Bringing anarchy to NGOs

Or somewhat more democratic and inclusive forms of organising anyway – this article is interesting:

Carne Ross: our forms must reflect our fundamental political values

I’ve thought a fair bit about the prospects for making NGOs more cooperative. Campaigning NGOs could have much more of a two way decision-making process with their donors and supporters. ‘Charitable’ NGOs could allow those they are helping to become more a part of the organisation. This would help them to live their stated values, being supposedly in favour of equality and empowerment and so on.

The main barrier seems to me to be the status that attaches to a professional expert, and the fact that democratisation, in sharing the expertise around, would undermine the status of the professional. How NGO professionals see themselves is very important to their participation in the industry, and to become a mere facilitator rather than an expert would be considered by most a step down.

It would be nice if they could consider it a step up. That would require a bit of cultural change, a shift in what we all value.

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