Category Archives: Leadership

diversity and inclusion
diversity and inclusion

In response to the prevalent racial injustice matters going on worldwide, many organizations have taken proactive measures to update their diversity and inclusion policies. In an effort to provide relevance and credibility, many organizations have released these initiatives quickly — but are not considering some key issues. 

Topics of diversity and inclusion are complicated and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s easy for leaders at an organization to make assumptions about the root cause of their employees’ problems, rather than putting in the effort to conduct proper research. The last thing you want to do is make false promises or provide surface level statements that cannot be backed up with specific actions. 

The success of diversity and inclusion programs will come to do the work of upper management (and we don’t just mean HR). Successful programs like these should be backed by measurable goals and targets, and consistently re-evaluated and adjusted by the leadership team. 

We’ve taken some time to evaluate diversity and inclusion policies of nonprofit organizations and found a few common areas that can be improved. 

  1. A lack of data collection.

    As we stated above, it’s easy for leaders to make assumptions on the root causes of employee dissatisfaction, rather than taking actionable steps to gather employee feedback. We highly recommend sending out employee satisfaction surveys on at least a 6-month basis. In fact, A UK report shows that evidence-based hiring practices are the most effective approaches to better results in diversity and inclusion initiatives. Having anonymous surveys will allow employees to open up more and admit their concerns more candidly. As the saying goes: numbers don’t lie! Employee satisfaction surveys are the most fair and credible ways of gathering employee feedback.

  2. Bias in the hiring process.

    In some cases, there seems to be a disconnect in the “quick fixes” an organization releases and their hiring process. For example, an organization may send out a list of diversity and inclusion resource groups, training courses, etc to their employees, but avoid those practices in the hiring process. It has to come from the top down! The best way to leave personal bias out of the hiring process is to ensure that hiring personnel don’t get to irrelevant personal details, like age, gender, ethnicity, and so on. 

  1. Using the “cop out” method when hiring leadership.

    It seems logical to hire a person of color into a leadership position to help address diversity and inclusion issues. But despite the beliefs of some organizations, that’s not enough. The leadership team as a whole should be diverse, not just one person. True diversity comes from having a unique set of backgrounds, and that can’t fall onto one person. It’s important that diversity is a part of the talent pipeline throughout the company, not a one time deal. And that process will require careful and thorough change in the talent acquisition system.

  2. Diversity and inclusion are important — but don’t oversell it.

    The last thing you want to do is set overly ambitious targets without a real plan in place. Internal targets your organization creates should involve managers, executives, employees, and other stakeholders so that the initiatives are owned, not thrown upon them. 

What steps has your organization taken to ensure diversity and inclusion policies are implemented properly? Leave us a comment below! 

If you’re a nonprofit applying for grants and need help conveying your organizations diversity and inclusion policies, we can help! Visit our services page for more information. 

crisis management
As fundraising consultants at RBW, we can safely say there’s never been anything like COVID-19. We’ve helped our clients with crisis management over the years, but nothing can compare you for a situation as drastic as a pandemic.crisis managementSince the outbreak began, we’ve been working with clients to help them transition into this new reality, while simultaneously trying to maintain fundraising momentum. Some organizations are going through a survival crisis, while others are working to raise additional funds needed to match the increase in demand for their services.

At RBW, we’re using a combination of past crisis management experience and creativity to help organizations navigate through these troubling times. Below are some important lessons we’ve learned during COVID-19.

