BoardSource Finds a New Platform for Action in the Face of Declining Diversity

Ruth McCambridge and Cyndi Suarez, Nonprofit Quarterly (Sept. 6, 2017)
After a fraught last few years in terms of national attention to issues of race, one would expect that nonprofit boards would demonstrate at least a modicum of advancement in the realm of diversity. The comparative statistics shown in Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices tell a different story.
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Diversity Among Nonprofit Leaders Still a Long Way Off, Report Says

Drew Lindsay, Chronicle of Philanthropy (Sept. 6, 2017)
Nonprofit leadership remains predominantly white and isn’t likely to grow more diverse anytime soon, according to a new report. Whites fill 90 percent of board seats and CEO positions, according to BoardSource, a research and support organization for nonprofit boards. More than a quarter of boards are all-white.

Those numbers have varied little since the organization began surveying board chairs and top nonprofit executives in 1994. And BoardSource concludes they aren’t likely to change, because recruitment, at least at the board level, typically doesn’t focus on diversity. Only about a quarter of board chairs and chief executives rate demographic diversity as a high priority in recruiting.

“These are really, really disappointing findings,” said Anne Wallestad, BoardSource’s president. “You would hope that we would have made much more progress in the past 20 years than we have.”
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What Are Nonprofit Boards Concerned About in 2016?

Nonprofit Quarterly (March 11, 2016)

On February 4, 2016, NPQ asked our readers to participate in a small “pulse” survey to surface some areas where BoardSource should ask questions in Leading with Intent, its big biennial survey. That is, we wanted to help BoardSource, our frequent collaborator, to tailor its questions to the current concerns of board members. Both organizations undertook this small preliminary step, and at that time, we promised to share the highlights of the findings back with you. We received 173 responses, which is a small sample, but as BoardSource describes it, “A ‘pulse’ survey is not designed to be a representative sample survey yielding a comprehensive view. Rather, it is like taking a medical pulse; it gives a rapid measure of health and clues about what is going on.”
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What Nonprofits Can Learn From #OscarsSoWhite

Monisha Kapila, The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Feb. 25, 2016)
As movie fans around the globe get ready to watch the Academy Awards this weekend, everyone in the nonprofit world should be paying attention to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign. The backlash against the all-white slate of nominees in the four acting categories exemplifies the lack of diversity and inclusion throughout the entertainment industry. This isn’t a problem just in Hollywood. When it comes to diversity, the entertainment industry has a lot in common with the nonprofit sector…
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Leading with Intent: a Call to Action for Nonprofits

Jeffrey Shields, National Business Officers Association (Dec. 2, 2015)
A dynamic group of volunteers, a hard-working staff and a well-defined mission to which both groups are committed: This is the unique ideal of nonprofit governance, but it is not easily achieved. In fact, nonprofit leaders themselves give nonprofit boards a B-minus in overall performance, according to Leading with Intent: a National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices (free to download), which synthesizes years of data involving nonprofit board practices, policies and performance.

I learned about this report last month, when I attended the 2015 BoardSource Leadership Forum along with 900 other nonprofit board chairs, CEOs, volunteers and staff. Three takeaways in particular, from a session covering the Leading with Intent findings, struck me as especially important for independent schools.
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Beyond the Traditional Junior Board: Ways to Turn Millennials Into Leaders

Rebecca Koenig, The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Aug. 27, 2015)
Engaging millennials is a high priority for many nonprofits. These 20- and 30-somethings know how to use social media and care about doing good. And, of course, they will become the donors of the future. In order to capitalize on this potential, some…
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Board Performance Evaluated and Given B-

Julie Dappen, Map for Nonprofits (April 20, 2015)
More than 800 nonprofit organizations in the United State participated in a study which evaluated nonprofit board performance and as a result, awarded boards a B- average.

BoardSource, the organization which does this study each year, suggests the results are underwhelming considering board members are often thought of as community leaders and high achievers. …
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Does Your Board Foster Inclusivity?

Marla Cornelius, CompassPoint (Feb. 20, 2015)
Whether it’s stated explicitly or not, every board has a culture. Your board culture might be fostering good governance and supporting positive engagement or it might be hindering it. At the board level, culture is expressed in myriad ways, including—but not limited to—how meetings ….
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Training in Progress

Lalita Advani & Julia Chu, Stanford Social Innovation Review
Most successful companies recognize the value of motivating employees to contribute their time and talent to benefit their community. Often, however, company leaders grapple with the question of how to maximize the benefits of corporate involvement in volunteer efforts of that kind….
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The Face of Nonprofit Boards: A Network Problem

Tivoni Devor, Nonprofit Quarterly (March 5, 2015)
Within BoardSource’s 2014 Governance IndexLeading with Intent,” there lies an interesting paradox when it comes to board diversity. Forty-five percent of the boards and 69 percent of the CEOs surveyed are dissatisfied with their board’s diversity. Not only that, but 71 percent of boards and 75 percent of CEOs think a more diverse board would make them better at fulfilling their mission…
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