Staying Flat, Staying Thin, Staying Effective

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Created for MNCN's 2010 Annual Nonprofit Conference.

Innovative Governance Models: Staying Flat, Staying Thin, Staying Effective

Over the past years, nonprofits, including volunteer-led grassroots organizations, have faced a growing number of challenges. In the context of a changing environment, where nonprofit leaders are expected to do more with less and nonprofit volunteers are often expected to do more than before, is the traditional hierarchical form of nonprofit governance still relevant? In this session, we'll explore a governance structure for volunteer-led, grassroots organizations that offers shared power and decision making, greater flexibility and ability to innovate, and potential for greater organizational sustainability. Attend this session to discover an alternative for volunteer-driven organizational governance models, learn how you can effectively engage volunteers, board, and staff utilizing the model and see if it's a fit for your grassroots organization.


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  • Many workers come to a non-profit because they support the mission of the organization. When they become disengaged from the decision-making process, morale can be adversely affected. In a small volunteer-driven organization, this problem is exacerbated. Without the financial motivator of a paycheck, members are almost entirely disengaged from the very process that brought them to the organization in the first place.
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