented investments. But you are not in it alone—there are funders, consultants, trainers, nonprofit professionals, and Board members who can help you set and meet achieveable goals around diversity and inclusiveness.

What does this mean for nonprofit professionals? Remember that your voice is important and that suffering in silence doesn’t help anyone.  Please take some time to share your experiences, vocalize what is important to you, and hold organizations accountable.  By being engaged partners in the process, you can help organizations recognize the need for changes – and the consequences of not making changes – as well as help nonprofits take actions to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

This report is just the first step in starting a conversation. We invite you to take any or all of the following actions to help sustain a dialogue:

1. Download the full report here.
2. Circulate the report to funders, partners and other nonprofit champions
3. Post your reactions, questions and ideas to our blog
4. Post to Twitter with the hashtags #diversity or #nonprofit


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