Building consensus is part of everyday hard work at non-profits
Posted by DonorDreams
It seems like one common theme in my work with non-profit organizations is that “building consensus” is difficult. Getting everyone on the same page can be like herding cats. It was this reality that had me all tied in knots a few months ago as I was sitting down for the first time with my Philanthropy Day planning committee. We had lots of things to decide (e.g. event location, registration fees, training sessions, discussion panels, etc), and there was very little time to do so.
I decided to reach into my magic bag of consulting tricks and pulled out a tool that I’d never used before . . .
Idea Rating Sheets
The tool is simple:
- One idea is written at the top of each sheet
- The sheets are passed around the group
- Individuals rate the idea
- Individuals provide some feed back on the idea’s strengths and challenges
- Each person “signs off” on the sheet confirming that they weighed in with their feedback
At the end of the day, it is easy to see which ideas have traction and which ones don’t. Those ideas that have support rise to the top, and the group can focus its discussions and not waste time talking about ideas that are non-starters.
In my experience, I can see Idea Rating Sheets being used very effectively in various facilitated planning processes. This tool might also be very effective for standing committees of your board that are trying to make direction setting decisions.
Kudos to Jason Diceman and his team for creating a simple yet awesome consensus building tool!
How does your organization build consensus? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below. We can all learn from each other.
Here’s to your health!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
About DonorDreamsErik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.
Posted on September 1, 2015, in Board governance, nonprofit and tagged consensus building, decision-making, dotmocracy, Idea Rating Sheets, IdeaRatingSheets.org, leadership, nonprofit. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.