Nonprofits falling short when it comes to diversity

Posted on Thursday, August 9, 2018 by Jessica Salerno

Many midsize and large nonprofits know their efforts to build a diverse staff aren’t cutting it. In a recent report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, 36% of nonprofit leaders consider diversity an important goal but don’t think they’ve actually achieved it.

“Because the report is built off the beliefs of leaders as opposed to raw hiring data, there may be some differences between the perceptions of those in charge,” writes Ben Paynter of Fast Company. “In general, though, over 20% of leaders consider their staff to be “not at all” or “not very” racially or ethnically diverse. Those numbers increase to around 40% when it comes to gender identity, 25% for sexual orientation, and 60% for people with disabilities.” 

Frustratingly enough, this is not just an issue for nonprofits. According to a Howard University study, while “… the accounting profession is expected to grow by 16 percent between 2010 and 2020, applications by African Americans and Hispanics to accounting programs at colleges and universities actually are declining.”

Diversity and inclusion is regularly discussed by companies today hoping to present themselves as forward-thinking and relevant in a tough job market. But until these numbers reflect a much stronger presence of diverse candidates, those catchy marketing slogans and company mission statements on diversity mean little. Until nonprofits, the accounting profession and other industries make diversity a priority in their hiring and recruiting practices, the benefits and success that come from having a diverse staff will remain elusive.

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