How Big Companies Can Push Nonprofits to Diversify Their Boards

There are many diverse employees that want to help local organizations–not just the CEO.
Dec 5, 2017 2:40 PM ET
[Image: StudioM1/iStock]

Originally published on Fast Company

by Ben Paynter

Nonprofit boards, unsurprisingly, are a rich white club–more than 90% of nonprofit CEOs are white, as are 84% of their boards. Both of those shares have actually risen in recent years, showing that while this particular rich white club is intensely aware of that problem–they take surveys and talk about it a lot–it still adds more rich white folks to that circle, instead of solving an obvious diversity gap and racial bias problem.

Part of the issue revolves around privilege and laziness: Many leaders don’t have racially diverse business networks, and without being very intentional about how to recruit and fairly vet top-level candidates, there’s plenty of talent that may go unseen or untapped.

But for-profit companies may not recognize that many of their diverse top employees also want the opportunity to serve on those boards. And that finding ways to elevate more of those candidates is a win-win: Cause groups gain a broader perspective, while employees gain stronger leadership skills and may be encouraged to stick around longer. “There’s a big opportunity because nonprofit boards are complaining they need more people for diversity,” says Alice Korngold, CEO of Korngold Consulting, a strategy advisory service for board members, corporate executives, and nonprofits. “There are qualified people at companies and they’re waiting in the wings.”

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