Building consensus is part of everyday hard work at non-profits

idearatingsheetsIt 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.
Want to learn more? Simply visit their webpage by clicking here or their library of resources by clicking here.
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!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
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