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Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

  • 1.  Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 06-17-2022 12:23 PM
      |   view attached
    Earlier this month, we posted a poll question about the demographic makeup of your organization's staff and community. The poll results are below: 

    Poll Results on demographic representation
    Of the 1,563 responses, 43% agree or strongly agree that their organization's staff represents the demographic makeup of the communities they represent. I expected there to be a lot more Disagrees and Strongly Disagrees based on recent research study results. 

    Companion Animals for Reform & Equity (CARE) conducted a "Harvard Project Implicit Results" research study between September 29 and November 16, 2020. I'm attaching it to this post. According to the study's data from 1,725 participants, Animal Welfare's demographics are 84% White, 86% Non-Hispanic, and 84% Women. 

    Infographic: Animal Welfare Demographics


    After seeing the CARE study data, doesn't it seem unlikely that so many poll respondents (43%) actually work at an organization with staff that represents the demographics of their communities?

    Are we seeing our own implicit biases at play here?

    What do you think?

    @Jennifer Evans and @James Evans, I'd love to know your thoughts. 



    ​​
    #Diversity,Equity,InclusionandJustice
    #OrganizationalManagement
    #PeopleManagement(includingVolunteerIntegration)

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    Kim Domerofski (she/her)
    Community Manager
    Maddie's Fund
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    Attachment(s)



  • 2.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 06-21-2022 07:39 AM
    This question assumes that people actually know the demographics of their community, but how many already knew without stopping to do the research first? I'm guessing very few. People probably just quickly guessed and moved on into the forum. Plus, most people think of race/ethnicity when we're talking about demographics, so they probably didn't take gender into account at all.

    Another explanation could be that some people who knew their organization didn't represent their communities skipped the question altogether.

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    M Saucedo
    GIS Analyst
    Pets for Life
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  • 3.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 06-21-2022 10:00 AM
    All good points. Thanks, @M Saucedo!​

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    Kim Domerofski (she/her)
    Community Manager
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 4.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 06-22-2022 07:30 AM
    This is so fascinating.
    I also wonder if it's reflective of seeing improvement? Perhaps people are answering a little aspirationallly?

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    Emily Wood
    Director
    Broward County Animal Care
    Fort Lauderdale FL
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  • 5.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 06-22-2022 08:29 AM
    Beyond ethnicity and gender, the communities LCHS, Inc. serves are not alike when it comes to income, education level, age.  Rural, suburban and urban environments.  Don't even get me started on red/blue.  While we can't realistically include someone from every background and point of view, we try to keep their needs and positions in mind.

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    crystal blackdeer
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  • 6.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 06-22-2022 10:35 AM
    Agreed, @M Saucedo

    The Project Implicit study controlled for all the items M Saucedo mentioned and duplicate responses from the same org [I'm not sure if the survey above accounts for different and possibly conflicting responses from the same orgs]. 

    Concerning here is the high percentage of "Neither Agree nor Disagree", which I presume is equivalent to "I don't know". 
    In my experience, few AW-focused orgs perform human-focused research within their areas of focus. If any research is done at all, it's often centered around companion animals only. Failing to align pets with people will only prolong the suffering of both. 

    @Emily Wood, I think it's far too early and unlikely to see improvements this early, our study is barely two years old. While some BIPOC that have been in the field for years are currently being highlighted, I've seen no evidence of a major shift in the hiring of BIPOC overall. And yes, I believe non BIPOC tend to think aspirationally when discussing race/race relations/inclusion

    Thx


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    James Evans
    Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity
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  • 7.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 06-24-2022 05:19 AM
    All,

    I also think a point to consider is the staffing situation in our shelters over the last 1-2 years.
    I am a volunteer.
    Recently, while thanking one of our kennel staff for staying with the organization she informed me that she is the only one left of the people she was working with when she started 1 year ago!! The newly hired individuals do more reflect the community--three men!! 
    Is it possible we are measuring a moving target?

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    susan murphy
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  • 8.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 06-24-2022 06:37 AM
    @susan murphy  When thinking about Micro shifts, yes researching measurements ​is liken to chasing a moving target. But CARE's research is further  evidence of the lack of change from a Macro perspective - in short AW has not made any significant shifts in more than 20 years. While any diversity should be applauded, our goal should be Macro shifts as Micro shift are normal and not necessarily sustainable.

    Best!

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    James Evans
    Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity
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  • 9.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 07-09-2022 12:04 PM
    I think this is a rich area of inquiry and agree few folks who responded to the survey follow or know the demographics of the communities they serve.  More interesting and perhaps very related is how many good jobs & careers are there in Animal Care & Services?
    Do members of the communities we serve know what it takes to become certified as a shelter management professional or Vet Tech? Do jobs & careers in our professions pay enough to earn a living?  It is becoming clear to me that the mental health of ACS workers in the communities they serve are really a canary in the mine - revealing much about what is going on in the community.  So in this way this question is really rich. Live release rates, % adoption, time in shelter,  number of fostered pets, etc. represent what's really going on in the community, probably better than many other indicators.

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    Matt Sadinsky
    CEO
    PReP Intl @ City of San Jose
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  • 10.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 07-10-2022 07:43 AM
    As has been discussed here, implicit bias is a major consequence in not properly representing your community in your organization. In addition to that, there is also a lot to be gained from understanding your community. While we can take guesses all day about why certain animals have longer stays or why intake is higher in our community than the next community over, looking at important data like income, education, home ownership vs renting, and overall knowledge of the animal care industry can help us take important steps to getting at the root of our problems. Recognizing we are not our market, is absolutely the first step to better understanding and serving the people and animals in our community.

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    Kenzie Whalen-Dunn
    Founder and Director
    Rescue Allies
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  • 11.  RE: Does Your Organization Represent Your Community?

    Posted 07-10-2022 05:11 PM
    Thank you so much for this post.

     At my former organization I did not feel that demographic of the staff was a representation of the community that we served.

     At my current organization I definitely feel that there are more people of color in leadership roles. However I will admit that my current organization recognizes that  there is not enough people of color in leadership roles and is actively making steps to change that. I will say that I feel as though the staff is a representation of the community that we serve, however I have only been with this company for a few weeks so my perspective may be different in 4 months.

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    Marissa Reid
    Assistant Practice Manager
    Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital

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    Access To Care Specialist
    Clinic Management Specialist
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