Substantial evidence exists that companies with good DEI practices will not only be less likely to face adverse legal, regulatory, worker, community, and consumer backlash from their conduct, but that their boards and workforces will be more effective and their reputation with an increasingly diverse customer base and public will grow, as will trust from institutional investors increasingly focused on sustainable profitability and the avoidance of harmful externalities costly to their clients ….
Professor Chris Bruner and former Chief Justice and Chancellor of the State of Delaware Leo E. Strine, Jr.
If the board’s composition and the manner in which its composition is determined are critical to the organization’s effectiveness and viability, board members must take steps to help ensure that the recruiting, vetting, nominating, electing, orienting, educating, supporting, and retaining of board members (collectively, “Board Development Activities”) are all done in the best interests of the organization in light of its charitable purpose, values, and ecosystem. This means that board members should help to ensure that adequate resources are allocated for Board Development Activities.
Here are ten tips for furthering that goal:
- Identify what gaps the organization has with respect to its board composition
- Determine resource needs to better identify, understand, and address such gaps
- Acquire, as possible, such resources consistent with priorities
- Determine the desired impact of the diversified board that is the goal
- Build strategies and structures to ensure inclusion and appropriate power-sharing with new board members who may add to the board’s diversity
- Identify barriers to such strategies and structures and how they may be overcome or otherwise worked with or around
- Develop plans for creating and maintaining strong relationships with communities served by the organization and those that support the organization – these may be pipelines for future board members
- Ensure the plans and activities related to Board Development Activities do not tokenize any board members or minority groups of board members and do not create greater expectations or responsibilities for such board members relative to other board members
- Keep the board and other organizational leaders (at every level) educated about the organization’s values, goals, and priorities related to board composition; its plans for advancing such values, goals, and priorities; how each individual can contribute to such effort; historical and systemic barriers that apply; and the organization’s plans for continually addressing those barriers
- Incorporating the organization’s values, goals, and priorities, including those related to its board composition, into the organization’s governing documents (e.g., articles and bylaws) and other board- and staff-approved policy documents
Beyond Political Correctness: Building a Diverse Board (BoardSource, Bridgespan Group)
Developing a Strong and Diverse Nonprofit Board (Micayla Richardson, Marlen Barajas Espinosa, Jennifer A. Jones, and Kimberly Wiley)
Nonprofit Board Composition (Atinuke Adediran)