Because so much of our sector is concentrated in New York and California (respondents from these two states accounted for about one-third of total survey-takers), we looked closely at that data for any stark differences, evidence of trends, or other insights.
Of the 969 total survey respondents, 136 came from New York and 225 from California. Our California cohort was slightly younger (48 percent were younger than age 50, vs. 39 percent for New York), and was more diverse (66 percent white vs. 80 percent for New York). There were more Californians from foundations (17 percent vs. 10 percent for New York) – though respondents from both states were overwhelmingly representative of nonprofits.
Interestingly, the Californians had closer personal relationships to disability: Nearly one-fifth of California respondents reported having a disability themselves (19 percent vs. 8 percent for New York). For every other disability-adjacent category we asked about (do you have a family member with disability, friend with disability, work on behalf of people with disabilities, etc.), Californians were more likely to answer yes in comparison to the national survey respondents. On the other side, New Yorkers were more likely to answer no.
But the similarities between the two groups, such as the following, were enough to make the places where differences did emerge worthy of note.
- 36 percent from each serve in CEO or executive roles;
- 72 percent from each say their organizations have made a specific, public commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- In both states those DEI policies specifically call out race, gender, sexual orientation/gender identity, disability, and ideology in numbers than do not differ outside the margin of error from the national average in our survey;
- Both New Yorkers and Californians overwhelmingly are drawn to positive messaging about disability inclusion as opposed to negative framing.
California is more intentional and inclusive than New York.
- In California, 28 percent say their organizations make intentional efforts to recruit people with disabilities for employment, internships, volunteer and/or board positions, compared to 18 percent in New York. More than one-in-four (26 percent) in California say their groups ask that members or grantees intentionally include people with disabilities in their work, compared to just one-in-six (16 percent) in New York.
- Californians were more likely to hold events in physically accessible spaces, with 61 percent responding that their organizations always do so, vs. just 50 percent for New Yorkers. Californians also were more likely to enable attendees at their events to request accommodations, through the registration form, like sign language interpreters, live captioning, and food allergy alternatives than New Yorkers were.
- When we asked respondents what kinds of tools would be helpful in their efforts to improve disability inclusion, Californians expressed much more interest in many of them.
- For training in disability etiquette, 63 percent of California respondents were interested, vs. just 51 percent for New Yorkers.
- For information on best practices to create success for diverse children with disabilities, 29 percent of Californians expressed interest vs. 19 percent for New Yorkers.
- More than a quarter of Californians (26 percent) thought it would be helpful to have resources for English language learners with disabilities vs. just 14 percent of New York respondents.
- More Californians wanted information and training on how to add a disability lens to work on issues faced by marginalized people than New Yorkers, 42 percent vs. 34 percent.
- Nearly twice as many Californians as New Yorkers (33 percent vs. 17 percent) were interested in information on how to enable job seekers with disabilities to receive the education, skills, and careers they need to succeed.
- Californians also were much more interested in obtaining geographically relevant data on people with disabilities and the groups and programs that serve them, 41 percent vs. 23 percent).
- Californians were more likely to work in organizations where people with disabilities serve as board members and in other leadership positions. On these matters, California was higher than the national average and New York lower.
Californians see their own organizations as more diverse than New Yorkers do. Because they actually are.
- Californians report more people with disabilities at every level of their organizations:
- 29 percent of California boards include people with disabilities vs. 23 percent for New York
- 23 percent of California respondents say their organization has people with disabilities represented in their professional leadership or management, vs. 18 percent for New York.
- 51 percent of California respondents say there are people with disabilities on their staff overall, vs. 45 percent for New York.
- On our 1-5 scale, with 1 being “not diverse at all” and 5 being “very diverse,” 59 percent of Californians gave their organizations a 4 or 5 as it pertains to racial diversity, compared to just 40 percent of New Yorkers.
- Californians see themselves as more diverse in terms of disability inclusion as well – 34 percent of Californians rate their groups a 4 or 5 for disability diversity, whereas just 25 percent of New Yorkers do.
- New Yorkers find their workplaces more diverse than Californians only regarding ideology and age.
- Staff trainings and other learning opportunities on the topics of LGBTQ+, gender issues, and disability are more common among organizations in California than those in New York. New York is below our national average on these issues, California is higher.
- Although there is an overwhelming desire for tools and training to help social-sector organizations better include people with disabilities, for five of the 12 specific types of resources we asked about, Californians were far more interested than New Yorkers – by at least 10 percentage points.
And interestingly, when we asked if our survey respondents would be either excited or concerned if they found out they would be working with a person with a disability, nearly three out of four (74 percent) of Californians said they would be excited, compared to just more than half (55 percent) of New Yorkers. The national average is 67 percent.