Five Barriers to Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Within Boards


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It is quite common to see nonprofit organizations making visible commitments to diversity, inclusion, and equity. Many nonprofit organizations have DEI statements; some include the words in their missions. Many have DEI as part of their strategic plan. But when it comes to the composition and practices of nonprofit boards, it’s clear that these commitments aren’t necessarily translating into real board-level change. While board composition is just one piece of the puzzle, it’s one of the ways that we see how little change has occurred.

In our latest resource, five barriers to advancing diversity, inclusion, and equity within boards are identified in five categories — individual, group, structural, inertia, and mindsets and metrics. It also explains why making progress on DEI at the board level is challenging. To move forward and really have influence, boards must engage deeply and take a more active role in advancing DEI, which requires that they focus on themselves — not easily done.

These 5 barriers call out areas of opportunities for boards to reflect upon and make progress towards. Inside the full 7-page resource you will find 10 opportunities centered around ways boards can prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion, not only on the board level, but also on the individual level. It takes focus, courage, commitment, perseverance, and humility. It enables greatness.