Justin Birdsong presenting at the 24NTC conference

#24NTC | Equitable governance and consent-based decision making: an intro to Sociocracy

Nonprofits often need to pivot quickly to respond to humanity’s most pressing needs, and must swiftly execute a plan of action with input from a broad range of stakeholders. But for most organizations, even making everyday decisions can be an uphill battle. So how can nonprofit leaders align their teams toward efficient, inclusive decision-making?

At the 2024 Nonprofit Technology Conference hosted by NTEN in Portland, OR, Skeleton Key Principal & Founder Justin Birdsong led an interactive workshop to help participants explore the principles of sociocracy, also known as “dynamic governance.”

Unlike traditional top-down or consensus-based models, sociocracy empowers every member of the organization to actively participate in shaping its direction. Sociocracy emphasizes collaborative, consent-based (rather than consensus-based) decision-making, with a focus on surfacing and integrating objections to improve decisions and organizational buy-in. 

Through discussion and role-playing practice, participants explored how sociocracy can help nonprofits to:

  • Distribute decision-making power more equitably
  • Increase transparency of decision making to all members of an organization
  • Streamline decision making to adapt more quickly to changing circumstances
  • Foster greater individual accountability through clear roles and better representation

Much of the content in this presentation was reproduced (with gratitude!) under a Creative Commons license from Sociocracy for All, CC-NC-BY-SA by Ted Rau.

Check out the session slides here:

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