It’s that time – the end of year wrap up of how much I spent with diverse businesses. You can see my progress over the previous years here –  2018, 2019, 2020 and  2021.  The wrap up has become very important to me each year in reviewing how well I’m “walking the talk,” putting my money where my mouth is, or as we talk about  in our Diversity Masterminds® courses, voting our values with our dollars.

Voting your Values

Back in 2019, I took the B Corp Assessment and was pleasantly surprised that despite being a relatively small company, I was well on my way to making the 80 points necessary to apply for B Corp certification. B Corp certification evaluates how well a company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It’s a rigorous certification, so much so that this year a colleague, Mark Scrimenti and I launched a course to help people approach it.

One of the reasons I had scored so high in that assessment was because I actually keep track of what I spend with local diverse vendors.

Customers are paying attention

This year I learned that many of the corporate members I’ve worked with through WBENC, NMSDC and NGLCC who have been tracking their spend with diverse suppliers are now also looking at how supplier diversity fits into their own ESG goals. Diversity Masterminds®  has some exciting projects coming up relating to ESG and how suppliers can be ready to tell their sustainability story to current and potential customers.

So how did I actually do?

That’s a long lead up to explain my numbers this year and perhaps I’m stalling because for the first year, I did not increase my spend with diverse suppliers. Whereas last year my spend with diverse suppliers accounted for 56.6% of my total spend, this year it’s 45.5%.

I did spend more in absolute numbers with diverse suppliers, who are my vendors for insurance, bookkeeping, marketing and developing my new TouchPoint service.

On the other hand, I simply spent more this year. Like most years, travel accounted for the majority of my spend and since I traveled internationally twice – to London and Montreal, I put up big numbers on flights and hotels that don’t even fit into my acting intentionally category (though I did fly United to and from London which counts!).

Acting intentionally refers to buying from a corporate member that supports diverse suppliers if you can’t find a diverse supplier in that category like hotels and airlines. In that category, I spent 10.9% – just slightly more than last year.

What are the takeaways?

So travel continues to be the area that makes a dent in my diverse spend. I also realized that while last year I outsourced to diverse suppliers, I did not this year so I’d like to make more of an effort to partner and work with diverse firms next year.

I also do note that my direct spend with diverse suppliers was 35.5% last year so I am 10% over that number but there’s still some work to do!

Finally, I count my spend with the organizations that certify diverse businesses separately and between dues, memberships and event registrations, that came in at 6.2% this year.

In general, the numbers tell me that I was intentional about my spending but need to take note of areas where I can add to those numbers for next year.

Where I want to spend next year

Next year, I look forward to more partnerships and perhaps less spending overall since I won’t be developing and launching a new product (at least, I don’t think so). I’ll continue to work with the companies in the legal and professional services where the majority of my spend is. And keep chipping away at those travel dollars to increase that spend.

I’m also always looking out for can’t-live-without software that’s made by a diverse business. I use Canva now which is a woman-owned company. I’d love to have more recommendations like POC Stock, which addresses the gap in the stock image market for images of people of color so feel free to let me know.

Thanks for reading this year and have a wonderful holiday season!

P.S. If you’re still looking for holiday gifts, I’m not the only one who wants something from diverse companies. This report shows most people would love a gift from a small business or minority owned company.