Why are charity boards less diverse than UK’s biggest companies?

In a recent article by Rebecca Cooney at Third Sector, research by Inclusive Boards found that 6.6 per cent of trustees at the top 500 charities by income are from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared with 8.2 per cent at FTSE 100 companies. This at first might seem shocking but, as GOOD’s Deputy MD Hanisha Kotecha explains, maybe it isn’t quite as surprising as it first seems.

‘Working with the charity sector over the years, this stat is hardly surprising. Some senior leadership teams have moved from middle class, middle aged white men to middle class, middle aged white women by their own admission. Not sure if that counts as diversity of thought.

Ethnicity, though, will catch up. There are already people from BAME backgrounds making a difference, coming up the ranks in some of the best NGOs and I’m excited to see what happens when they do. Especially with incredible CEOs like Amanda Khozi Mukwashipaving the way.

Looking at social mobility in the sector could be far more important. How many people from lower socio economic backgrounds reach a senior position in the charity sector? People who’ve lived through homelessness, devastation or hunger. Or are we continuing to fuel the industry with saviours.

Plan International is a wonderful example of how much more fresh and impactful the thinking and work could be. A sponsor child aged 5, born in El Salvador grew up learning that girls had the right to aspire to professions beyond teaching and being a secretary and was thankfully awarded the means to a complete education. Now a full time-employee at Plan International, Laura is the National Officer for El Salvador. She’s now responsible for managing sponsorship and training community volunteers and Plan’s delivery in El Salvador, I suspect is all the better for it. Wouldn’t that sort of diversity be much much more game-changing?

Read more about Laura’s story here.