Why Christian Nonprofits Need Diverse Representation on Their Board of Directors

As a woman of faith, I have always been passionate about helping others and making a positive impact in my community and beyond. As Executive Director of Women’s Nonprofit Alliance, I have witnessed the incredible work that Christian nonprofits do to support those in need, and I believe that diverse
representation on their board of directors is essential for their continued success. In this article, I will explore the current state of Christian nonprofit boards, strategies for increasing diversity on nonprofit boards, and a call to action for increased diversity on nonprofit boards.

The Importance of Diverse Representation on Nonprofit Boards

Nonprofit organizations serve a diverse range of people and communities, and it is essential that their board of directors reflects this diversity. Having a diverse board brings a wealth of different perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table, which can lead to better decision-making and improved outcomes for the organization. A lack of diversity can result in a narrow focus and a limited understanding of the needs of the community the nonprofit serves.

Christian nonprofits, in particular, have a responsibility to ensure that their board of directors accurately represents the communities they serve. As followers of Christ, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and to care for the marginalized and vulnerable. Having a diverse board of directors is one way that Christian nonprofits can fulfill this calling and demonstrate their commitment to serving all people, regardless of their background or identity.

The Current State of Christian Nonprofit Boards

Despite the importance of diverse representation, the current state of Christian nonprofit boards is far from diverse. According to a study by the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, only 18% of nonprofit board
members are people of color. This statistic is alarming, especially considering that people of color make up a significant portion of the communities that Christian nonprofits serve.

There are several reasons for this lack of diversity on nonprofit boards. One is the tendency to rely on personal networks for board recruitment, which can lead to a lack of diversity in the candidate pool. Another is the perception that diversity is a “nice-to-have” rather than a necessity, leading to a lack of intentional efforts to increase diversity. Additionally, some nonprofits may not prioritize diversity due to a lack of understanding of its importance or a fear of potential conflict or discomfort.

Strategies for Increasing Diversity on Nonprofit Boards

Despite the challenges, there are several strategies that nonprofit organizations can implement to increase diversity on their board of directors. One is to prioritize diversity in the recruitment process, actively seeking out candidates from different backgrounds and identities. This can be done by
partnering with organizations that serve diverse communities, utilizing social media and other online platforms to reach a wider audience, and actively seeking out referrals from current board members.

Another strategy is to provide training and support for board members from diverse backgrounds. This can include mentorship programs, leadership development opportunities, and resources to help board members navigate any barriers or challenges they may face. It is also important to create a culture of inclusion and belonging within the organization, where all board members feel valued and respected for their unique contributions.

Conclusion and Call to Action for Increased Diversity on Nonprofit Boards

In conclusion, diverse representation on nonprofit boards is essential for their continued success and for fulfilling the mission of Christian nonprofits to serve all people. Women of faith face unique challenges in leadership positions, and it is essential to provide them with the support and opportunities they need to succeed. By implementing intentional strategies to increase diversity on nonprofit boards, we can create a more just and equitable world for all.