Challenging and Changing Classism in Organizations


  • What is our organization’s mission?
  • Who are our constituents or audience?
  • What are our expressed values and our hidden values?
  • Physical Location and Space
  • What is our access to public transportation?
  • How is space allocated in our organization?
  • What is the decor like, what are the images on the walls?


  • Who makes which decisions?
  • Who holds leadership positions?
  • Whose opinions and needs are considered in decision-making?
  • What is the racial, gender and classmake up of our organization?

Compensation and Qualifications

  • What is the ratio between highest and lowest paid?
  • In hiring, do we question the need for formal educational degrees and credentials?
  • What are our benefits and who is eligible?
  • What are our personnel policies and whom do they serve?
  • Do we recruit people from lower-income backgrounds for leadership positions? Do we offer mentoring and support?
  • Are people treated differently based on their job titles?

Organizational Culture

  • How are people greeted when they come in or call on the phone?
  • What is the dress code?
  • Who feels comfortable in our organization? Who feels most uncomfortable?
  • What are our organization’s rituals around food and celebration?
  • What is the balance between hierarchy and shared governance?
  • What kinds of humor and jokes are acceptable or not acceptable?
  • What is our attitude towards time and what are our expectations?
  • What is considered polite or impolite?
  • How do board members and donors interact (or not interact with) administrative staff?

Dealing with Conflict

  • How is conflict dealt with?
  • How does one show respect?
  • What is considered appropriate and/or inappropriate?


  • What language is spoken (acronyms, slang, vocabulary)? What language is inclusive and what language leaves some people out?
  • In what language are our materials written?

Other Questions

  • Do we have flexible fees for our events, activities and/or services?
  • How do we ensure access and participation by poor and working-class people?
  • Do we have childcare at our meetings and events?
  • Do our programs, displays and materials reflect a range of occupations or class lifestyles?
  • How well is our organization doing in meeting the needs of the folks we work with, particularly around class?
  • How openly does our organization discuss issues of class, race and gender in relation to ourselves and to the people we serve and work with?

Thank you to the organization “No Class” in Maine for some of these questions.