Setting Appropriate Diversity Goals for Your Membership

“We know we want a diverse membership in our association, and a diverse leadership pipeline… but we don't know where to start.”

Goal-setting is very often the first step in any initiative. You'll need to first select the goals that best meet the needs and address the unique challenges experienced by the members in your state or region.

Some sample goals might include the following:

  • Identify specific needs or areas of concern. This may require your association to gather and analyze data to make determinations about diversity gaps in our membership and/or leadership.
  • Once baseline data exists, determine how to measure the progress toward diversity, equity and inclusion of the organization.
  • Provide training targeted toward the diverse needs of the financial aid community and the changing diversity profiles of our campus populations
  • Ascertain which of your current policies, practices or objectives affect diversity and review them to determine if they are helping or hindering diversity efforts
  • Procure buy-in and support among key stakeholders (the board, committees or other influencers such as vocal members) for diversity and inclusion efforts.
  • Implement your diversity-focused initiatives. The range is wide for what these might be - special events, conferences, written outreach (blog posts), web content, leadership development programs, mentorships programs, scholarships, etc.
  • Communicate the initiatives to all possible participants, casting as wide a net as possible
  • Measure, evaluate and disseminate outcomes to those responsible for the programs
  • Review and adjust on a regular basis, per a pre-set plan (quarterly, annually, every other year, etc.)

Once you have your goals, you can use them to construct a strategic plan for your initiative, setting timelines, outcome targets, and expectations.


The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends the following steps in the implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives:

  1. Compile Data
  2. Identify Needs and/or Areas of Concern
  3. Address Policies or Practices Affecting Diversity
  4. Identify [Association] Objectives
  5. Procure Buy-in and Support
  6. Implement Initiatives
  7. Communicate the Initiatives
  8. Measure and Disseminate Outcomes
  9. Review and Adjust


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