Beyond Race and Ethnicity: Information Gathering and Building an Inclusiveness Blueprint

Information Gathering

Consider other demographic areas about which you might want to collect facts. For example, an organization might decide to collect community information about socio-economic status in its service area. Another organization might collect data about field-wide best practices around making the workplace fully accessible for staff members from the disabled community. Organizations that want to collect information about sexual orientation in their community should note that accurate statistics about sexual orientation can be difficult to come by, since many people are not comfortable sharing this information.

As you think about questions to ask survey or interview respondents, you may decide to inquire about backgrounds so that you can look at responses from different groups. For example, if you're interested in understanding how well your organization addresses issues of ability, it might be helpful to ask whether your respondent is mentally or physically disabled. Note, however, that sometimes these kinds of questions can be perceived as invasive, so think carefully about the information that is really important. For example, it may or may not be appropriate to ask about individuals' socio-economic backgrounds (i.e., upper class, middle class, lower-income, poor). Similarly, you may or may not feel comfortable asking people about their sexual orientation.


Building an Inclusiveness Blueprint

Within your inclusiveness blueprint, it is a good idea to clearly state why your organization chose to focus on the communities and/or characteristics it did, and when appropriate, to provide definitions. In addition, you may want to address any methodological challenges that limited your ability to collect information on particular groups. For example, if you hoped to get information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender individuals and were unable to find relevant data during the information-gathering phase, you may wish to include that information in the overview of definitions and/or in the overview of key findings.

Think about the ways your organization's collective values, beliefs, and behaviors are or are not fully inclusive of people from all different backgrounds. In what ways do your organization's espoused values include (or exclude) people from different class backgrounds? Does your organization operate with any basic assumptions about people with different religious beliefs, such as Muslim, Catholic, or atheist?


Overview: The Denver Foundation's Focus on Race and Ethnicity

Beyond Race and Ethnicity: Training and Consultants 

Beyond Race and Ethnicity: Inclusiveness Committee, Definitions of Inclusiveness, and Costs of Not Being Inclusive 

Beyond Race and Ethnicity: Organizational Culture, Board of Directors, and Personnel

Beyond Race and Ethnicity: Marketing/Community Relations and Fundraising/Membership