Costs of Not Being Inclusive


There may be considerable costs associated with not engaging in an inclusiveness initiative.

Consider both hard costs that impact your organization's income and expenses and soft costs that do not have a dollar impact but that may incur other kinds of costs to the organization. Hard costs include missed opportunities for donations from individuals of color, less funding from foundations, missed government contracts, fewer clients, and increased expenses for staff recruitment due to high turnover. Soft costs include low staff and/or board morale, fewer innovative ideas because of a homogenous staff or board, and an unwelcoming environment to potential or current volunteers, staff, donors, clients, and board members. Organizations may find that failing to be inclusive affects their ability to communicate their message with intended audiences and to fully understand what these audiences are communicating back. Not being inclusive can affect an organization's ability to meet the needs of its clients, to reach out to and serve potential clients in need of its services, and to meet its mission effectively.

For example, an arts and culture organization that is not fully inclusive may find that their audience does not include people from different racial or ethnic backgrounds. This may affect the funding they receive, their audience numbers, and their ability to provide enriching cultural experiences to all members of their community.

A health organization that does not have materials written in the languages of their patients or staff that fluently speak these languages may find that their ability to effectively serve these patients is compromised.

A human services organization that has an ethnically homogenous board of directors may find that their ability to raise funds from diverse communities and fully understand the needs of their more diverse clients is compromised.

Note: Lawsuits are another potential cost of not being inclusive. This workbook does not provide any legal advice or direction.  You should consult with your legal counsel for information about potential lawsuits and legal compliance with equal opportunity laws.

Considering the costs associated with not engaging in an inclusiveness initiative is an important task in your process. If your group ever loses sight of why it is engaging in an inclusiveness initiative, the results of this task will remind you of the importance of this work.

Review Costs of Not Being Inclusive worksheet.

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny ... whatever affects one ... directly affects all indirectly.
Martin Luther King Jr.