In pursuit of board diversity: Join us June 16

By Bryan Orander, president, Charitable Advisors |

Many nonprofit boards are striving to increase their diversity. Most recognize that diversity increases effective governance by bringing new perspectives, energy, and new ideas. Sometimes the motivation comes as an expectation of a funder or accreditation body.

While some funders, such as United Way of Central Indiana, place a high priority on diversity and inclusion, the latest BoardSource Governance Index shows slow progress.  Though we tend to think first in racial/ethnic terms, you likely know boards dominated by one gender, a limited age group or common background.

The BoardSource Index highlights two related findings about board diversity:

1) Board composition — size and diversity — is changing, slowly. BoardSource research shows that average board size has declined from 19 members in 1994 to 15 members in 2014 while the percentage of board members of color increased from 16 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in the 2014 survey.

2) Best-in-class boards pay attention to culture and dynamics. While leaders report that 69 percent of board members understand their responsibilities and 81 percent of organizations have written expectations of board members, less than 40 percent are satisfied with the level of board discussion in meetings or overall board member engagement. In addition, 88 percent of board chairs see potential for new board member orientation to be strengthened. These factors tie directly to engaging new members, helping them understand how they are expected to bring their skills and interests, and building effective board teamwork.

The real secret to board success — leadership culture — is difficult to measure. A productive leadership culture requires having the right people on the board, achieving clarity around roles and responsibilities, and educating and engaging board members.

Please mark your calendar for the morning of June 16 and plan to join us and your colleagues for a discussion with a panel of local nonprofit leaders about ways you can “move the needle” on diversity and inclusion in your organization.

This free program is part of the Quarterly Nonprofit Forum, hosted by Conner Insurance at Indiana Wesleyan – North. Linda Kirby of Leadership Indianapolis and Bryan Orander of Charitable Advisors are developing the program and to date the panelist list includes: Yvonne Harrington, Key Bank; Terri Garcia, Southeast Community Services; and Rafael Sanchez, Fineline Printing Group.

The emphasis of discussions will be on both attracting diversity and also helping a more diverse group to work together effectively. You will hear how these panelists have experienced both success and frustration in their efforts to build and lead effective nonprofit boards and community working groups, and participants will have time to discuss and apply these lessons.

bryanBryan Orander is founder and president of Charitable Advisors. After 18 years of for-profit leadership in the Fortune 50 business world and a disability-related nonprofit, Bryan joined a large regional accounting and consulting firm. In 2000, he founded Charitable Advisors with the vision of going beyond traditional consulting to become a connector, advocate and problem solver for the nonprofit sector.

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