Promoting diversity within your industry or workforce is an important step towards creating opportunities for your community. Yet teams often forget these efforts are more than just the right thing to do, but provide definitive, quantifiable improvements. The data is in: diverse teams also deliver better results. And nowhere is this more important than the giving space, a space that aims to support disenfranchised communities, and therefore should be representing said communities on their own teams.
There’s a trickle-down effect in philanthropy that stands to greatly impact the nonprofits and communities that need it most. It’s easy to understand why. Groups, whether they be individuals or foundations, will naturally gravitate towards supporting communities that directly impact or interest them.
Like tends to attract like so it’s no surprise that we see tech companies investing in STEM education, or large foundations (many of whom share information with peers and friends in the giving space) investing in many of the same nonprofits. That’s why it’s so important to look at diversity from top to bottom - from the givers all the way to the various nonprofits selected to receive their paychecks. Fortunately we’re seeing some positive changes.
Recently Forbes contributor Bonnie Chiu reported on the rise in female philanthropists noting that, “the face of wealth is changing.” The 2018 Forbes list of billionaires included a record 256 women (out of a total of 2,208); meaning a growing number of women are entering the “mega donor” status, and studies show that women are more likely to donate than men, and donate more when they give.
As the face of wealth changes so does the search to give back. This population is seeking out new causes and nonprofits to invest in, and demanding fresh approaches to tackling old but growing problems (think homelessness, and education).
If the mega donor landscape is changing, so is the makeup of foundations and nonprofits, albeit slowly. In 2015 The Council on Foundations provided an in-depth look at representation for women, and people of color in the philanthropic sector. Their research found that even though 77 percent of women were in professional positions, only 60 percent were in executive leadership roles.
At that time minority groups made up only 24.3 percent of the foundation workforce, with less than 15 percent of minorities holding executive level leadership positions. And when the data from the 2011 report is compared to the 2015 statistics, only incremental change is seen – yet we know foundations want, and seek out, ways to improve diversity.
Technology can help
At the end of the day the philanthropic sector is small. We’re a network of givers and doers; here to support a greater good, searching (often siloed by region and personal connections) for ways to expand our impact.
We know that more needs to be done, and that at times it looks like certain industries and certain causes receive the lion’s share of donations. That’s why now more than ever it’s crucial to take a step back, examine grant data and donor practices, and turn a critical eye to internal teams. A diverse team will bring forth new approaches, and may be able to spot opportunities or deficiencies otherwise missed with a homogenous, groupthink leaning team.
Here at Fluxx we’re at the tail-end of a trickle-down effect that starts with mega donors, and moves to the incredible foundations we work with, all the way to the “boots on the ground” nonprofits. Foundations use our platform every day to accelerate and truly “see” their grantmaking process. Data is a click away. This goes hand-in-hand with the work foundations are already doing to measure the nonprofits they work with according to DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) standards. And since this data is all held in one singular platform, it’s easy to spot places for growth and improvement.
We may not have control over who enters the mega donor space, or who foundations choose to hire, but technology does provide a lens into the “what and to whom” of funding distribution. It connects, reveals weaknesses, and helps pinpoint places of potential growth. Change is afoot, and we’re here to ensure that our clients are prepared to maximize their data for sectors ranging from: education, youth development, food and nutrition, medical research, science and technology, public safety, social science, housing and shelter, and more.