Values and Principles

When we think of the independent sector, we think of people and organizations outside the influence of politics and the market that offer additional and alternative services that carry our values. These values include the support of minority perspectives and needs, are fundamentally pluralistic.

Values of civil society

  • care
  • kinship
  • mutualism
  • justice
  • speak to power
  • dignity
  • participiation
  • pluralism
  • equity

These values point towards a safer, fairer, and more just society for everyone.

Only civil society depends on active expression of alternatives that can act beyond motives of profit and government control… it is the sector with the clearest incentive to bring these ideas to fruition and spread them as norms
– Lucy Bernholz


Building data tools or technologies in this space requires a resonance with these values of civil society, an understanding of them and a desire to support and advance them. The kinds of principes that guide such work are:

  • Build with, not for.
  • Design for sustainability.
  • Understand the system.
  • Consider the impact and consequences.
  • Prefer open transparent processes and tools.
  • Collaborate. Equitable and inclusive.
  • Create teams that are diverse and pluralistic.
  • Be humble.

These are living principles, intended to help guide our work, and are intended to be refined and improved over time. These values apply to the sytems and institutions in which we work, and also to the digital tools that we create in and for civil society.

References and recommended reading

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