Engaging Your Association in DEI

Recommended Practices for Associations*

 Setting the Foundation

  • Develop and promote a clearly articulated policy on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Engage in regular internal conversations about DEI (among staff, volunteers, and the Board).


 Internal Focus – Engaging Staff and Volunteers

  • Create/assign DEI efforts to a committee or task force for implementation or monitoring. Ensure the committee has a clear mission and relationship with the Board.
  • Incorporate and update DEI goals or strategies in the strategic plan, including mission and vision.
  • Review bylaws, policies, or procedures for their impact on DEI efforts (e.g. hiring practices, pathways and processes for leadership development and board representative, vendor selection).
  • Create special DEI initiatives to engage and support under-represented groups (such as creating communities for under-represented groups, lowering barriers and access to events, providing financial support and/or mentoring to candidates).


 External Focus – Engaging Members

  • Measure the diversity of the association’s membership and evaluate the results.
  • Understand where gaps exist and develop plans to address them.
  • Provide educational sessions to members that build awareness and promote cultural competence.
  • Promoting and supporting DEI strategies that can be replicated by your members.

 * This list is designed as a road map for associations to support their DEI efforts and provide common ground for association collaboration. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list or exclusive of other DEI practices.

Several resources have been curated by CalSAE Volunteers. Please use them to support the best practices on this page, and for the following DEI topics.







Implicit Bias

Social Justice

Implications for
organizational culture

View Resources