Step 3: Assign Key Action Steps
By: Alyson Weiss
After your organization has aligned on your Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion priorities by writing an EDI Vision, it’s time to map out how you are going to start making progress, and who will own each task. This is the step that turns ideas into action!
Because our teams are empowered to set their own priorities at YNPN Boston, and because we wanted to cultivate buy-in at every level, and because EDI is central (not extra!), we chose to approach this step at the team level. Each EDI committee member selected one team to liaise with, and helped them set goals within their functional areas that advanced our EDI priorities.
- Develop a teaching curriculum
To ensure consistency between facilitators and to fully incorporate inclusive teaching practices, we started by developing a trainer curriculum that every EDI committee member used to guide their conversation with their chosen team. The 45-minute curriculum, which you are invited to use or to modify, covered the following agenda items:
- An introduction to the EDI Vision
- Brainstorming existing projects that either already support our EDI priorities, or could be tweaked to support EDI priorities
- Brainstorming new projects that are within the purview of the team that could advance EDI priorities
- Prioritizing, and committing to 2-3 EDI-supporting team goals for the next fiscal year
2. Facilitate an Inclusive Goal-Setting Meeting
One of our top priorities was to develop a curriculum that was as inclusive of different learning and discussion styles as possible. We were very lucky to have two former teachers creating the curriculum, which helped a lot! Some of the ways we strived to be inclusive in our teaching style were:
- About a week before our assigned team meeting, we emailed the EDI Vision and an agenda to the entire team we were visiting. This allows internal processors to have time to read and digest the material prior to asking them to contribute thoughts.
- But, we didn’t forget the procrastinators amongst us! We also built time in for everyone to read the EDI Vision during our curriculum, just in case.
- We included shortened ‘cheat sheet’ versions of the definitions of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, to make sure the terminology was accessible.
- Small group or partner exercises, writing exercises, and large-group discussions were all included, so different learning styles could all participate.
- The EDI liaison also took notes, to allow all team members to fully participate in the discussions
After the meeting ended, the EDI liaison continued to follow up with the team to help them prioritize and select 2-3 goals, and then to help them achieve them.
While leadership transitions prevented every team from successfully setting and achieving EDI goals in our first year of facilitating this curriculum, we did have some major successes, including:
- The Communications and Marketing team coordinated a photo shoot to create an album of diverse stock images that more accurately reflect the nonprofit sector of Greater Boston. In the upcoming year, we plan to share these stock images widely so that all nonprofits can have representative imagery.
- The Talent and Recruitment team facilitated a training on implicit bias in interviewing (more on this in the next post) and expanded our recruitment sources. For the first time, our board is now more than 50% people of color (though our ambassadors are whiter this year than last - always room for improvement!)
- The Events and Programming team held events in new neighborhoods, and started exploring the possibility of hosting an event about EDI.
We identified two major opportunities for improvement for the next year:
Have EDI Committee Members Liaise With Their Own Team. Last year, we asked each EDI committee member to select a team other than their own to facilitate the training with, so that they could fully participate in the process. However, we received feedback that this created the unnecessary extra work of visiting another team’s meeting, and facilitators often felt they did not have the expertise necessary to guide the team they were visiting.
Keep Ideas in Your Back Pocket. Because this process was new to most team members, a few teams had a hard time coming up with the first idea. Once they had the first idea, others tended to flow pretty well. We suggest that the facilitator comes in with 1-2 ideas already in mind, and then asks leading questions, if necessary, to get the gears turning.
The EDI committee was able to meet with every team except for one in its first year, and about half set strong, actionable goals that have started to come into fruition. The teams that were unable to set or achieve goals were mostly unable to do so because they were undergoing leadership transitions, so we are confident that we can improve our successes in this upcoming year with new leaders, and more experience on our committee’s part!
Continue to Step 4: Fill Knowledge Gaps