Whether a nonprofit decides to bring staff back into the office or keep them fully remote (or create a hybrid of the two) is a highly personal decision, both on the part of the organization and the individuals themselves. Let’s take a look at what goes into this kind of decision considering the unique factors that nonprofits must weigh:
There is a common misconception that “Nonprofit work doesn’t pay.” And while it is definitely true that an individual’s lifetime earnings are typically higher in the private sector than in the public sector, that does not mean that nonprofit work does not pay at all, or that equity and market demands cannot or should not be considered.
Sure, there are plenty of instances where nonprofit staff are making far less than they should, given the high cost of living in the metropolitan areas where their nonprofit organizations are based. However, nonprofit organizations that are doing it right should be paying their employees a comfortable wage to equip them to do the kind of important work that protects their communities and the world at large. And the self-fulfillment that they garner along the way should be an added bonus on top of their compensation, not a substitute for it.
Strategies and Tactics for Supporting Diversity in Hiring
What is performative diversity? Performative diversity is when an organization advocates and affirms a commitment to DEI but takes no practical actions towards achieving it.
Moving past affirmations and into action requires thoughtful, proactive, and concrete steps to foster a workplace that genuinely values a broadly diverse workforce. One of the most critical processes to examine and improve is your hiring practices, policies, and approach. The way your organization approaches hiring the Executive Director sets the tone for DEI in the rest of the organization. It also sends a message about how serious your Board is about equity.
As you begin to navigate your upcoming leadership transition, here is a list of some practices your organization can adopt that builds towards a more equitable, transparent, and human-centric hiring process.
The Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS) is pleased to announce that they have hired Dr. Chiyo Crawford as their next Executive Director. Chiyo’s extensive professional experience, personal background, and thoughtful leadership style make her an excellent fit for the role. ECOSS Board President, Tisha Pagalilauan, has stated,
The Board is elated that Dr. Crawford will be the new executive director. We honor her experience as an educator, a leader, and an administrator. We have every confidence in her ability to lead ECOSS with vision and compassion.
We congratulate them and wish them much success in all their future endeavors!
There are many questions facing an Executive Director when considering departing their organization, such as:
We are excited to welcome Chris Cannon to our growing Executive Search Team. With over a decade of experience in the mission-driven sector, he brings a wealth of knowledge. In his early career he was an Executive Director of a growing nonprofit organization in Ghana. His experience in that role shaped his professional aspirations, leading him to a career in executive recruiting and nonprofit consulting, as well as giving him a passion for board leadership and volunteering.
Who are you? How do you interact with the world? When are you at your best as part of a team?
These seemingly simple questions are actually landmines for many, perhaps most, of us when we think about our participation in life, and more specifically the workplace. Employers are not unique in raising the issues of diversity regarding the people we interact with, equity in how people are valued and supported, and meaningful inclusion of people who come from different lived experiences. We pick our friends, and sometimes enemies, based on some of these factors. We create communities where we feel at least the first two of those factors because we can relax in those communities and just be ourselves.
Add in the context of a “DEI Filter” in the hiring process and the nuance underlying those questions can sometimes be completely skipped over because the interviewer thinks they know who you are, how you will interact with the world, and what you will bring to the team based on how you look or their first impression of you and your experience as represented on a resume.
I regularly see discussions around DEI committee membership that openly refer to someone “representing the African American community,” or the “BIPOC community.” I wonder how those people feel about that tokenism. (Because, let’s be clear, if that is how their selection was approached, then they are literally serving as tokens to represent those communities.) How can one person be expected to represent the entirety of the richness, diversity, and lived experience of the African American community? Or any community for that matter?
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