Proud to be honored with GoAbroad.com’s Innovation in Diversity award at NAFSA 2018!
Outreach to and connection with students of underrepresented groups is vital to growth in international education, and we know everyone has room for improvement. Learn about our journey to more inclusive marketing materials and how you can follow the same path with your own Diversity Audit.
Looking to conduct a Diversity Audit of your own marketing materials? Good call – it’s worth the effort. Download our full set of strategies for improving your marketing materials.
DIVERSITY AUDIT TEMPLATE
Purpose: To assist an organization with measuring diversity in marketing materials* in order to connect and appeal to underrepresented** audiences. Auditing helps to demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion within all aspects of your organization.
*Marketing materials include your website, all social media channels, print materials such as catalogs, trifolds, posters, and if you’re anything like us, many more touchpoints!
**Underrepresented groups include: low socio-economic status, first generation, ethnic background, religious background, LGBTQIA+ identities, people with different physical abilities, DACA/Undocumented status, etc.
HOW TO CONDUCT YOUR AUDIT
- Create a list and gather all marketing materials.
- Go through each marketing outlet and use the ‘Things to Look For’ to assist you.
- Write down what you notice and/or if/how marketing materials may lack diversity.
- Check to see if photos are authentic, not stock art or worse – COPYRIGHT VIOLATIONS!
- Check to see if there are a variety of photos or just one standard type (i.e. just a group of smiling students standing in front of a landmark in all of the photos. Are you showing students alone in moments of introspection? Socializing in groups or with their host families?)
- Is your information that highlights diverse scholarships and additional resources easy to find and accessible?
- Gather all information collected and conclude if imagery depicts individuals from various backgrounds. Brainstorm and document a plan for change.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR DURING YOUR AUDIT
- Is there visible diversity among all aspects through photos and student features?
This is important simply because representation matters. Seeing someone that looks like you brings ease in knowing that there are people who are like you that study abroad. (i.e. “Do I see other people of color who are studying abroad with this provider/school? Hmmm… maybe it’s not for me.”)
- Do marketing materials highlight scholarships and resources for underrepresented students?
Having additional scholarships and highlighting resources helps give underrepresented students that additional push to study abroad as well as signaling that you understand their experience or circumstances may differ from the majority of students who currently study abroad. Scholarship information is especially helpful when students come from a low SES or first generation background, where finances may be a major barrier. Highlighting resources is helpful for students who may need more guidance and want a private space to receive more information on education abroad.
- Is the material authentic and is there a variety of photography?
Having inauthentic photos is usually obvious and often insulting. Showing diversity and inclusion doesn’t mean just sticking token “diverse” individuals to appear culturally aware. It’s about genuinely showing engagement of the diverse populations who participate in our programs and sharing, embracing, and valuing their unique experiences.
- Are social media accounts being used?
Social media is such a powerful networking tool that showcases user-generated content, and stories can easily be created and shared. Highlighting diverse students through social media can be very rewarding and help to enhance the education abroad culture within any organization. Make sure you’re doing student takeovers to leverage peer-to-peer influence, which can be especially supportive for students of underrepresented groups.
POST AUDIT: HOW TO GET BETTER
After the audit is complete, you’ll likely have a lot of opportunities where diversity and inclusion can be represented. Here’s some suggestions on how to move forward:
- Ask faculty, site directors, or overseas partners to capture images of diverse groups and activities
- Curate a file of photos that highlight diversity and inclusion (to use in future marketing material).
- Reach out to underrepresented students and see if they would like to share their experiences via any means that appeals to them.
- Highlight, in visible areas, the locations of resources and the scholarships that are accessible to underrepresented student groups.
- Create a marketing strategy that includes all demographics of students being represented.
- Complete a diversity audit every few months or every time you draft a new marketing material.