How to work with this toolkit

Building Inclusive Governance is a comprehensive toolkit for use by CEOs, board chairs, heads of board governance committees and independent consultants when they work with boards on building inclusive governance. It is a companion to the onBoard Canada publication Diversity in Governance: A Toolkit for Nonprofit Boards, which focusses on practices and strategies to build more diverse boards.

The goal of this toolkit is to give your board a way to measure your current state and to evaluate whether the actions you have taken to create a more diverse board are actually having a positive impact. In addition to supporting you to figure out your current state, it will provide you with resources to help you plan where you might go next. This practical toolkit is designed to help you understand the change process that organizations go through when they embark on the important, but at times demanding, journey to become more inclusive and respond to the needs of their board members, staff and the communities they serve.

The five sections will guide you through the steps to build inclusion into your organization’s governance board.

  1. Start the conversation encourages you to talk about the relationship between diversity and inclusion. It also makes the case for inclusive governance.
  2. Assess inclusivity provides you with assessment criteria once you have had that initial conversation with your board about inclusion. This section is connected to Appendix 2, Levels of inclusion, an assessment tool for use by boards.
  3. Develop inclusive governance policies and practices provides you with a number of considerations to think about as you develop inclusive governance policies. It builds on your board work and understanding of diversity and invites you to take it further.
  4. Adopt strategies to build a culture of learning addresses what an inclusive governance culture looks like and then suggests particular strategies for the inclusion of everyone who is on the board.
  5. Embed a culture of inclusion discusses how to navigate the challenges you may encounter when you disrupt the status quo and upset the balance of power that operates on your board. It outlines ways to take stock of your progress and to plan next steps.

You will find references to the appendices throughout the toolkit. They are meant to support you to assess and develop resources and to engage in a process of developing a culture of inclusion with your board. There is also a Glossary of Key Terms and a List of Further Resources. At the end of the toolkit, we have summarized the steps that you can take with your governance board, drawing on the materials from the toolkit.


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