Why Cultural Competence Matters to Nonprofits

Cultural competence matters if your nonprofit wants to succeed in an increasingly global society. Written policy statements and workshops are useful. However, you’re likely to miss out on the real meaning of cultural competence if you don’t take further steps to integrate these concepts into your nonprofit’s daily practices. Here are some points to keep in mind.

Why Cultural Competence Matters to Nonprofits

Consider your purpose:

The American Psychological Association defines cultural competence as the ability to understand, appreciate, and interact with people from cultures or belief systems different from your own. Building your capacity in this area can help your nonprofit to serve your shareholders better, improve your recruitment, and attract more support.

Take a comprehensive approach:

Progress with cultural competence occurs on the individual and organizational levels. Successful programs take an intentional approach to addressing a variety of components, including education, awareness, and skills. In addition to gaining knowledge, we have to understand our own biases, and how they affect our perceptions and behavior. As you develop policies and practices to help people from different backgrounds interact effectively, there are many practical steps your nonprofit can take. For example, include cultural competence in your criteria for recruiting and training your staff and governing board. Monitor communications to see if alternative viewpoints are being heard and accepted. Translate online content and print materials into other languages.

Reach out for assistance:

As you might expect, increasing your cultural competence is a lifelong process. You need to continue learning and practicing. That involves taking risks and probably making some mistakes along the way. Working with others can help guide your nonprofit’s efforts. Take advantage of available resources, including collaborating with other organizations, and engaging consulting and training services.

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