Women are playing a bigger role on nonprofit boards

August 25, 2013

Women are playing a bigger role on nonprofit boards

Having a diverse board is imperative for the success of nonprofits, which is why more organizations are adding women to leadership positions. A recent article for Associations Now referenced data from the 2012 Nonprofit Governance Index performed by nonprofit consultancy BoardSource, which revealed 45 percent of nonprofit board members were women. This is much higher number than the just 17 percent of women who make up the board of directors at Fortune 500 companies.

A lack of women on the board could hurt nonprofits
Vernetta Walker, vice president of consulting and training at nonprofit consultancy BoardSource, told Associations Now that nonprofits that fail to integrate women among leadership positions could be at a disadvantage. A good mix of men and women in the board of directors can make it easier for nonprofits to carry out their overall mission.

"You have diverse membership," Walker told Associations Now. "You need to be able to relate to your stakeholders, and you want to make sure that you have a variety of voices represented at the decision-making table. If you're not ensuring that your leadership is as diverse and inclusive as those that you're serving, then you have to ask, 'Are you missing an opportunity? Are you truly representing those who you say you are?'"

By improving the lines of communication at the organization, nonprofits are able to get better diversity on the board. Nonprofits that have a large majority of men in charge need to work on ways to get more women involved. 

Nonprofit sought out women to lead the way
Diversity among the board members is key for nonprofits that want to consider a number of different perspectives when making important decisions. This is why Right to Dream USA, a nonprofit that is raising money for a free middle-school/soccer academy for girls in Ghana, made an effort to add female executives to the team to spearhead is operation, reported Crain's New York. 

Right to Dream had already completed this program for young boys in Ghana and needed women to make the same wish come true for young girls throughout the country, stated the news source. With the boys program in place, the nonprofit needed women to take charge and provide leadership to benefits young girls in Ghana.

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