We are now less than three weeks from Election Day, although perhaps "Day" should be in quotation marks. Millions of people are voting early this year – in person and by mail – and an historic turnout is expected. So, the actual counting of all ballots may mean that the winners of some races will not be known on November 3rd. That shouldn’t be cause for concern; it would simply be the process working. Nonprofits, as nonpartisan places where people can come together, may have an important role in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, this edition of Nonprofit Knowledge Monthly relates a number of important issues for nonprofits, including one that is time-sensitive as key deadlines for the election approach. But before getting to those articles, we cover a threat to ongoing equity efforts and a new tool to advance equity within nonprofit organizations.
An Executive Order to Set Back Diversity Training
Given everything that’s been in the news the last few weeks, it would be easy to miss something. But there is one development that we all need to know about because it threatens to ban certain words and concepts relating to racial and gender diversity, equity, and inclusion. On September 22, the President signed an Executive Order (EO) nominally on “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.” Despite its virtuous-sounding name, this EO and related actions by the Administration would do the opposite. It could have a chilling effect on the work of nonprofits as we confront systemic racism and gender inequities. Already, federal agencies have been canceling trainings on implicit bias and sexual harassment. In the coming weeks, nonprofits that renew their federal contracts and grants could see new language that forbids trainings that include certain words.
Make no mistake, this order seems designed to sow divisions and chaos in our country. In an article for Nonprofit Quarterly, Tim Delaney and David L. Thompson describe how the Orwellian order attempts to shift civil rights laws in reverse and predict that it will be challenged in court. They conclude, “Bottom-line: The overreaching EO deploys intimidation, informants, and enforcers to banish ideas and words. It could essentially shut down trainings on race equity, gender equity, unconscious bias, systemic racism, and almost any topic concerning race or gender diversity, equity, and inclusion.” We recommend reading the full article for our analysis of the EO and what it means for nonprofits. And if you want more details, check out our webpage about the Executive Order, which links to, among other things, a sampling of the volumes of statements issued on behalf of many hundreds of organizations opposing the Executive Order.
If your nonprofit has been affected by the Executive Order or expects to be, please share your story with us.
Advancing Equity in Technology
Inequity can take many forms. As nonprofits strive to build equity into all their operations, they often overlook the way they use technology. NTEN, the nonprofit technology network, noticed this and began engaging a diverse group in 2017 to create a guide for nonprofits to use.
We invited Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN, to join us for a quick conversation about what equity in technology is and how the Equity Guide for Nonprofit Technology can be a tool for all nonprofit staff, no matter their role. After all, technology doesn’t just affect whoever is managing your IT; it’s a tool that we’re all relying on more than ever, and technology affects the way we provide services in communities.
As NTEN’s announcement of the guide shares: “[T]he Equity Guide is just that — a guide. It's not a complete checklist of things you do once and declare, 'EQUITY ACHIEVED!' Nor is it something only for organizations of a specific size or mission-focus. It's a tool that every organization can use to evaluate policies and practices and find new ways to advance on the forever path toward equity.”
Nonprofit Staff Vote
National Voter Registration Day was an immense success this year with an estimated 1.5 million new voters registered, many thanks to hundreds of nonprofits that – in a nonpartisan manner – encouraged their staff, their boards, their volunteers, and the people they serve to register.
Now, it’s time for the next step in ensuring nonprofit staff are #VoteReady: giving them time off to vote on or before Election Day. The team at Nonprofit VOTE has launched the #NonprofitStaffVote campaign to encourage nonprofits to adopt policies allowing time off to vote and ensuring staff are aware of the policy. No one should have to choose between their paycheck and exercising their right to vote. We are proud that the National Council of Nonprofits serves as one of the flagship partners for this campaign. Join us in offering paid time off to vote today!
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