Part II: Our Journey Through the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit

Sending the Survey

This is part two of our Journey Through the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit blog series. To read part one, click here.


At Charities Review Council, we strive to live out our values every day. That’s why we’re sharing our journey through the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Toolkit with all of you; The wins, opportunities, goals, and key learnings. In part one of this blog series, we shared our journey to getting started. Today’s post is all about the survey.

The DEI Toolkit Assessment Survey

At the core of the DEI Toolkit is an organizational assessment survey. This assessment survey is a quick primer for organizations interested in understanding their internal diversity as it compares to the community they serve. Unlike many DEI surveys, this survey is intended to be sent not only to the organization’s board and staff, but also to committee members, volunteers, key partners/allies, community stakeholders, vendors, and of course, constituents. We find that when all audiences are engaged, the results provide a real-time view of your organization, both from the inside-out and the outside-in, that can propel your organization forward.

Our 5 Key Learnings

Spoiler alert, we didn’t get it right the first time. Find out why, below.

Learning #1: Identify the Right Audience & Allow Time to Gather Contact Information

Although sending the survey is pretty straight-forward, identifying the right audience and gathering email addresses, might require some thought and time. At Charities Review Council, we partner with so many donors, nonprofits, and community partners that we needed to talk through how wide we would cast our first survey net. In fact, we ended up having to send the survey twice in order to really drill down to results that reflected viewpoints about the Council and not the individual organizations that responded. NOTE: The DEI Toolkit survey does require your recipients to have an email address. Once the email address is entered, you can easily send the survey and reminder emails, as needed.

Learning #2: Timing is Everything

As with any survey or communication, sending it at the right time is crucial. At Charities Review Council, we sent our first round of surveys a week before Thanksgiving. Feedback from our partners and survey response rates indicated this was too close to a major U.S. holiday. So, as you’re thinking about timing for your organization, make sure to check the calendar for major holidays or organizational events.

Learning #3: Provide Clear Communication on Survey Expectations

When we sent out our initial survey, we found that many of our nonprofit partners answered about their own internal diversity versus sharing their viewpoints on the Council’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Due to our unique role as both a nonprofit supporter and nonprofit, we found we needed to more clearly explain the purpose of the survey so that our partners knew exactly how to respond. As you craft your email communications, consider the following:

  • A short intro

Hello, (insert your organization’s name) Partners,
I’m reaching out to ask for your feedback and perspective of (insert your organization’s name). We’ve decided to complete the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit assessment to learn how our people, processes, and decision-making structures reflect and include the community we serve.

  • A clear description of the survey’s intent and the link to participate

As a (insert your organization’s name) partner, we’d love to hear from you! Below, I’ve included the link to our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit assessment survey. Our goal is to learn about your perspective of and experience with (insert your organization’s name). For that reason, you’ll want to answer these questions as it relates to (insert org name). NOTE: The survey is completely anonymous, requiring a minimum of six responses before publishing any results. That means no identifying characteristics will be linked to your survey responses. You can plan to spend about 20 minutes completing the survey. Click here to get started: (insert link)

  • The survey deadline

Our DEI Toolkit Committee will be reviewing the results of this assessment on (insert date). For that reason, we’re asking that you submit your response by (insert cutoff date and time).

  • A note of thanks

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful responses.

In partnership,
(insert signature)

#4 Send the Survey (And reminders, as needed)

Once you’ve crafted your participant list, gathered email addresses, and perfected your email communication, you’re ready to send the survey. As your survey cutoff date approaches, you can easily send reminders with the click of a button in the DEI Toolkit.

#5 Determine & Schedule Next Steps

Once you’ve received your results, you’ll want to be intentional about scheduling next steps right away. At Charities Review Council, we partnered with our board and staff project champions to help identify and schedule next step meetings.


Stay tuned for part III of this blog series where we’ll be talking all about the results: How to review them, who to review them with, and how they can inform your organizational goals around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Click here to subscribe.

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