Nonprofit HR/Talent Managers

The HR department must forcefully advocate for inclusionary policies and practices that lead to more diverse and equitable nonprofit workplaces for professionals of all backgrounds, social classes and intersectional identities.

  • Make sure there are DEI policies implemented across all departments. DEI policy should be more than just a paper document, it should reflect the organization’s values, be embedded in the culture, and inform the appropriate and acceptable ways that staff interact with each other and outside stakeholders.
  • Ensure that the organization’s promotion policy is transparent and equitable for development staff. Require the development department to create a process that assesses staff by established and published standards relevant to that person’s role in the development process, rather than going by gut (which is often based on who is perceived as more “likeable” based on dominant white culture). Even the seemingly-impartial standard of direct money raised (which is partially dependent on assignments given to different staffers based on internal “feelings” about who will “get along better” with certain donors – and be able to cultivate and successfully solicit a particular charitable gift) is problematic.
  • As a staff retention measure, recommend to leadership that a career development pipeline be established that prioritizes early- and mid-career growth for development professionals. Consider what access to mentoring, job shadowing and coaching might look like, if your organization has the infrastructure to support it. If not, consider collaborating with other like-minded nonprofits to provide a range of learning opportunities for entry- and mid-level development managers of color.
  • Consider encouraging affinity groups, if your organization is large enough, or collaborating with Talent Managers at similar organizations to support development staff of color in finding and gaining support from their peers. In Cause Effective’s role as a convener of development director peer learning circles, we’ve found that offering an alternative to the isolation experienced by so many in the profession is extremely helpful.
  • Before a recruitment process begins, review your nonprofit’s DEI policies and its strategic plan using a DEI lens, meet with your development department head, and consult nonprofit HR talent management best practices. Inquire about existing search and posting strategies – and expand them to include online portals for affinity-based professional associations; gather resources and advisors to broaden the search. Make a commitment to actively recruit from underrepresented groups across all identities.
  • During the recruitment process, be sure to actively promote staff position openings so that an internal recruitment process is equally robust. And, if you send the job posting to your own formal and informal networks, ask for help expanding the circle so the posting can reach a greater number of potential candidates. This will signal to friends and colleagues your intention to conduct an inclusive search and engage in a more equitable hiring practice, not simply “checkbox tokenism.”

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