How is Board Diversity Related to Organizational Action?: A Study Tackles that Question

Much has been discussed of board diversity, but little is known about how increased the diversity on nonprofit boards affects their impact. A new report aims to understand what correlations exist and potential outcomes for leadership development and organizational growth by evaluating board member engagement, fundraising engagement, and advocacy engagement.

The study produced by BoardSource, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and Johnson, Grossnickle, and Associates begins this task by posing two fundamental questions: "Which organizational attributes correlate with board diversity?" and "How is board diversity related to organizational action?"

In terms of organizational action, the study found gender and age diversity seem to play a role in board member engagement. "For example, boards with higher percentages of women tend to be more engaged in oversight and governance and have higher commitment and involvement, as do boards with higher percentages of members age 39 or younger," asserts the report’s findings.

"However, as some of the case studies revealed, through focused effort it is possible to drive progress in terms of diversity and board engagement. As we also saw, the simple pursuit of diversity and board impact could result in other areas of growth and progress that deliver rewards in the short- and long-term," states the report.

Read the full article in Nonprofit Quarterly.

Read the report here.

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