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“Nadia is nothing short of amazing! She continues to work with us on Our Restorative Justice a 501(c)(3) that seeks to disrupt the school to prison pipeline at as many points as possible using time honored restorative justice practices. Nadia has helped us in innumerable ways. She has coached our ED and me as board chair. She has helped us with fundraising work, grant writing work, board governance and development strategy issues. She is highly creative and finds all kinds of informational resources that extend her help cost effectively through things you and I can read. She takes her strong corporate world background and disciplined skills, and uses them to support the efforts of the nonprofit world. Enormously importantly she has excellent judgment and a keen sense of when to support and when to allow those in the entity who should lead to do exactly that. She works with perseverance, good humor and humility. Nadia’s heart is enormous and it shines through in everything she does. And, so far (which is the better part of a year), I have not detected anything that a 501(c)(3) might need that she can’t do or help to do. Nadia is a rare and precious gem nestled into the stones on the beach of life. If you have picked her up from among the others, do not put her down!”
by Professor Susan Maze-Rothstein Northeastern University School of Law/Founder, Our Restorative Justice

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Budgeting for Diversity

Nadia Prescott

When formulating your diversity strategy, you must consider your budget. Yes, your budget. In the corporate world, where money is not a barrier, companies like SAP and Microsoft have created Autism at Work programs. SAP alone has committed to a goal of employing 650 Autistic team members. (Click here to see a video on diversity and inclusion from SAP).

These initiatives are expensive. In the nonprofit world, achieving your diversity goals will impact your financial plans. For example, I have worked with groups with ties to the Deaf community, where boards are required to have a certain percentage of deaf members. As a result, these organizations need to budget for interpreters and regular training for all staff members.

Other organizations may have board or staff members who come from disparate locations. It can be expensive to cover the costs for attending meetings, whether in-person or via technology.

A frank discussion about budget constraints should be part of a larger diversity strategy. Some general points to consider:

  • What is your current diversity policy? If it needs to change, why, and is this the right
    time? Ensure you have team discussions to answer these questions.
  • Be clear on the business reason for diversification. For example, are you expanding
    your network to increase awareness of your mission? Or would you like your
    organization to be more representative of the community you serve?
  • Write your diversification policy and goals into your bylaws. Be ready to adapt this
    as your best business practice.
  • Will your current culture support diversifying your organization? If not, what needs
    to change?
  • Strategically examine the skills gap in your organization at the board and staff level.
    Reach out only to qualified individuals with these skill sets. It’s a mistake to reach
    out to candidates only because they represent communities or demographics you seek.
    Build a team that is culturally competent by ensuring everyone possesses the right
    skills, adds real value, and fully supports your cause.
  • Understand any budget implications.

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