Monitoring diversity

In order to know how diverse your organisation currently is and how open you are to diversity generally, you will need to set up some form of monitoring.

Setting up a working group

One way to do this, is to set up a working group.  How big the group should be, will depend on the size of the organisation.  It should however include members from across the organisation -

  • Volunteers
  • Staff at all levels
  • Trustees/Management Committee members
  • Service users
  • Supporters and funders

The group could consider -

  • Does our work meet the needs of a diverse public?
  • Do our procedures help or hinder diversity?
  • Do we need to change how we work in order to meet individual and differing needs?
  • How diverse are our staff and volunteers?

The findings can be used to form the basis of a diversity strategy for the organisation.

Diversity monitoring forms

It is common for organisations to use a monitoring form to collect diversity information.  Indeed many are required to do so by their funders.  If you decide to use a form you should make it clear that the information is confidential and that people are under no obligation to complete it.  Forms should be kept separate from other personal information such as name and contact details.

The Census is the most common source of statistical information on the population.  It is standard practice for all government departments who monitor diversity to use Census categories.  It makes sense therefore to use the same categories when monitoring diversity for your organisation, so that comparisons can be made.

When monitoring the diversity of volunteers, it is helpful to ask how they found out about the opportunity. This will help you to evaluate the results of recruitment campaigns and show which sections of the community respond to your publicity.

Using the information

Collecting the information is only part of the process of monitoring diversity.  It is how you use the information that matters most.

  • By comparing information about your volunteers with the demographics (statistics on age, gender, ethnicity etc) of the local area, you can see at a basic level how you match up in terms of diversity. 

This can then prompt you to investigate why, for example, you do not have any volunteers from particular groups that may be represented in the local community.

  • By comparing information about your volunteers with national volunteering trends you can see whether there is perhaps a bigger explanation for a lack of volunteers in any particular  group.  Volunteering England publish up-to-date information sheets on volunteering statistics

Taking action

Having identified areas where there are gaps or things that need addressing, you will need to devise a plan and take action.  Action points may include:

  • Contacting other agencies for information and advice on involving volunteers from particular groups in society
  • Review of policy and procedures to ensure that they do not directly or indirectly discriminate against certain groups
  • Training for staff, trustees and existing volunteers
  • Targeted recruitment