NGOs run by collaboration

Upgrading the governance system of 5 local NGOs to make them the role models of cooperation and inclusion in civic society.


Who is behind this?

Irena Kaszewska

NGOs run by collaboration


Who is joining forces?

Stowarzyszenie Klon Jawor


Sociocracy For All (SoFA)


SoFA - international, nonprofit social enterprise to spread sociocracy as a collaborative governance system Klon Jawor - NGO that supports the third sector in Poland, runs the top of mind portal ngo


Idea pitch

The third sector in Poland attracts many activists by the grand purposes it serves. Yet, old-fashioned, rigid, often autocratic style of management prevailing in these organizations, hinders and demotivates people. We are here to share the know-how of a dynamic governance system based on collaboration and constructive communication. We plan to select, train, and support 5 NGOs active in their local communities so that they become the role models of agency, cooperation, and creative co-creation.

Where will your project idea take place?

Any regions of Poland, with underdeveloped civic infrastructure and some NGOs established

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

According to a recent study by Klon Jawor, 35% of Polish NGOs are managed in an autocratic way, 20% have very formalized structures and processes, 21% have a delegating management system, where people are reduced to ‘doers’ roles. The downside of such a situation is that active people initially attracted to such organizations by their grand purpose, soon feel stifled and with no agency, leave the third sector, disappointed.
Only 24% of all Polish NGOs are declared as collective in the way they are managed. It is a harmful situation because numerous studies and examples prove that olf fashioned, command-and-control, hierarchical management styles are not able to sufficiently cope with the challenges of current turbulent times. NGOs should be leading the way towards inclusive governance.

Who are you doing it for?

Out of 143 k NGOs in Poland, 35% work for their local communities, 13 k focus on local development, 9 k on education, 5 k on human rights & democracy. We will target these areas.
We plan to support Polish NGOs, which are:
active and oriented locally, outside urban centers;
managed by open-minded people, willing to learn;
focusing on stimulating local civic initiatives.
Dynamic governance, by definition, is designed to connect people of different opinions and build on diversity. That is why we want to offer it to those organizations, which serve diverse audiences.
By sharing the know-how with NGOs staff, we will initiate a chain reaction of sharing the approach. We are very open to including representatives of local communities served by selected NGOs to our workshops with them.

How do you plan to get there?

1. Identification of potential target NGOs & selection process
Wwe assume around 15% conversion rate, so in order to support 5 NGOs, we need to contact ~30/35 prospect organizations
We will perform assessment meetings, supported by diagnostic questionnaire in order to maximize the successful selection of target organizations
2. Practical onsite workshops
10 hours of workshops per each NGO team and their mentees, by 2 trainers
relevant support materials
3. Post-workshop support
We will be available remotely for additional 10h per organization (more if needed) in order to provide ongoing support and assure proper usage of the new skills
4. Networking event
We would love to organize a come-together event for the groups we supported

What are the expected results?

We expect to have trained ~ 5 - 15 people in each of the 5 NGOs we select for the project.
They will be able to fluently use self-management sociocratic methods in their organizations.
This means:
-governance systems of the organizations will become collaborative;
- people will have space for valuable contribution without harm to operational efficiency;
-the acquired know-how & practical skill will keep spreading and strengthening internally and externally;
-the collective effort of people will be more impactful in achieving their goals;
-the people impacted will be more open to collaboration, the inclusion of others in constructive dialog, integration of opposing perspectives.
In the long run, our trainees will be acting as role models and train others.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The main pillar of our project is a dynamic governance system - sociocracy. It is inclusive, egalitarian, and drives at effectiveness in achieving organizational aims. It helps organizations to:
-collaborate effectively in groups;
-make collective decisions effectively;
-build resilient structures;
-use feedback for continuous improvement.
Sociocratic organizations are built on trust and deep humane connection thanks to the visible influence of nonviolent communication. A system like this is ideal for non-profit organizations and activists that are willing to energize them. Once people start working in a collaborative way, they carry this attitude everywhere they go. The positive impact reaches from inside of the organizations’ own structures to the communities they serve.

Why is this idea important to you?

We abandoned our careers in business because it was short of deeper purpose and human flavour. This gap was filled by selforganization. We are committed to bring dynamic governance to Poland because we believe that it is one of the best, proven and systematic approaches to introduce & cultivate egalitarian dialog in civic spaces. We are passionate about it!

We are also concerned about the state of Polish society with its deep inequalities, neverending disputes and animosities. Big scale politics keeps local life in shadow. Even education reinforces individualism and competition rather than collaboration.

Through this project, we want to provide deep commitment to the idea of cooperation, inclusiveness, entrepreneurship that connects social responsibility and freedom to innovate.

€ 59500,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Selection of target NGO 12,000
Workshops 15,000
Post-workshop support 15,000
Information & Training materials 4,000
Travel & accommodation 6,000
Networking event 7,500

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would be happy to receive your feedback on how the idea of methodological selforganization sounds appealing or useful to you?
Do NGOs in other countries struggle with similar challenges in relation to governance? What other approaches you know may guarantee lasting improvement?



Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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