How to Diversify Your Nonprofit's Board

Building a board that includes a wide variety of perspectives can help your nonprofit make smarter decisionsdiversify its donors, and even better serve your community. Yet nearly 85 percent of charity trustees are white, research shows, and more than a quarter of boards lack a single person of color.

To assemble a more diverse board at your organization, experts recommend codifying diversity policies into the bylaws so they’ll remain a priority even as trustees come and go.

For example, the Consumer Health Foundation drew up diversity goals that its leaders use during annual planning meetings and as a general guide to decision making, such as when hiring new vendors.

The foundation also uses a matrix, which you can download, to determine whether its board is living up to its diversity standards. Some recommended policies include:

  • Requiring trustees to sit on at least one committee, to ensure that all members participate meaningfully in governing
  • Holding periodic self-evaluations on whether the board is equitable

For further guidance, consult this collection of Chronicle resources.

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