Our Community digs into diversity

Posted on 05 Mar 2021

By Matthew Schulz

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The Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA) is quizzing sector members about their experience of diversity and inclusion as it strives to play a part in bringing down barriers to participation.

The ICDA diversity questionnaire has prompted some great early comments.

“We’re trying to discover what’s really needed by not-for-profits to address diversity and inclusion properly, and this study is sparking a lively conversation,” says Emily Moore, who is leading the project.

Respondents include those living with disability, different ages, different genders, the LGBTIQ+ community, Australia’s cultural and ethnic mix, and all kinds of ability.

The project aims to encourage respondents to tell their stories, allowing Our Community to hear about the types of discrimination, unconscious bias and exclusion that can occur – often unwitting – in not-for-profits. These include:

  • Biased recruitment practices for both board and staff positions
  • Unacknowledged contributions by minority groups
  • Inaccessible communication with the community
  • A failure to consider neuro diversity
  • Age discrimination both for older workers, and young people starting out
  • A lack of diversity among organisations “representing” diverse groups
  • Leadership that often fails to reflect sector diversity
  • Slow adoption of inclusive practices
  • Imbalance of roles across gender lines
  • Cultural barriers for those not born or raised in Australia.

The project has been welcomed by not-for-profit All Together Now, which is involved in evidence-based approaches to combat racism.

Managing director Priscilla Brice urged other groups to contribute.

“I've been concerned about the lack of cultural diversity in NFP senior leadership for several years, but past conversations with my white peers have led me to believe that there wasn't the appetite to address this because it would require systemic change, and therefore hard work. So I'm really glad to see you doing something about diversity in our sector.”

The findings will be further developed through in-depth conversations with peak bodies and other representative groups.


Diversity and inclusion survey

Achieving a more diverse NFP board

More board diversity help sheets and articles

Become a member of ICDA – it's free!