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Inclusive organizations are diverse at all levels. The decisions they make incorporate a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives, which promotes responsiveness and adaptability.

The Gill Foundation, like many others, has worked hard to embrace inclusivity in a deep way. They describe this quality as follows: “Inclusive organizations not only have diverse individuals involved; more importantly, they are learning-centered organizations that value the perspectives and contributions of all people, and strive to incorporate the needs and viewpoints of diverse communities into the design and implementation of universal and inclusive programs.”

Inclusive thinking benefits more than just programs, however. Communication also becomes more effective when inclusivity becomes an organizational value. That’s because strategic communications requires talking and listening; an outbound behavior and an inbound one.

Inclusivity appears in many forms, ranging from diversity and cultural competency trainings to providing opportunities for partners, peers and grantees to share feedback on your organization’s performance. When organizations invest in growing the skills and systems required to truly solicit, hear and embrace a diverse set of internal and external opinions, they also expand their communication capacity.

Believers in top-down, command-and-control communications sometimes fear that too much inclusivity may dilute message potency or make an organization risk averse, but our research suggests otherwise. Time and again we see that organizations whose communication strategy is shaped by a multitude of opinions tend to be more precise, honed and focused at telling their story.

The result: greater clarity and impact.

by the numbers


Percentage of respondents who agree that effective communication is essential for engaging all of the people the organization works with.


Number of foundations that have signed on to Philanthropy’s Promise.


Number of philanthropic organizations in the D5 Coalition to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy.


Percentage of nonprofit board members in the U.S. who are white (non-Latino). A mere 7 percent are African American or black, and 3.5 percent are Latino.

tips and insights

Inclusive practices advance the common good, increase organizational effectiveness, and enhance impact (D5 Coalition).

Being inclusive means remembering that communication is as much about listening as it is about talking.

There is no hard data available on the number of U.S. foundations and nonprofits that have conducted a diversity and inclusion audit.