Bringing diversity to the board can strengthen nonprofits

July 19, 2013

Bringing diversity to the board can strengthen nonprofits

Some of the most successful nonprofits have a team of board members who not only bring diverse skills to the organization, but also work well together to solve problems occurring within the organization. This is why it is extremely important to build a team of board members who have endless potential. According to new research from Ernst & Young, integrating diversity into the team of board members can bring in a number of differing perspectives that can lead to spirited discussions and the best strategic decisions at the organization.

"Diversity in skill sets, experience, expertise, viewpoints and gender can lead to a stronger, more effective board," said Bryan Pearce, director of Entrepreneur of the Year and venture capital advisory group at Ernst & Young.

Women directors can supplement lead to more success
Many nonprofits are run similarly to companies throughout the United States, so it is important to note that the study found businesses in the top quartile of the number of women on their board outperformed the bottom quartile by 26 percent. Furthermore, enterprises with board members who are women achieved higher average growth over the past six year. Nonprofit leaders may want to take this research into account, apply it to their own organization and add more women to their board.

"A diverse board can be a valuable resource when it comes to diversity in hiring, financing alternatives and in diversity supplier situations," said Tom McDonnell, CEO for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Women can make a difference right away
Nonprofits work throughout the year to support their cause, and board members play an important role in the growth and prosperity of an organization. Women who take on advanced roles know how important the nonprofit is to its beneficiaries and take their jobs very seriously. Here are some suggestions from Today's Chicago Woman magazine for women who join a nonprofit's board of directors:

  • Be accessible: Many nonprofits try to leave a lasting impression on their community so it's important to always have time to talk to people looking to learn more about the organization.
  • Treat volunteers, clients and vendors with respect: No one has to work to help the nonprofit, and by welcoming volunteers, clients and vendors, board members have a better chance of improving their reputation in the community.
  • Always thank donors and volunteers: People who contribute to the nonprofit want to know that their time and money is appreciated by the organization's board members.

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Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.

Ensight Skills Center, Inc, Fort Collins, CO

In addition to their money-saving purpose on behalf of nonprofit organizations like AHS, First Nonprofit’s Nonprofit Unemployment Fund streamlines the information we need to efficiently manage unemployment claims. Our relationship with NU Fund gave us access to such things as advice on planning for what’s ahead and how to analyze cost scenarios when unexpected events occurred. Both experiences were very helpful.

Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA

We have had a great experience with FNP. During Covid, when there was the chance that reimbursable nonprofits would have to pay 50% of the unemployment costs, FNP went to bat for us. We would receive weekly information on the Unemployment claim and how they were working to reduce the costs to reimbursable nonprofits. They have a great service also working with [our claims administrator] to make sure all the paperwork is completed correctly for any unemployment claim.

ACLA Libraries, Pittsburgh, PA

PORT Health Services has had a great experience with the Unemployment Savings Program offered through First Nonprofit. Throughout the years we have been involved in the program, we have increased our reserve account significantly through this program and find the reporting we receive both timely and useful. We look forward to our continued involvement with this program and our connection with First Nonprofit for many years to come.

PORT Health Services, Greenville, NC

Job One was spending a lot of money on unemployment. Our insurance broker, Mark Simcosky, recommended that we switch over to First Nonprofit. We did just that! This switch has been a huge savings for us! This switch saved us over $10,000 in the first year. Their customer service is Superior! Any time we have a question, we get a response very quickly. Any time we send them a report and they have a question; they call rather than just assuming. They were very responsive during COVID, even when they were in crisis mode their selves. They also were always there when we needed during COVID and very helpful! We would 1,000% recommend First Nonprofit to anybody that could benefit from it!

Job One, Independence, MO

My experience with FNP has always been positive. Every time I have had to contact them, I’m always put in contact with a friendly and knowledgeable person. If something is missing from our account, they reach out to us to request it. It’s nice to work with a company that makes sure our account is current. I would recommend them to any nonprofit looking to reduce their unemployment insurance costs.

Family Counseling Center, Gloversville, NY

We’ve saved tens of thousands of dollars PER YEAR by changing to become a reimbursing employer, freeing funds for much needed capital investment. FNP has been a valued partner in this process, providing assurance that we have stopgap coverage for extraordinary claims and keeping claims response painless and simple. It’s a huge Win/Win!

NC UM Camp & Retreat Center, Garner, NC