When a staff more closely reflects the population it serves, it is more able to address the needs, interests and concerns of its community. Diversity should include people of varied racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status and more.
Birgit Burton, senior director of foundation relations at Georgia Tech who has been in fundraising for more than three decades, recently spoke to The Chronicle of Philanthropy about the challenges of increasing diversity in the field.
In her interview, Burton recognized that the current percentage of people of color in fundraising is quite low. She believes that one challenge is that there are a limited number of development and advancement leadership roles in most organizations. When the employee pool has very few minorities, it becomes even less likely to see a diversity of employees rising to top positions.
Burton suggests nonprofits think about expanding their reach long before they look to make a hire. There must be a concerted effort to engage communities all of the time, not just when trying to fill an open position. Nonprofits should evaluate how they reach out to the broader population to bring diversity into their mix of donors, Board members and volunteers.