Researching the Diversity of Your Membership and Leadership

Measuring diversity and/or inclusion can be difficult, no matter the size or structure of your organization.

Some associations have institutional memberships; others have individual memberships. Associations with institutional membership may find that fewer individuals provide their demographic information, and only institutional information may be readily available.

Another challenge is that associations cannot benchmark information they do not collect. For instance, few associations request that their members report their gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, or disability status. Most would say they want all groups represented, but that can be a challenge when no data exists about the volunteer pool.

Associations may try to obtain this information by doing the the following:

  • Requesting more specific demographic information during the membership renewal process.
  • Survey the individual members (or designated contacts for the institutional member), requesting detailed demographic information can help build a database on the membership. Demographic data may include age, disability, ethnicity/national origin, family status, gender, gender identity or expression, generation, language, life experiences, organization function and level, personality type, physical characteristics, race, religion/belief/spirituality, sexual orientation, thinking/learning styles and veteran status.
  • Requesting and maintaining information of the diversity of the campuses represented within the membership and campus-level diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (via campus websites and other materials).


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