Why it matters?

Planning for equity and diversity within your organizations and partnerships is an important step to providing a community resource that meets the needs of the communities that it’s serving. Diversity requires intentionality. It’s human nature to gravitate towards the familiar. It takes planning and intentional actions to step outside and welcome in outsiders.

Road Map for Strategically Planning for Equity and Diversity

  1. Establish a foundation of understanding. Take time to understand your personal and your organization’s implicit/unconcious bias.
  2. Initiate conversations about what equity and inclusion mean to the people in your organization.
  3. Remember that identity is composed of many factors not just race. It can include gender, nationality, socioeconomic, education levels, age, military status, physical abilities, and many other factors.
  4. Identify barriers and gaps in your organization’s inclusivity.
  5. Establish goals and targets that will help you ensure a well-rounded organization.
  6. Remember that Equity and Inclusion is not just a reflection of who you hire, but also the partners you bring to the table, the volunteers that help in your organization, etc…

(Gurchiek, 2019)

Developing a Culture of Inclusion

While it is important to plan for equity and diversity within your organization, it is also important to remember that equity and diversity are concepts that don’t operate within a vacuum. As a result, you can’t treat them as a separate entity within your organization. To effectively implement an inclusion program you need to view it through the broader lense of the entire organization. Goals and plans should permeate the entire organization and be evident in policies and procedures that encourage equity and inclusion as part of the organizational culture.

When preparing your equity and diversity plan, you should consider the following aspects of your organization:

  • Organization’s Development toward inclusion and diversity. What message are you sending about the culture of inclusion within your organization?
  • Internal Systems including policies, practices, and guidelines. How do equity and diversity affect decisions within the company?
  • Governance Committees and Leadership. How are diversity and equity represented in the leadership of the organization, what steps do you take to ensure the voices and perspectives are representative of the community served?
  • Human Resources. What measures are followed to ensure that potential staff members are recruited from a variety of sources? What policies and procedures are in place to ensure equity in promotions.
  • Strategic planning. What actions are you taking to encourage diversity and equity?
  • Performance Management. How do you measure the effectiveness of the plans and strategies put in place to determine what’s working, identify barriers, and institute improvements?

(Michigan Nonprofit, 2019)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tools:

Diversity Planning Tools

Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter for NonProfits

Equity and Inclusion Lens Guide

Michigan Nonprofit Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Toolkit

Real-World Partnerships: Equity & Inclusion

Equity and inclusion is a broad topic with many interpretations. Both of our real-world partners had different insights into what it means to have equity and inclusion in their organization.

Hope & A Future pointed out that due to the nature of their organization they have found that they have a very diverse organization. They cited some of the main reasons that they have been able to maintain the diversity of the organization is their focus on serving in a variety of areas, reaching out to diverse businesses, and spreading the word for volunteers through various channels. This wide net casting has allowed them to attract the diversity they require. In addition, they take care to ensure that every person feels valued within their organization. Emphasizing the power of handwritten notes to express appreciation and develop rapport.

The House of Refuge provided a different viewpoint on equity and inclusion focusing on the aspect of appreciation and ensuring everyone sees the value they bring to the table. They intentionally reach out to show appreciation for the partnerships they have and provide opportunities for them to engage in the mission so they can feel the contribution they are making.


Gurchiek, K. (2019, August 16). 6 Steps for Building an Inclusive Workplace. Retrieved December 2, 2019, from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0418/pages/6-steps-for-building-an-inclusive-workplace.aspx.

Why diversity, equity, and inclusion matter for nonprofits. (2019, November 2). Retrieved December 2, 2019, from https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/why-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-matter-nonprofits.