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Basic Facilitation Techniques for Nonprofits

Beth Kanter

As a trainer and now adjunct professor, I’m constantly working on and honing these skills sets: assessment, instructional design, curriculum/materials development, presenting, facilitation, and evaluation. There is a lot of learn and refine in each of these areas. And that’s why I love teaching and training because it is all about the learning for both you and the participants. Networked Facilitation. Open Space and Unconference Facilitation.

Trainer’s Notebook: Just A Few Participatory Facilitation Techniques

Beth Kanter

Recently, a colleague asked me a wonderful question: How did you learn to become a good facilitator and trainer? Evaluate your content, facilitation, and logistical skills against participant evaluations. If time is available, also do a plus/delta exercise with participants as a close out to the session. Measure, evaluate, reflect, and improve. Conferences are a great opportunity to take workshops and observe the facilitator’s techniques.


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Adventures in Participatory Audience Engagement at the Henry Art Gallery

Museum 2.0

In 2009 , students built a participatory exhibit from scratch. Thirteen students produced three projects that layered participatory activities onto an exhibition of artwork from the permanent collection of the Henry Art Gallery. These nontraditional audience engagement techniques helped make complex goals and visions explicit and understandable to visitors. When activities were not facilitated, people were often too timid to interact. Projects participatory museum

Facilitating Creative Learning (for Professionals): More Notes on MuseumCamp

Museum 2.0

Last week, I focused on the 2014 theme (social impact assessment) and the many creative evaluation projects produced by campers. I first learned about this technique from Sam Kaner''s excellent book, Facilitator''s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. Tag Team the Facilitation. To me, this is analogous to the benefits of having multiple staff members engaged with community partners on participatory projects.

Trainer’s Notebook: Using Dot Voting Online

Beth Kanter

When I facilitate meetings or workshops for nonprofits, not matter the topic, I incorporate many participatory approaches and design thinking methods. One technique that I often employ is called “ Dot Voting ” or “ Visual the Vote.”

Using Design Thinking for A Foundation’s Investment Strategy

Beth Kanter

I was thrilled to work with the Brainerd Foundation staff to help design and facilitate a design lab using techniques based on Luma Institute methods earlier this month. Here’s what I learned about the facilitating design thinking processes: What Is A Design Lab? In some ways, a design lab can be thought of as “participatory research and testing.”. The first technique I used to get at individual understanding of the design challenge.

How To Be A Wizard at Tech Training: NTC 2016 Session

Beth Kanter

In a couple of weeks, one of the sessions I’m facilitating at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Jose is called “ How To Be A Wizard at Tech Training.” Whether you are facilitating a session with your board, staff, or hundreds of folks in a room, you’ll find ways to design instructional content that interests, engages, and inspires action. Co-Designing and Working with Other Facilitators and Trainers. Group Polling Techniques and Tools.

Social Media, Networking, and African Women’s Leadership Training in Rwanda

Beth Kanter

My sessions were integrated into the various leadership, visioning process for women’s rights, curriculum development, and evaluation methods modules throughout the week as networked and social media skills were not the main focus. This design was a participatory process and was intended to provide an opportunity for deep reflective process. Here’s a few facilitation techniques that I learned from documenting the session.

Can Stories Be Data?

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

When the issue of interest moves from measurement for accountability/compliance to #evaluation for learning from Karcsig. Last week at the Packard Foundation, I participated in a conversation with Peter Laugharn, the Executive Director of Firelight Foundation about participatory learning agendas. This approach is not about counting dollar signs, but about feedback loops which is discussed in Michael Quinn Patton’s new book on Developmental Evaluation.

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The 2016 Best Nonprofit Conferences Calendar


Join the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Nonprofits Assistance Fund for this fifth annual day-long conference will offer insights, strategies and tools for staff and board members looking at your organization’s financial sustainability from diverse perspectives – from strategy and oversight to implementation and evaluation. Less a conference than a facilitated retreat, the 2016 gathering will encourage the active and full engagement of all participants.

The Mobilisation Journal: A Way To Spread Learning About Social Change Movements Innovative Use of Technology

Beth Kanter

I’ve been following it for a while now and it is very inspiring on many different levels. The laboratory gives Greenpeace and its partners a space to design, test, iterative, and roll out new strategies and techniques for participatory campaigns or what has been called “People Powered.” Assessments and Review :: evaluating past performance to inform future mobilisation efforts.

Can Stories Be Data?


When the issue of interest moves from measurement for accountability/compliance to #evaluation for learning – from Karcsig. Last week at the Packard Foundation, I participated in a conversation with Peter Laugharn, the Executive Director of Firelight Foundation , about participatory learning agendas. Some of the techniques include analyzing narrative data in a structured way to test and refine a theory of change. By Beth Kanter, Beth's Blog.

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Is “Ambient Data” from Social Media Channels Useful for Funders?

Beth Kanter

The convening used participatory methods to identify topics for small group conversations related to the theme and was expertly facilitated by Allen Gunn from Aspiration. ( I wrote a reflection last week about the facilitation techniques here ). I got to facilitate a deep dive with a dozen folks and here are the takeaways from the discussion. We brainstormed a few: Real-Time evaluation of communications strategy for a nonprofit or foundation.