When thinking of diversity, the first thing that comes to mind generally is ethnic diversity. While ethnic diversity is very important in the nonprofit world, there are other areas of diversity that are equally important.
I attended a nonprofit workshop recently and as I looked around the room I noticed an obvious diversity issue. There was a room full of Matures and Baby Boomers (ages 56 – 75). I wondered why several of the age groups were in limited attendance or not present. Now, don’t get me wrong; these professionals were all very accomplished. However, there were only a few Generation X’ers (40-55), and a noticeable absence of Millennials (19-39) and not one Generation Z (<19). (I’ll excuse this generation; they’re busy right now getting an education.). Oddly enough, the workshop had to do with exploring generational diversity, the need for which was well proven by the attendance.
I immediately thought, “Where are the professionals who will succeed this group?” The Matures and Baby Boomers will be retiring soon, and the nonprofit organizations must start recruiting Generation X and Millennials if they expect to turn over sustainable organizations.
We in the nonprofit sector need to be much more strategic about succession planning. Diversity will be required on all fronts; ethnicity, generational, technology, gender, religion, sexual orientation and accessibility. Communities are depending on the nonprofit sector to be truly inclusive and not leave anyone out. They have come to expect us to lead the way for the underserved. Let us accept the challenge of unification and diversity for all.
Comments by Aisha Muslim, OMG! Affiliate Consultant