Organizational Sustainability, Self-care, Sociocracy 3.0 – a Community-Led Event by Profilantrop Association

How can we deepen the participation of the members, employees of our organizations and increase the effectiveness of our work at the same time? Finding answers for this significant question was the overarching goal of the two-day training in April 2024 held and organised by Profilantrop Association (Hungary) as a Community-Led Event of the NGO Academy, with ImpactHUB Budapest and Hungarian Helsinki Committee as Co-Organisers.

Leadership is an essential topic in the life of organizations. It affects the success of the organization in creating value, solving problems and also the wellbeing of the members, workers and leaders of the organization. In a general, simplified way, we can say that two main approaches are present. The first is a hierarchical, top-down approach, which usually brings more effective and quick decision-making processes and efficiency in reaching goals, but may not maximize the full creative potential of the organization as the majority is not involved in decision-making.

The second approach is the opposite. It can be found in intentional communities, activist groups, cooperatives or in some NGOs. Here everybody has a word in everything, thus the full participation is ensured. But in many cases it can lead to endless meetings, slow and inefficient work.

Sociocracy 3.0 (S3) is a methodology and framework that gives a real solution for this problem, a middle way that combines the advantages of both approaches. It is a social technology that enables organizations to become more agile, resilient and participatory. It offers practical techniques, easy-to-understand concepts, templates of organizational structures which are flexible, customizable to fit the context and specialities of each organization, inviting them to experiment with S3 in a learning-by-doing approach.

S3 is a novel approach that started less than a decade ago (although the intellectual tradition in which it fits is more than a century old). It gathers more and more popularity in Western Europe and around the world. In Hungary S3 is not known yet, only a handful of organizations are experimenting with it.

This Community-Led Event was the very first Sociocracy 3.0 training held in Hungarian language, it is a significant step for the Hungarian NGO sector. We could feel this by the interest of the participants: all the available places were booked quickly. Altogether 16 people were participating from 10 organizations, most of which play an important role in the Hungarian civil sector. We were asking to have more people from the same organization to increase the effectiveness of bringing the new knowledge to their organizations, because for a “single warrior” it can be difficult to motivate their work-community to engage in a change-process. This request has come true, almost all the organizations represented could send two or more people.

During the training there were theoretical and practical parts, presentations and games, integrated in a learning process towards identifying the territories where development, optimization is needed for each participating organization. After learning about the principles, several practices and methods were presented, some of them tried out by the participants. Through the “S3 lenses” that they acquired this way, they could have a look at their organization to identify which methods, principles, practices, templates – called “patterns” in S3 – can be used to evolve their processes, community, value-generating streams.

In the end all of the participants expressed the willingness to experiment with S3, naming the patterns they will choose and experiment with. They also articulated their need to have a kind of an “alumni-meeting” where they can share experiences, strengthen each other’s motivation and deepen their knowledge.