Mutual Support and Accountability

[Image description: Members of Peace Uprising protest with signs on an excavator. One banner reads: "If you build it, we will come" with a red x mark over the words Tar Sands.]

Being a Worker Self-Directed Nonprofit has its challenges and for a lot of folks, it’s difficult to imagine how a flat structure could work in their organization, in any organization. The truth is that the success of this structure relies heavily on building collective trust. At Resist, we’ve developed this trust through a practice of mutual support and accountability.

Mutual Support

Mutual support is based on the idea that no one can truly function well on their own. We need each other. We evolved to need connection and attunement from one another. Though this may sound nothing like your workplace, it’s still true. Without connection and attunement, work is less transformative and unlikely to reach its full potential. Attunement of a team to one another can look like many things from an affirmation of someone’s work, to checking in if a colleague seems distressed, to calling in a blissed-out colleague for missing a deadline. The team is attuned to one another and to the mutually agreed upon structures for collective work. Below are some of the building blocks of our mutual support and accountability systems. We use these spaces to check in with each other on life, work, and the future that’s emerging.

Weekly Staff Lunches and Peer Coaching

Every Monday, for an hour before our staff collective meetings we break bread together. These lunches are not work related and serve as a time for us to talk about our personal lives, external projects, the current political moment, etc. Our lunch hours are also open to the community at large so we’re sometimes joined by colleagues from other foundations, friends and sometimes family. This gives us a space to build and check in with each other beyond the traditional check-in questions before meetings. It’s one of the ways we continue to deepen our relationships.

The first Monday of each month this lunch becomes a peer coaching session. Staff collective members pair up with another staff collective member to share projects going on outside of work in addition to their work within the organization. Peer coaching lunches give space for individual development and growth in a horizontal structure.

Staff Collective Retreats

In a worker self-directed nonprofit workers give vision and direction to the organization in the same way an executive director would. In order to take a deep dive into our organizational development work as a team, we hold full-day monthly retreats. These retreats help us tackle bigger organizational development work while engaging with readings like Emergent Strategy and Decolonizing Wealth which increase our understanding of what’s possible and inform our regular work.

Communication and Project Management

Part of maintaining our culture of care is being realistic about work-life balance. Resist staff collective members work both at home and from our home office. During work from home days we use Slack to keep in touch with day to day tasks and check-in about the work we are doing. Since each staff collective manages a circle, we use Asana as our project management tool and have agreed upon practices that allow us to collectively keep it up to date. We also use zoom to host virtual meetings during the week.

Read more about our Mutual Support and Accountability Practices:

Become a Resister

Resist is a foundation that supports people’s movements for justice and liberation. We redistribute resources back to frontline communities at the forefront of change while amplifying their stories of building a better world.