2020 Sal Martino Legacy Grant for DEI Research Recipient

Kennesaw State University

Building Diverse Association Memberships Through Pipeline Programs: An Evaluation of the Association of Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action’s (ARNOVA) Diversity Scholars Professional Development Program

Primary Investigator: Jennifer A. Wade-Berg, PhD, CNP, Associate Professor & Campus Executive Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance

Abstract: On the organizational level, membership associations are recognizing the importance that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)practices have on its efficiency and effectiveness. Although demographics are changing, many associations struggle with how to increase the number of people of color within their organizations, and how to retain them. This proposal seeks funding in the amount of $7,500 from the ASAE Research Foundation’s Sal Martino Legacy Grant for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research to examine the DEI strategy of building intentional pipeline programs as a means of recruitment and retention of people of color. To understand this strategy, the researcher will partner with the Association of Research on Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) to conduct a program evaluation of the Diversity Scholars Program, a professional development workshop. According to Center Point, the method of “evaluation refers to a periodic process of gathering data and then analyzing or ordering it in such a way that the resulting information can be used to determine whether [an]organization or program is effectively carrying out planned activities, and the extent to which it is achieving its stated objectives and anticipated results” (https://trust.guidestar.org/the-importance-of-evaluation). Through the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data, several research questions aimed at understanding the effectiveness of this DEI strategy are undertaken. The significance of this study includes providing baseline data for future studies involving the use of pipeline programs as a DEI strategy for associations and to underscore the importance of creating such opportunities for underrepresented people of color as a means of equity and inclusion. Additionally, ARNOVA will receive an evaluation of its program along with what the research hopes will be a deeper understanding of how this program impacts the association and its membership.