Monday, January 23, 2012

Engaging Diverse Stakeholders in the Nonprofit Sector

Lively, well-attended discussions like last week’s first Diversity and Inclusion Networking Lunch, “Engaging Diverse Stakeholders in the Nonprofit Sector,” not only reinforce the passion around diversity and inclusion, but also reveal the delicate and long process involved in transforming thought and leadership paradigms in our sector.

With an experienced and thoughtful facilitator, like Dr. Mai Moua, when the right questions are asked, the discussion takes off. It’s amazing how quickly an hour goes by. Here were key questions posed and discussed from the conversation:

  • There are many variables in place when trying to make the paradigm shift needed to transform organizational and community culture. It’s a long process that requires patience, thoughtfulness, and trust.

  • Leadership buy-in is key. How can staff manage upwards and influence cultural shifts when leadership is not leading on this issue?

  • Many organizations are working through what it means to be diverse as opposed to “looking” diverse. How does inclusion become a core value of an organization’s personality?

  • Does the nature of nonprofit work inherently hold our sector to higher standards for diversity and inclusion practices?

  • Organizations and staff working towards creating a more diverse and inclusive culture struggle with measuring this progress. What are accepted indicators?

  • What role does funding play in the work of creating more diverse and inclusive organizational culture?

The group engaged in energetic and meaty discussion and to continue our thinking, Dr. Mai Moua recommended these resources:

  • "Influence Without Authority": A book to help staff push change upwards and get that needed buy-in from leadership. Authored by Allan Cohen and David Bradford.

  • Intercultural Development Inventory: A cross-culturally valid measure of intercultural competence. The instrument is easy to complete and can generate an in-depth graphic profile of groups' predominant level of intercultural competence (facilitation by a Qualified IDI Administrator is required).

Please add your comments and share with us your experiences and go-to resources for engaging diverse stakeholders in the nonprofit sector.

Join us next month, February 16th, for a lunch discussion on “Cultural Intelligence Matters: Tools to Build Cultural Competence and Agility.”

This post is a recap of the first Diversity and Inclusion Networking Lunch—a monthly discussion co-hosted between Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Charities Review Council. In the true spirit of inclusion, these lunches take place at rotating nonprofits that serve diverse communities. Thanks to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for being this month’s host.

1 comment:

Dania said...

CAIR is an awesome group! Thank you for this post.