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Find tips to oversee the work of volunteers and practical suggestions to supervise them. Everything from ideas to help you work more efficiently to the latest in research on keeping volunteers happy and productive.

~ February 2007 ~ Topics

Diversity Inventory

Diversity Inventory

When I say ‘diversity,’ what words do you think of? Dictionary.com defines it as the fact or quality of being diverse; difference.

I grew up in the North as a white female middle class in an upper middle class suburb that was heavily populated by Jewish people. My mother was Danish and we were always exposed to people of other cultures. They had friends from all over the world and we had foreign exchange students that lived in our home. Both of my parents worked but they had 6 children. I couldn't always participate in activities because my parents made too much money to get assistance but not enough to pay for it. I married a soldier and moved to Germany and could look like I was German until I opened by mouth because I couldn't speak the language fluently. After Germany, we moved to a rural Southern town and I couldn’t speak Southern fluently either. One time, I apologized to a storeowner for not being able to be understood and he told me he thought it was his Southern hearing.

I now work in a department where I am a minority with an African-American majority. Our lives and our workplaces intersect with people different than us. Here is a self evaluation to see how well you are interacting with people different from you.

1. I like to learn about people different than me. Yes No
2. I attend events that celebrate people different than me. Yes No
3. I read books or watch movies about those who are different than me. Yes No
4. I can work with people different from me. Yes No
5. I communicate with people different than me. Yes No
6. Some of my friends are different than me in age, race, background, etc. Yes No
7. I try to understand others who are different than me. Yes No
8. I try to help others understand my differences. Yes No
9. I avoid jokes, remarks and language that may offend particular cultural groups. Yes No

Mahatma Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." What can you do to change the world?

Interested in more information? Check out our online bookstore for Secrets of Leadership by Rick Lynch & Sue Vineyard and Best of All: The Quick Reference Guide to Effective Volunteer Involvement by Linda Graff.

Details for Secrets of Leadership Book Details for Best of All Book


Washington State University offers a Volunteer Management Certification Program through the Internet. Individuals around the world can earn a certificate in managing or coordinating volunteers, without leaving home. For more information, visit Volunteer Today's Portal site, Internet Resources. Look for the Washington State University listing. There is a hot link to their Web site.

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Liz Needham

Liz Needham is currently the Volunteer Services Coordinator for the City of Raleigh Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Foster Grandparent Program. She has 12 years of managerial and supervisory experience in the non-profit, local government and business sectors. She can be reached by email at: elizabeth.needham@ci.raleigh.nc.us or by phone at: (919) 831-6098.

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