In this current climate I really need to provide a strong business case to secure the funds for membership or continued membership. Could you provide some pointers to support and justify the financial outlay?

• Pricing structure: At £2,500 per annum the Diversity Champions programme offers exceptional value for money. We have intentionally priced it at this level to ensure that it is financially accessible for organisations to join (and that price cannot be used as an excuse for not working on sexual orientation equality).

• Value for money: The benefits package offered through the Diversity Champions programme is worth in excess of the £2,500 membership fee – including access to good practice seminars, conference discounts, extensive networking, free copies of our good practice guidance and research, and free promotional advertising in the Starting Out Recruitment Guide. If you were to buy these benefits on the open market, we estimate that the value of the benefits and discounts would be £6,000.

• Relative cost: Express this as a % of overall budget or turnover or spend per member of staff eg, it is £2.50 per head where you employ 1000 staff.

• Budget flexibility: Many of our members take their membership fee from across a range of budgets and not always the diversity/HR budget. Inclusion in Starting Out can justify this coming from the recruitment advertising budget, graduate recruitment or marketing - especially where diversity is a key part of your brand identity.

• Budget cuts: One of the toughest challenges in equality and diversity is to get people to believe your commitment. If it is the first thing you cut at times of financial difficulties, you will have to work twice as hard and spend twice as much to get people to believe your commitment again if you cut back now.

• Market advantage: When others are cutting or slowing down their work on diversity, that is the time to maintain it or do more as a way of achieving competitive advantage (Brendon Riley, IBM). If you take yourself out of a market due to cuts it is more difficult to get a foot hold in that market again as people look for consistency.

• Recruitment: Even when cuts are being made, many organisations still need to recruit (eg, replacements rather than new posts). You still need to recruit the best people and so you need to be able to recruit across diverse talent pools. Your reputation and association with Stonewall could be the deciding factor for a high quality applicant. Ensure they are considering you and not your competitors.

• Risk mitigation: £120,000 is the highest ET settlement for a case on the grounds of sexual orientation discrimination. Intelligent organisations make the choice to spend their money on working with Stonewall to create an LGB inclusive workplace rather than on expensive and reputation-damaging employment tribunals. 

• The relationship: The Diversity Champions programme is about having a long term relationship with Stonewall and making progress over time. In being a member of the programme we expect you to work with us in this way and not opt in and out of the programme.