How to Write a Meaningful Organisation EDI Statement
EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) efforts are increasingly becoming a part of most organisations’ business plans highlighting their aims for workplace development and culture.
A statement is one way to show your commitment to this work and for some organisations, is a requirement from funders, to have one on their website. But how do you articulate your dedication to being more inclusive, attracting more diverse partners and potential employees and creating and maintaining accessible and safe spaces for all in a meaningful way? Before you start writing, there are a few key points to consider as part of the process.
What is an EDI statement?
An EDI statement is a formal articulation of your organisation's commitment to EDI in terms of who you employ and work with, while also cultivating an environment of inclusivity and a culture of belonging. It should give a clear sense of your organisation’s dedication to prioritising the needs, voices, and perspectives of historically marginalised groups and the role your organisation has to play not only in your sector but wider society. An EDI statement also establishes the purpose and intention for your organisation’s journey.
What does diversity mean to you?
The first step to writing a meaningful EDI statement is to be clear about what diversity means to your organisation. This requires intentionality and input from individuals ideally at every level of your organisation. Once you have identified what diversity means for you, then you will need to spend time gaining clarity about why it is important to your organisation and a part of your value system.
How will you demonstrate those values?
Once you have determined the value of diversity to your organisation, you should start developing a plan that demonstrates to employees and stakeholders how it is an integral part of your work. Try not to draft a statement that simply sounds good and is great to say, because if there’s no action behind it, then the aforementioned process is pointless. Your strategy, which should complement your statement, is your plan of action for how your team will embody EDI in practice, beyond those that are required by law.
What to say and HOW to say it
The tone of your statement is just as important as the message itself. While diversity is a serious subject, it’s important to embody the culture of the organisation within your messaging. Not only will the statement be consistent with who you are, it will also feel organic to those who are already familiar with your organisation and your work. A cut and paste approach may read as performative or inauthentic, which could be counterproductive to your diversity efforts. It’s also best to be upfront and honest about where you are on your journey.
Authenticity in your EDI statement is key.
Also if you’re still working on certain areas or efforts, consider naming that as part of your statement. Take ownership of where your organisation is today, and what you’re striving to be in the future.
Our motto is supporting and challenging individuals and organisations to be BOLD and BRAVE in their commitment to EDI. The best EDI statements are those that grab people’s attention with meaningful, bold assertions. Who or what do you stand for? Stand firm in this truth. This is why you want to make sure that you’re not just rewording what someone else said, but rather constructing an honest expression of your dedication to centering EDI in all aspects of your work.
Keep it simple
Diversity statements do not need to be lengthy and should ideally be around 75-150 words. You want to construct a statement that is powerful but concise. If it’s too long, people may start to tune out and your message becomes lost. Aim for direct, bold statements followed by a few sentences of clarifying text that solidifies your position.
How to start?
Writing a diversity statement should flow from your answers to a few key questions (outlined below). If you find it difficult to answer any of these questions, this is may be a sign for you to spend some time assessing internally and listening to various groups first, and then return to this exercise. Some key questions include:
Why is this important to us?
What are our goals relating to diversity, equity, inclusion?
How do we hope to or plan to include EDI within our organisation?
Are there specific things that we are already doing well that we can point to?
How does our EDI work relate back to our values?
Have we involved voices from all aspects of our organisation in the creation of this statement? (whose voice is missing?)
With the answers to these questions you can begin to start crafting your statement. Remember a copy and paste approach will NOT do justice to who you are and your values. So, be sure to do you!
A few additional tips (taken from Brighter Strategies)
Start with your mission
Look at your mission statement and go from there. Your EDI statement should be an extension of your organization’s mission. It defines why your organisation is pursuing its EDI journey.
Describe underrepresented groups
An EDI statement explicitly identifies the underrepresented populations your organisation is committed to serving, and currently underserving, both within your workforce (employees) and externally (the community). Your organisation will have a different mix of groups depending on its geography, demographics, and mission.
Break it down
To make it more memorable, separate the EDI statement into parts. The first part should be a headline of sorts, succinctly declaring how EDI is a main priority of your agency. The second part, perhaps a longer description of how you walk your diversity talk and the any other sections (maybe one or two more) could be bullets outlining your commitment.
The language of your EDI statement should be inclusive, affirming, and optimistic. Call out solutions and specific examples, not problems. Use positive words like “empower,” “create,” and “learn.”
And if you get rally stuck, or just want another perspective or some support, get in touch as we can help!