Equity in Grants Series: Measuring Progress by Kellie Brungard, GPC

Every February, the U.S. honors the cultural heritage, adversities, and African American leaders and movements that have shaped the nation. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling the nation to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,” History.com reports. As part of a series throughout Black History Month, Assel Grant Services will provide various resources on racial equity to help grant professionals become better equipped to guide their organizations towards more equitable services, find funding, and better articulate into grant proposals the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work their organizations are already doing. Topics include writing with an equity lens, resources for your toolbox, measuring progress, and funding opportunities.

In this blog, we will dig deeper into how you can measure progress toward increasing racial equity in your organization. These tools will enhance your DEI knowledge and how it relates to your organization and community served.

Determine a Starting Point

In the same way a blank page can be daunting, so can developing outcomes for a project that is not clearly defined. A great starting point is to complete, or have leadership complete, an organization assessment related to racial equity. Here are some great resources:

Use the assessment results to inform a strategy for addressing areas needing improvement. For example, in year one, the organization will address the items deemed a high priority and will reassess needs and work towards medium-level priorities in year two. Initiatives such as implementing inclusive and equitable policies and procedures, including individuals representative of the community in program design meetings, and ensuring the program curriculum is inclusive of different cultures, religions, and races are attainable places to start. Engage leadership in conversations about what resources will be put towards racial equity initiatives, such as what staff will be involved, which priorities will require additional expenditures to accomplish, and who is responsible for managing the process.

Define the Metrics

Creating a plan for how you will measure the outcomes is important. Look at the priorities and consider what can be measured and what is in attainable for the organization. As we discussed in the racial equity lens blog, think about the systems and barriers contributing to the issue.

  • Are you looking to increase the diversity of individuals served by programs? Categorize and quantify referral sources and outreach events (e.g., neighborhoods, zip codes, or type of source) and consider how this could be improved;
  • If you want to increase diversity among the recruitment pool, consider where positions are posted, demographics of staff referring individuals, and barriers within job requirements. There are other ways to look at inclusivity among staff by analyzing retention, advancement, compensation, and representation within individual departments;
  • If you want to increase an understanding of racial equity and cultural competency of staff, using a pre- and post-test to assess and measure staff progress can be more impactful than “we held two DEI speakers for 30 staff” responses; and
  • Another useful tool is an employee feedback survey assessing the culture and diversity among employees. This method can gather qualitative measurements and identify ways to support employees at all levels.

Here are some examples of outcomes to measure racial equity progress within an organization:

  • Update policies and procedures with inclusive language, reviewing with a lens of racial equity and cultural bias;
  • Increase understanding of racial equity, implicit bias, and systemic barriers among staff through monthly training, measured by pre- and post-test; and
  • Evaluate and implement changes to the recruitment process to more inclusive sources to engage a more diverse applicant pool;

Share the Purpose

Share your intentions and efforts with staff, leadership, and the board of directors. Create an agency-wide purpose statement explaining the work the organization embraces, including a policy for collecting and using anonymous demographic information, particularly race and ethnicity. This isn’t to create marketable content, but to let those who will potentially be involved in the changes or new policies understand the intentions behind them. If you are stuck on what to write, Assel Grant Services has a great training called Cultural Competency: Power of the Pen, with applicable ways to uplift communities and embrace cultural competency in writing.

Track Progress

Once you determine what you will measure, the next question is “how?” Some outcomes will be measurable using the same processes you use for program data such as increasing the diversity of clients or increasing representation with leadership or volunteers. New outcomes, such as increasing cultural competence among staff may require a pre/post-test before presentations, or documenting attendance at continuing education sessions. Define who is responsible for tracking, what they will track, and where the information will be stored. The individual or committee overseeing the initiatives may want to keep a progress dashboard for the leadership team and involved staff to track project status.

If you found this helpful, check out the rest of our series this month including using a racial equity lens, resources for your toolbox, and funding opportunities to support racial equity in our communities. If you are interested in learning more about AGS services, Julie Assel, CGMS, GPC, President/CEO, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you with a quote for grant services.

This BLOG is aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #7: Knowledge of practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers

Skill 7.3: Identify strategies that grant developers use in building social capital to benefit their communities and society at large

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