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Empowering ERG Leaders: Developing Strategic Budgets.

Updated: Jan 15

Discover how to overcome budgeting challenges & unlock the full potential of your Employee Resource Group.

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At We Create Space we work closely with Employee Resource Group (ERG) leaders across the globe, helping them foster greater inclusion within their organisations. However, with many executive leaders taking their foot off the pedal and shrinking budgets for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, we understand that ERG Leaders are facing significant hurdles providing the programming employees desire.


In this article we’re providing insights on how you can overcome budgeting challenges in your ERG, as well as how to maximise your impact by engaging in intersectional collaborations with other groups, bringing together different employee communities for powerful moments of learning and connection.



Strategic Budgeting.

Getting the most out of a limited budget starts with identifying how your ERG’s activities will align with your organisation’s wider DEI goals. Not every project is going to be feasible, so prioritise the initiatives you believe will have the most demonstrable impact on employees and show off the collective value of your ERG.


Looking at the year ahead as a whole, plan out your key activations. Programming designed around cultural calendar dates may be some of your biggest events of the year, but ensure that you allocate funding for activities outside of relevant awareness months and days. Leaving some flexibility in your budget will allow you to respond to emerging needs and opportunities throughout the year and capitalise on unexpected chances for impact.


Resource: Download our free 2024 Cultural Calendar below to help you plan your 2024 activations.


A picture of the We Create Space Cultural Calendar for 2024 against a hot pink backdrop

WCS_CulturalCalendar_2024_v2
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Download PDF • 834KB

You can also explore the possibilities of external funding sources, diversity and inclusion grants and partnerships with external organisations to help supplement internal budgets. Making use of free resources from organisations like We Create Space is also a great way to ease financial pressures on your ERG and provide employees with insightful learning opportunities. Our podcast, video archive, glossary and library have a wealth of resources covering topics like active allyship, LGBTQ+ inclusion at work, intersectionality and more.



Effective advocacy.

To secure support from organisational leads and potential collaborators it is essential that ERG leaders effectively communicate and advocate for their ERG’s needs. Establish a series of long and short term goals that take into account your current financial situation and desires for the future.



Craft a compelling narrative when talking about your ERG’s initiatives, illustrating how the work you are doing feeds into company goals and positively impacts the organisation’s overall culture. Presenting a clear vision of what your ERG has accomplished is essential to secure increased investment, and this vision can be made all the more powerful when it is backed up with data, so if you’re not already collecting data from participants, now is the time to start! Whether it is employee engagement and satisfaction, retention rates or surveys conducted before and after learning sessions, being able to measure your success with tangible data will go a long way to illustrate your return on investment and strengthen the case for increased funding.



Building strategic alliances with key organisational leads is also paramount. Invest time in building your relationships with individuals in HR, DEI and executive leadership. These are connections you can call upon when you need an ally or support when securing funding. The further up the organisational ladder, the more weight their support will hold in negotiations, so aim for the stars!



Harnessing the power of collaboration.

Joining forces with other ERGs is a sure fire way to make your budget stretch further. By utilising intersectionality, a conceptual framework that recognises the interconnected nature of social identities and systems of oppression, ERGs can increase their impact. Harnessing intersectionality will create more inclusive initiatives which address the diverse experiences of ERG members, promoting cross-community learning and active allyship.


An illustration of five overlapping pink faces of varying ages and ethnicities.

Resource: Read our beginner's guide to the framework of Intersectionality.


As an ERG leader, you are unlikely to have first hand experience with all of the intersecting identities represented within your ERG, so working with other ERG leaders is an excellent way to broaden your understanding of issues facing other identity groups and create truly inclusive programming.


When running panel discussions or talks, remember to uplift and champion voices from within your own employees. The next generation of queer corporate leaders may be right under your nose, you just need to give them an opportunity to shine! This should always be voluntary - employees of marginalised identities should never feel pressured to share their personal stories for the sake of others. Instead, empower them to embrace the power of storytelling of their own accord by investing in leadership programmes to enhance their confidence and storytelling abilities.



While utilising internal speakers can have powerful results, it’s advisable to set aside budgeting for external speakers and facilitators too. They can provide expertise and intersectional perspectives otherwise not represented within your workforce and ensure that your ERG does not begin to suffer from an echo chamber effect.



Conclusion

ERGs can be a powerful force for change within organisations, even when the landscape of diversity and inclusion is evolving and funding is tight. As an ERG leader, being adaptable and open to collaboration are essential to the success of your initiatives. By crafting a flexible and strategic budget and leveraging the power of intersectional collaborations, you can continue to grow and strengthen your ERG even when facing financial challenges.


At We Create Space we are passionate about supporting ERG Leaders with their goals, whether that is increasing ERG engagement or providing insightful programming and learning opportunities to members. Check out our case study with JTI to learn how we have supported them with scaling their PRIDE ERG.


To learn more about our consulting services and how we can help you achieve your ERG ambitions, email us at hello@wecreatespace.


 

While you're here...


Did you know we consult with Businesses, ERGs and Change-Leaders providing bespoke corporate solutions? Through consultancy we design shared learning experiences, produce DEI insights and craft bespoke content that support individuals with strengthening their roles as change-agents within their communities and organisations. Find out more here.


We also organise FREE community events throughout the year! We offer a variety of ways to get involved - both online and in person. This is a great way to network and learn more about others' experiences, through in-depth discussion on an array of topics. You can find out what events we have coming up here. New ones are added all the time, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up to date!

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