When it comes to boards, the idea of having a diverse set of people with varied backgrounds is a good one. When you’re only talking with people who know exactly what you know, and whom you value because they agree with you, you can be oblivious to major problems or to opportunities that are staring you right in the face. You don’t want to build an “echo chamber.”
For nonprofits, the promise of a diverse board has become richer and more nuanced than just diversity of organizational or operational background. DEI is a blessing for nonprofits, bringing to boards a wide range of cultures, experiences and insights that would have been rare even a decade ago.
Finding qualified candidates who bring diversity to a board can be a challenge. There are many very capable people with the potential to make outstanding board members but who do not have much board experience. It means you will need a very well thought out plan to recruit, onboard, and provide mentorship in the early stages. It may mean finding one who brings experience and working with one who has strong potential.
- Does your board include a diversity of cultures, experiences and insights?
- Name two board candidates who could increase the board’s diversity.