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Put the Data to Work

Understand what your data is made of

Consider how your diversity data is established: can new vendors opt in to identifying themselves as diverse or local companies as part of the supplier registration process? Having these as required fields in your system is important, as is including a statement about your institution’s inclusion goals in the vendor registration information – so that vendors understand the that there is a benefit to them in disclosing whether they are a diverse or local vendor. 

Analyze the fiscal-year institutional spend data, identifying the categories of goods and services that are purchased

These may include categories like office supplies, HVAC repairs, limousine services, custodial services, office furniture, and marketing and communications services. Look at the purchase volume of each category, and from whom the goods and services are purchased; this reveals diversity gaps and opportunities to identify new local and diversity vendors for those categories.

Look for where goods and services are purchased from to identify opportunities to connect with current vendors who are local

Strengthening business volume with local vendors you are already working with is low-hanging fruit, but it has the advantage of providing some early strategic wins that can bolster ongoing institutional and community support for this work. 

Understand the local business landscape to identify which types of goods and services are already available locally

The regional small business association or business-focused community development corporation is a valuable partner in learning what is being produced and sold in your institution’s geographic footprint. You can also connect with other local anchor institutions to learn about local vendors they do business with.

Identify your benchmarks

What are the performance measures you are aspiring to? Most, if not all, large cities have established diversity spend goals for their own purchasing and contracting; these may provide a useful benchmark to adopt, as your institution aligns with other public goals.

Run your totals

Total MBE spend

Total WBE spend

Total neighborhood/local/regional spend

Count of new MBE vendors

Count of new WBE vendors

Count of new neighborhood/local/regional vendors

Your own list of metrics can be more or less complex than this, depending on your institutional goals.


Flag vendors with large increases or decreases in annual spend. Calculate the rate of change from previous fiscal years for local and diverse spend figures. Track new local and diverse vendors that register through your online system, and remember to engage them early.

Break it down

Look at MBE, WBE, and local spend by academic and administrative unit

Look at MBE, WBE, and local spend by spend category (printing, marketing, architectural firms, etc.)

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