The Importance of Racial and Gender Diversity in Nonprofits

By Jackie Sue Griffin, MBA, MS

Racial and gender diversity is a goal many organizations strive to achieve. Diversity is defined as variety in groups of people based on race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc. By aiming to progress to complete racial and gender equity, we’re working on improving the moral and social justice of our society — but is diversity beneficial for other reasons as well?

As it turns out, having equity as the framework to operate from can be extremely useful for different organizations. According to the Scientific American, diversity in the workplace makes us smarter, helps us work better and provides us with many different insights into any given issue. For nonprofits, this holds extreme value, especially if they wish to achieve better representation of minorities that they are striving to assist. Let’s have a closer look at the importance of racial and gender diversity in nonprofits:

Diversity Helps Innovation and Decision-Making

One of the main goals of a non-profit organization is efficiency — making an impact on their mission. That may be difficult to measure, but overall profitability isn’t, and according to McKinsey’s 2017 report on diversity and financial performance, the numbers are on the side of more diverse companies. To be precise, the companies that ranked higher when it comes to ethnic/cultural diversity were 33% more likely to outperform on profitability. And more gender different companies aren’t far behind either, with 21% of them being more likely to have above-average profitability than those that were less diverse.

A more diverse environment within a nonprofit helps drive innovation and stimulates decision-making, which in turn boosts performance. With more different outlooks from otherwise underrepresented groups, it becomes much easier to look at everyday challenges more objectively and come up with more creative ways to tackle them.

Diversity Helps Minority Groups Feel Better Represented

For liberal nonprofits, diversity encompasses both race and gender, as well as ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic background. Almost every nonprofit organization aims to make the world a better place in its way, and keeping their environment diverse helps them to show that.

People from minority groups often face a social stigma that is difficult to overcome in a racist or sexist environment. They encounter discrimination, mobbing, sexual harassment and a plethora of other issues that nonprofits tend to focus on eliminating. Seeing themselves represented in those nonprofits helps them feel assured that their difficulties are understood, and their best interests served.


Racial and gender diversity in nonprofits has different benefits that help the organizations work better and be more trustworthy to the people they are trying to assist. Furthermore, by putting in more effort to create a diverse environment within their ranks, nonprofits are actively working on the change they want to see in the world. They strive to ensure that they provide a safe space for the members of underrepresented groups to show their talent and skills in an uninhibited way.

Organizations such as Metro Wellness and Community Centers, Hinds Behavioral Health Services and Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse are all shining examples of nonprofits that are diverse and inclusive across the board.

To learn more about nonprofits and Turnaround Life’s mission to assist organizations and programs that help people turn their lives around, visit our website.