Developing a Nonprofit Board for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: An effective tool for measuring a Boards vulnerabilities, readiness, and integrity.

Alexa Davidson


Nonprofit Boards, even those with well-meaning members and leaders, often fall short in terms of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies, practices, and procedures. This is partially because Boards lack adequate tools to effectively assess themselves for DEI. This research culminates in the development of a survey-based DEI self-assessment tool that measures Board readiness, vulnerabilities, integrity, and personal biases. The creation of the assessment tool was informed by an examination of the literature and expert interviews with those in the field. A comprehensive list of indicators in the categories of readiness, vulnerabilities, and integrity were compiled and offer Boards a new framework for understanding DEI within their organizations. A case-study was conducted whereby Board and staff members of a small community-based nonprofit organization (CBO) completed the survey and their results were tabulated and compared. Post-interviews were conducted with a sampling of those who took the survey and the results from the interviews were found to be consistent with the survey results. The developed tool offers valid information about an organization’s DEI readiness, vulnerabilities, and integrity and serves as an initial step for organizations who aim to improve their DEI policies, practices, procedures, and culture.