It is no secret that the lack of diversity,equity and inclusion initiatives profoundly impacts an organization’s ability to advance its mission. More than ever, social impact organizations emphasize their DEI needs, yet there remain a number of challenges they reportedly face within their talent management functions. Based on Nonprofit HR’s report findings, the top three diversity challenges that organizations experienced this year concerning organizational structure were: obtaining and/or maintaining diversity on the board, obtaining and/or maintaining diversity at senior leadership levels and establishing accountability for diversity objectives, initiatives and programs.

The survey results indicate that organizations’ greatest challenge this year was their ability to attract diverse candidates. Often, we hear organizations say that no people of diverse backgrounds applied to the positions they advertise. However, it begs two questions: Where did they look? And how did they look? Suppose organizations continue to recruit in the same ways they always have. In that case, they will continue to have an employer brand that isn’t attractive to a diverse talent pool and lack the opportunities that many perspectives bring to an organization. It is not that the talent isn’t there; it is about intentionally looking in places where talent exists. If your organization is serious about equity, the talent is out there. However, it will almost always require a different approach to find it.

Which of the following diversity challenge(s) apply to your organization’s talent management function?

The second greatest challenge that respondents reported was creating and maintaining a culture of inclusiveness among all staff. It is important to understand that fostering a culture of inclusiveness is a continuous, everyday effort; it is an ongoing piece of how your organization functions over time. In addition, both accountability and transparency are key to its successful integration within your organization.

Which of the following diversity challenge(s) apply to your organization structure?

The third greatest challenge that organizations expressed was implementing engagement best practices for a diverse workforce. Promoting employee engagement is a vital component to retaining your organization’s workforce and avoiding premature turnover. However, if your organization is hiring diverse talent, it is critical to determine if you are prepared and equipped to receive them. This is also an opportunity to explore various cultural assessments that will help integrate DEI into your mission and culture. It is important to note that organizational structure can also pose challenges to realizing greater diversity. Given the challenges outlined in the introduction, buy-in from the staff at all levels will ultimately enable organizations to align actions with words, ensure that everyone has a voice to be heard and seen and advance mission outcomes to better serve your organizations’ stakeholders.


Lindsey Otto is a Marketing & Communication Associate at Nonprofit HR. Lindsey brings a range of experience in journalism, graphic design, communication and marketing to Nonprofit HR. Her design work has ranged from personal logos to nationwide campaign imagery. Her written work has been featured as published blog posts, magazines and newspaper articles.