  1. Communicate regularly. This is the perfect time to create effective donor communication strategies and reach out to donors who have given to you this year. Say thanks for their support,and inform them about what your organization is doing during this time. Make sure you’re utilizing a variety of channels, including email, letters, virtual webcam meetings, etc. You also want to make sure your direct donors know how to get to your online giving emergency fund, and your supporters should be aware of the COVID-19 stimulus package if they aren’t already. And when it comes to your staff, consider creating employee rallies, checking in with them regularly, and holding regular board meetings to keep them informed and engaged in fundraising efforts.
  2. Follow the plan. You can’t plan for everything, and saying things are uncertain right now is a bit of an understatement. But having scenarios identified and creating actionable steps in the event of a crisis can help a ton. Even though the world is changing rapidly, don’t feel like you need to update your crisis plan every 5 seconds. As long as you have a general outline for how to handle crises, you’ll be ok! At the end of the day, those who plan ahead will be ahead of the curve when this crisis is over.
  3. Good leadership is critical. Troubling times like these require top-down direction from leadership. It’s important that leaders are able to act quickly and decisively, and have a good handle on short term and long-term plans. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of hard choices to make right now, and leaders need to be confident in their decisions. During this time, leaders should be evaluating revenue streams, bottom lines, minimizing cost, and maximizing effort where needed. Leaders should also be speaking transparently, opening up the floor for employees and donors to express their questions, concerns, and challenges.
  4. Don’t forget your mission. Particularly in times of stress, it’s important to re-establish your mission statement and values. After all, this guides your decision-making and communication processes! It’s hard to excuse your values during troubling times, but it’s not impossible. This will show donors your organization is strong enough to weather the storm.

It’s important we keep these crisis management lessons top of mind as we move forward in this unprecedented business landscape. That way when the pandemic dissipates, nonprofits are able to help people recover and sustain our communities.

If you need tips, advice, or additional resources, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our services page for more info. You can also check out the blog for other related topics.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 2.9 million students will be awarded associate’s and bachelors degree’s during the 2017-2018 school calendar year (more if you include graduate students). This is a time for celebration as these individuals have achieved a significant milestone. However, given the challenges that many people face entering a new workforce, the transition can be challenging (even for those who have significant work experience in unrelated fields). For those interested in public sector work, how can we pay it forward and help them contribute to meaningful work in this field?

Mentoring them. Take time to get to know someone new in your office, a friend’s child/sibling or your own relative. Are you asking them questions and offering advice of how to best position themselves for success? Are you providing them with useful resources where they can gather more information? How about connecting them to someone with potential job leads? This can be the beginning of a longer-term friendship/relationship.

Training them. What may appear to you as easy and rote, might be daunting and scary to someone unfamiliar with how to complete certain tasks. Perhaps using a step-by-step approach and taking time solicit feedback will pay back in spades.

Supporting them. Are you listening to their concerns? Are you trying to gain feedback to help create new efficiencies with your own work? Your support can provide the morale booster needed for them to take chances and make strides with tasks that were previously perceived as difficult.

What are you doing to help the next generation of leaders? Your skills, insights and experiences are invaluable and everyone has something to contribute. Try to extend a hand to someone – it could mean the world to someone where opportunities are less available to them.

When we’re younger, we look up to our parents, teachers and older siblings as they always appear to be in charge. To us they might even seem unstoppable. As we get older we realize that we are infallible and that as adults we try to make the best decisions with what information we have available. What about those who transcend the average adult and become fearless leaders? We know them and they come from all walks of life – CEOs, elected officials, political activists, religious figures and many other superheroes living in our midst. However, what makes them stand out and what is it that we crave from them to help fulfill our lives and make us want to follow their lead?

  1. Integrity: Good leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. They don’t crack under pressure and there is clarity with the message being conveyed. People follow those who they can trust.
  2. Perspective: People’s views change when they overcome adversity and their existing viewpoints are challenged. These insights build character, sensitivity and understanding, which allows you to feel like your own viewpoints are understood.
  3. Courage: Think about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi. They were incredibly courageous just by staying true to their convictions no matter the outcome (including jail and potential violence). While most good leaders may not face these obstacles, they do need to stay true to their convictions despite competing interests, naysayers and other challenges.
  4. Big Picture: Start with the end goal in mind. Good leaders have vision and can articulate this vision so others see it as well.
  5. Listening: Many people think good leaders are known for being wonderful orators and have great power through their strength and command. However, I think strong leadership requires humility and listening when others do not agree with that point of view. This helps build the following and engaging others whose viewpoints are starkly different from your own.

Who are the leaders in your life and what can you learn from them?