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Let’s Talk Numbers: Considerations for Crafting an Effective DE&I Budget

April 10th, 2024

One key aspect of fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace is the development of a comprehensive strategy, which involves an all-inclusive budget. Just like all impactful strategics, investments and resources are needed to effectively implement. A DE&I budget should be carefully crafted to ensure that resources are allocated effectively and that initiatives are given the support they need to succeed.

Strategy First Approach

To effectively craft a DE&I budget, organizations should start with a clear strategy. Whether new to DE&I or refining existing initiatives, it’s crucial to define your goals first. Your strategy should guide budget decisions, ensuring that initiatives receive the support needed for success. Taking a strategic approach will help prioritize initiatives and allocate resources effectively, driving meaningful change in your organization.

“Take a look through everything you want to accomplish throughout the year and really think through what is absolutely necessary to make the biggest impact,” shared Andrew. “Your strategy should tell you what is reasonable and what is most important.”

Essential Elements to Include in Your DE&I Budget

In order to effectively budget for DE&I, organizations should consider the following:

  • Diversity Recruiting & Hiring: Be sure to allocate funds for initiatives aimed at attracting and hiring a diverse workforce. This may include outreach efforts to underrepresented groups and collaboration with diversity organizations.
  • Training and Development: Budget for DE&I training programs for employees AND leadership. Do you plan to hold a leadership development program? Investing in training for senior leaders will ensure they are equipped to lead DE&I efforts effectively. Or perhaps you would like to bring in a guest speaker to teach a course? External experts can provide insights and facilitate discussions on diversity and inclusion topics.
  • Community Engagement: Allocate resources for community engagement initiatives that support DE&I efforts. This could include sponsoring diversity-focused events or partnering with community organizations.
  • Consulting and External Support: You may not always have the internal expertise to accomplish your DE&I goals and that’s okay! Just be sure to budget for external consultants to provide guidance on DE&I initiatives.
  • Events and Swag: Don’t forget to budget for food, drinks, and company swag for DE&I events. This can help create a more inclusive and engaging atmosphere for employees. Do you plan to attend Pride this year or any other DE&I focused events? Consider the costs of registration, T-shirts, banners, etc. Or maybe you are planning to host an event? Consider the cost of the venue, food and beverage, signage, etc.
  • Travel Expenses: Do you have multiple offices and only one DE&I manager? Consider what transportation costs it will take to create an equitable experience for folks who may be in other offices.

When budgeting for DE&I initiatives, remember to strike a balance. While it may be tempting to allocate a large budget to address all aspects at once, it’s important to recognize that DE&I is an ongoing journey. You’re navigating emotions, perceptions, and biases, which cannot be changed overnight. A budget is essential for the execution of DE&I strategy, but it’s important to remember that strategy is about the best utilization of limited resources, so it’s not necessary to tackle everything simultaneously.

If you are interested in learning more about our firm-wide DE&I efforts, check out our dedicated DE&I page here. And feel free to reach out to our Manager of DE&I, Andrew Stephens, at astephens@bonadio.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss further.

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