Race Equity Cycle Pulse Check™

User Guide: Team Edition

What is the cost to use The Race Equity Cycle Pulse Check™ (Pulse Check)?

The cost is based on your organization’s budget (or asset base if you are a foundation):

  • Nonprofits with annual budgets of less than $1M, $500

  • Nonprofits with annual budgets of $1-3.9M, $1,000

  • Foundations with assets less than $10M; Nonprofits with annual budgets from $4-9.9M, $2,000

  • For profits/foundations with assets $10M+; Nonprofits with annual budgets $10M+, $4,000

What types of organizations should complete the Pulse Check?

The Pulse Check includes indicators that apply to nonprofit and community organizations, and for-profit businesses. While the Pulse Check specifically refers to the board of directors in line with the Awake to Woke to Work™ Publication, we ask folks who may work at organizations that don’t have a board of directors to consider the governing body of an organization, oversight body, advisory boards/boards of governors in its place.

Organizations of any size can use the tool, but we recommend it for businesses that have at least 20 employees.

What does “access” mean? 

The Pulse Check is not a downloadable tool, it lives on our platform as an interactive application. “Access” to the Pulse Check means that you are taking it on behalf of/as an organization – rather than receiving permission to view all of the questions. At no point during taking the Pulse Check will you be able to view all of the questions at once because it is designed to be taken in real-time with a team. As such, it was not developed for researchers to review or to be shared for learning. 

We’re currently in conversations with our team regarding what “access” would mean and look like for researchers and academics who want to share it for educational purposes. We’re excited that many of you wish to share it with your students and colleagues. In the meantime, we would suggest that you refer to our Awake to Woke to Work™ Publication given that the Pulse Check helps to place organizations within the cycle and provides suggestions for next steps and resources for continued growth. 

Who will see our scores?

The Pulse Check Score Reports are automatically generated when you complete the Race Equity Cycle Pulse Check™, so all teammates invited to the Pulse Check will see it. Equity In The Center team members will have access to the Pulse Check responses and score, which will remain confidential. Your confidential responses will become part of Equity In The Center’s database, which may be used in future research on building a Race Equity Culture™. Your responses, overall score and organization name will remain confidential. If they are used in future research, data will only be published in aggregate (in a data set along with other organizations). Your responses will not be associated with your specific organization.

Who should complete the Pulse Check on behalf of the company?

Only one person – the Team Lead – will be able to complete the Pulse Check on behalf of the organization. Teammates who are invited to the Pulse Check will be able to see the results once the Pulse Check has been submitted. The Pulse Check is intended to be taken in a shared space, virtual or otherwise, with the team lead facilitating the conversation with team members to come to an agreement on which answer choice to select for each question.

We strongly recommend that you assemble a team to complete the Race Equity Cycle Pulse Check™ together. We recommend including a leader or manager with enough positional power to feel comfortable answering questions as honestly as possible as part of a group of executives/senior leaders, but with first-hand experience or significant context on the experiences of entry- and mid-level staff. The Pulse Check will ask for responses in each of these areas.

We also recommend that the team completing the Pulse Check be as racially/ethnically diverse as possible given the make-up of the organization as a whole. It is important to remember that a team of five white individuals completing the Pulse Check may have meaningfully different perspectives on key issues of race and organizational culture than a team that is predominately people of color, or one that includes an equal representation of both. Also, note that it is important not to resort to tokenism – communicating that an individual’s race or ethnicity is the key factor driving recruitment – when identifying a colleague of color to be part of the team completing the Pulse Check.

When we assemble the recommended team to complete the Pulse Check, how much time should they allocate to complete it?

Completing the Pulse Check together will help your team surface bigger questions about your race equity commitment. As such, we suggest scheduling a 2 – 3 hour meeting in order to allow for discussion and processing of the questions. The meeting should allow for the completion of the Pulse Check in one session. Dividing the Pulse Check among many sessions will extend the time needed to complete it.

What information will the Pulse Check ask? What data/information should we have in order to complete it?

The Pulse Check will ask you to identify trends in your culture, programs, operations, and governance. You should have access to your organizational policies, regular data reports (talent, budget, program, utilization, outcomes, participant/customer), and Board/governance minutes. The Pulse Check will not ask you for your specific results (i.e. the percentage of Black women who have been promoted to C-suite roles in the past 5 years), but having them on hand may help facilitate your responses.

Here are some questions similar to those found in the Pulse Check:

  • Does your organization have a standard interview protocol to assess experience in addressing structural racism?
  • Does your organization explicitly name a commitment to race equity in performance reviews?
  • Are BIPOC represented in materials produced by your organization?
  • How familiar are the board of directors with white dominant culture? 

When should we complete the Pulse Check?

The Pulse Check is meant to be a tool that organizations can use early in their work to determine a baseline for current organizational culture and develop an action plan with specific steps intended to build a Race Equity Culture™. An organization might use it as it is preparing to bring on a race equity consultant, or as it is launching strategic and action planning to operationalize race equity cross-functionally (which might include the creation of a cross-functional equity leadership group or working group to lead work internally, potentially in partnership with an external consultant). Once the Pulse Check is submitted, your organization will have to wait 12 months to take it again. Organizational culture shifts, especially as it relates to race equity, are not achieved in a matter of a few months. This work requires longitudinal change.

How many and what kind of questions can we expect on the Pulse Check?

The Pulse Check consists of 23 questions and two question types: multiple choice and multiple choice grid. See below for examples of the question types.

Is the sky blue?

– Yes

– No

What is an acceptable driving speed in the following areas? Select all that apply.

20 mph  25 mph 30mph 40mph 60 mph
School zone
City Streets


If you have any questions or concerns not addressed in this User Guide, please feel free to email us at pulsecheck@equityinthecenter.org.