What is a Worker Self-Directed Nonprofit? A Discussion on Implementing Workplace Democracy in Nonprofit Organizations

Question: What do you get when you cross a worker cooperative with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit?

Answer: A worker self-directed nonprofit!


The inefficiencies of conventional nonprofit organizations have been the subject of many jokes, and even an entire blog depicting such dysfunction through animated gifs. It’s time to question conventional nonprofit management practices and strive toward innovation. The Sustainable Economies Law Center has put a great deal of thought into structuring as a worker self-directed nonprofit, and we are excited to share our model with others, gather feedback, and learn about how other nonprofit organizations are implementing workplace democracy.


selc!.jpgIn mission-driven organizations, it is often the workers who are best positioned to sense the needs of the organization, its constituents, and the community. The workers may therefore be in the best position to drive the strategy, program design, and day-to-day work. At the same time, 501(c)(3) nonprofits are designed to be governed by independent boards of directors. How do you strike a balance between worker self-direction and the board's legal governance duties? We'll share our thoughts on how to navigate this issue and some of the strategies we have used to be an effective worker-led organization.


The current economic and ecological crises mandate that we build adaptable and efficient organizations to respond, and worker self-directed organizations may prove to be incredibly agile in this regard. Plus, they are great places to work!


Presented by staff of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, including Janelle Orsi and Chris Tittle.



$5 Donation Requested

If you are unable to give financially or would like to donate in person at the event, please contact Chris Tittle at [email protected]


April 21, 2015 at 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Alchemy Collective Cafe
1741 Alcatraz Ave
Berkeley, CA 94703
United States
Google map and directions
Chris Tittle ·
Danny Spitzberg Pamela Chang

Who's RSVPing

Danny Spitzberg
Pamela Chang

Will you come?

$15.00 Democracy Champion!
Help us continue running our own democratic nonprofit!
$5.00 RSVP
Help us to keep our community workshops accessible!

Showing 7 reactions

  • Pamela Chang
    attended. 2015-04-22 15:07:12 -0700
  • Danny Spitzberg
    attended. 2015-04-22 15:07:12 -0700
  • Danny Spitzberg
    rsvped 2015-04-16 11:42:04 -0700
  • Pamela Chang
    rsvped 2015-04-13 12:55:18 -0700
  • Chris Tittle
    published this page in Events 2015-04-07 17:19:29 -0700
  • Chris Tittle
    is hosting. 2015-04-07 17:18:31 -0700
  • Janelle Orsi
    is hosting. 2015-04-07 17:18:14 -0700

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: