A better way to manage dilemmas



We developed the Ethos Principles after more than a year of developing and testing solutions to the Neutrality Paradox—the belief that as open platforms, we should maintain a position of neutrality on moral, ethical, and ambiguously legal issues. Rather than focusing on an organization’s shared values and beliefs, Ethos is centered on a set of grounding principles and shared behaviors for all stakeholders. Ethos helps you make more confident, empathetic, and creative resolutions.

Relationships icon
Treat all participants with dignity, holding our relationships precious
While we’re all part of the same humanity, we often don’t treat each other that way. We speak past and see through each other. Yet, human relationships are critical to everyone, and good ideas can come from anyone, anywhere. This is an invitation to pay special attention to how we treat each other and to invest in improving human cooperation.
Stakeholders icon
Minimize harm while aiming to address all stakeholders’ specific needs
We hold ourselves accountable for the wake we create and look to minimize the damage it might cause. We believe we can do this best by understanding stakeholders’ needs (their Jobs To Be Done) and seeking ways to address them in a way that doesn’t hurt others.
Nurturing icon
Hold space for uncomfortable topics and ideas different than our own
There are multiple perspectives in any dilemma. Contextual factors can also add to conflict around a dilemma. Humans like finding quick resolutions, but this could often be a reflex to avoid discomfort. The process requires patience and taking intentional moments to pause and reflect before jumping to a solution.
Healing icon
Seek healing, not judgment
Dilemmas are often handled in a judgment-type scenario—in which a binary decision is made. However, when we consider the process more holistically, we can see opportunities for helping actors in a dilemma improve. This is an invitation to consider notions of restoration as part of the outcome, and not simply a decision.
Resolution icon
Uncover creative resolutions amongst the tension
Dilemmas are often structured as a problem with two opposing solutions. When we seek to creatively resolve tensions rather than decide between them, When we look beyond this problem-solution framework, new solutions will begin to surface.
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Ethos was created and tested over two years by a collaborative team of platform leaders, nonprofit staff, and other social sector professionals led by GlobalGiving. We’ve made it free and easy to use so your team can benefit from our trials and errors.

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