The Denver Foundation’s internal Inclusiveness Committee created a list of recommendations for our staff to consider when hiring inclusive vendors and consultants. We thought you may find the following tips helpful:
Avoid a one-size fits all organizational policy
Each of our departments has its unique culture and prioritizes. We don’t suggest establishing an organizational-wide policy regarding this issue. Rather, we believe departments should learn from each other and share practices and information.
Balance our value for inclusiveness with our value for reducing costs
We suggest that staff consider discussing our internal values with prospective vendors and consultants. While the responses to the questions below are important, our hope is that engaging in the conversations will, in and of itself, inspire inclusive behaviors.
Below are some possible questions you can ask when interviewing vendors or consultants:
- We work hard to reduce waste and recycle whenever possible. Could you please share some ways you do the same?
- We work to support local nonprofits. Could you please share some of your charitable activities? Do you offer discounted rates to nonprofits?
- (If the vendor is a catering company) Do you use local farmers/produce?
- Some of our caterers post small cards indicating that they use “green” practices. Would you like to display your inclusive practices at our events?
- We appreciate your green/inclusive practices, and you come highly recommended. We would like to partner with you, but your quoted rate is still higher than other bids. Are you willing to reduce the cost if we are able to partner with you in the future?
Develop and maintain an organizational-wide list of past and current vendors and consultants
We believe departments could learn from each other by sharing information about current vendors and consultants. Some of the benefits include:
- Sharing money-saving tactics
- Creating a widespread understanding of the “going” rate for goods and services
- Encouraging each other to implement item by tracking vendor responses
- Get bids from a variety of vendors and consultants. When appropriate, ensure you are soliciting bids from women and minority owned companies.
Although these tips may be specific to our work at The Denver Foundation, we hope you found some that are useful to your organization.