Focus: Finance and Governance - Trustee talk - Amit Popat, Charity Trustee Networks

My brief is to achieve diversity throughout the organisation.

I do this in my paid job too - I am equality and diversity development consultant for the University of the Arts in London. While serving as a trustee here, I have also been diversity officer at the NCVO.

When voluntary organisations talk about diversity, many simply ask themselves if they have enough women or black people. But it's not just about representation.

Rather than seeing diversity as something independent of the organisation, people should treat it as part of their strategic thinking. They should be driven by positive management practices, not legislation.

The issue of diversity needs to be brought into the mainstream. When we talk about diversity, we should look at how it fits into every part of the organisation. For example, why not appraise staff - particularly the paid, professional leaders - on how their management practices engage with diverse communities. If oppression and discrimination are not addressed, there is a risk that people's efforts will be judged as superficial and tokenistic - just window dressing.

So think about training your trustees in the good management of diversity, because it won't just happen. You have to have policies and procedures in place. Look at which organisations you're forming partnerships with.

As trustees, do you monitor which organisations or beneficiaries you're engaging with?

Where there are financial challenges, look at how you can share information by networking. For instance, BME charities can work with disability organisations to understand diversity issues specific to both.

We don't think creatively enough. As a sector, we are leaders in diversity - we can do more to support each other in understanding each other's issues.

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