It has been a familiar topic of discussion this semester in class to bring up board makeup representativeness. Does the board of your organization represent the community that you serve? When considering who to put on a board for a nonprofit organization, what do we consider? Skill? Experience? Money? Who the person knows?
Overall, it appears that what we need to be striving for, and what will be rewarded in the long run, is the representativeness of our board to the community we serve. When choosing board members, we are choosing people from an outside community in order to create diversity of races, genders, and age. It has been branded into our brains that we must ensure cultural diversity within our organizations. Ultimately, however, we should strive to ensure overall diversity within our organizations.
This article highlights an organization in Maryland that was honored with being a finalist for the annual Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management. The reason being, as quoted from a member of the deciding panel, Taylor Pochekailo, “It’s an amazing thing when you walk into an organization and all different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities and genders are apparent….You saw it not only in who worked there, but in who they catered to.” This quality, of seeing diversity amongst the organizations staff and board that reflected the diversity found in its’ clientele, was heralded as being an example for all other organizations to strive to meet.
The next question, then, is: how do we find the qualified people within our community to serve for our organizations? Well, first of all, you must get out and be a part of the community. Once you are in the community you serve, you will find exactly what you are looking for. The people who you serve will be right in your face and you will then be able to find the people that are best suited to put their skills, knowledge, experience, money, time, and energy (all those qualities we have previously discussed about other aspects of diversity) towards your organizations goals.