A new open-source initiative working with the nonprofit sector to cultivate:

  • holistic approaches for organisations to work with integrity
  • common language and understanding of power and its relationship with integrity
  • increased coherence and collaboration across the sector.

Power & Integrity is incubated within    

Understanding power for organisational integrity

A new open-source initiative working with the nonprofit sector to cultivate:

  • holistic approaches for organisations to work with integrity
  • common language and understanding of power and its relationship with integrity
  • increased coherence and collaboration across the sector.

Power & Integrity is incubated within    

The need

A just society needs just organisations

Throughout history, power imbalances have shaped, and reinforced, beliefs and behaviours, which benefit a few at the expense of many. With more and more people calling for an end to human rights violations, environmental destruction and other forms of exploitation and abuse, we’re approaching a critical juncture. Society must do better.

Organisations, a cornerstone of society, are increasingly trying to respond but struggle to navigate a complex web of sensitive integrity issues. Practices in key areas, like safeguarding, diversity, anti-corruption, and sustainability, often evolve in different teams and tend to remain separated, even up to board level. With this piecemeal approach, many organisations fail to see where they cause harm and how they could improve.

Hands and cogs

Towards integrity

Whole-system power analysis

We believe a much more effective integrated approach is possible. We see this as crucial for achieving organisational integrity.

Integrity practice can be transformed with the use of power analysis. Understanding how systemic power structures like colonialism, patriarchy and racism interconnect helps us recognise the devastating behaviours they underpin, including prejudice, bullying, discrimination and saviourism. We can better see how seemingly separate aspects of integrity interconnect.

With a strategic, whole-system approach, we aim to unlock the full potential of power analysis. Power-sensitive organisations can understand how power manifests throughout, in strategies, behaviours and activities. So they can nurture positive power, while preventing its harmful manifestations.

The power behind integrity

To read more about the relationship between integrity issues and power analysis see our power blog post: The power behind organisational integrity.

Are nonprofits power-sensitive?

Nonprofits have long used power analysis to inform their fight against inequality. But they have only recently started trying to apply it internally to investigate injustices from their own ways of working.

As our initial research shows, rather than being a foundation of integrity practice, it rarely extends beyond a few key areas.

We asked:

Does your organisation seek to understand the realities of how power works internally?
  • Yes for diversity and inclusion 23% 23%
  • Yes for safeguarding 10% 10%
  • Yes for bullying 9% 9%
  • Yes for decolonisation 6% 6%
  • Yes across a range of areas 4% 4%

Figures are from 45 respondents at the UK Charity Governance Institute 2021 Summit. We also ran polls at last year’s the Bond Conference, INGO Good Practice Network and CHS Alliance Exchange. These also found power analysis limited to a few areas.

Our role

Cultivating integrity practice

We set up P&I to to enable holistic and evolving integrity practice. Through shared learning and the co-creation of power-sensitive and whole-system ways of working, we will help cultivate an effective cooperative environment. We think this synergy-led approach can not only help organisations strengthen their integrity practice, but ultimately also their impact.

We start our journey with the nonprofit sector, where integrity is fundamental. Supporting wide collaboration is critical right now, while ways of working on organisational integrity are still fairly new.

We recognise the vital role of leadership in organisational integrity, so a key area of our work will be engaging boards and senior managers to explore power-sensitive leadership and strategies.

Hands and cogs

“I think Power & Integrity’s proposal to develop a charity-wide approach to addressing power dynamics and integrity is very timely and much needed.”

Rosie Chapman

Former Charity Governance Code Chair, commenting in a personal capacity

Our discovery phase

We have just launched our initial discovery phase, during which we plan to:

  • Work with sector leaders to shape the strategy for our synergy-led approach. We want to understand how best to cultivate collaboration and common understanding of evolving integrity practice.
  • Run Power Labs to adapt power analysis for organisational integrity. We are working in-depth with a small number of organisations to pilot new power-sensitive, whole-system approaches.
  • Create an open platform to share learning and resources. All resources will be anonymised, but we will share what we discover as widely as we can.

We are delighted that NCVO has agreed to host our discovery phase. Their goals include connecting the sector and embedding new ways of working, and having faced the devastating impacts of how inequality manifests within their own organisation, they are truly committed to supporting our work. So with their support, we can cultivate sector coherence much more effectively. For more information see our partnership with NCVO.

Your role

We’re seeking participants for our discovery phase

This critical work cannot happen without wide, meaningful participation from others in the nonprofit sector.

We’re looking for:

  • sector-level organisations, to explore ways of developing sector-wide coherence and synergy
  • UK-based nonprofits seeking to take part in our future Power Labs
  • Funding partnerships to support this much-needed,  groundbreaking work.

To learn more about contributing to the PI initiative, please get in touch.

Help fund new discoveries

We are a nonprofit seeking funding for our discovery phase. This will support participation in the Power Lab, the development of learning materials and our wider synergy-led workstream.

For more details, email Alex Cole-Hamilton.

Find out more about the PI initiative

Check out our media channels

We’re starting to explain more about PI at events and via blogs and other media channels. See what’s available on our news page.

Stay updated

If you want to know how our work is progressing, why not join the PI mailing list? We’ll let you know about news, upcoming events and other important information.

Get in touch

Do you want to know more about participating in the PI initiative? Perhaps you have a media enquiry or just a general enquiry about our work? If so, let us know.