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: Fishbowl Facilitation Technique

Beth Kanter

It was expertly facilitated by Allison Lin and Odin Zackman. When I get to participate in sessions that are focused on content that I’m intensely interested in AND are well designed and facilitated, it creates the perfect storm for learning in my field and the trade craft of facilitation. One session used the “Fishbowl” technique. It can be done in different ways, but in the lab they placed four chairs in the center of the room.


Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Trending Sources

Reflections on Twitter Chat Facilitation Techniques

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

The complete chat is aggregated here. You’ll notice that the application they’re using allows them to pull out the moderator’s tweets on the side. A couple of Twitter moderator techniques I used to try to get some deeper insights from the discussion: I had a search open on #sm73 the whole time. What are your best Twitter moderation techniques? Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in Twitter chat series #socialmedia.

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. Conferences are a great opportunity to take workshops and observe the facilitator’s techniques. Many of us do this and take content notes, but it is also great to take notes about instructional design and facilitation techniques.

3 Design Thinking Facilitation Resources for Nonprofits

Beth Kanter

The design lab was facilitated by Pete Maher, founder of Luma Institute. I learned so much about the taxonomy of innovation and really practical techniques, that I took the facilitation training. I started incorporating facilitating design labs as well as the techniques into my training practice ever since. I even facilitated design labs to help with the research for my book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit.

How To Facilitate Effective Virtual Meetings

Beth Kanter

It’s time to up your virtual facilitation and convening skills. Since those days, I have continued to hone my virtual facilitation skills to design and deliver effective virtual meetings and trainings. This word cloud is from a virtual workshop I facilitated asking participants what the barriers to effective virtual meetings are: technology, engagement, connectivity, and participation. Roles may include: Facilitator: Designs and Facilitates Meeting.

Trainer’s Notebook: Facilitating Brainstorming Sessions for Nonprofit Work

Beth Kanter

Does your work at a nonprofit include facilitating meetings or trainings? Looking for new techniques to add to your facilitator’s toolbox? This is the focus of a session called “ The Big Bang Theory: Creative Facilitation and Training Techniques, ” that I’m co-facilitating at the Nonprofit Technology Conference with Cindy Leonard and Jeanne Allen. When To Use Brainstorming or Idea Generation Techniques in Training.

The Art of Facilitating Virtual Meetings with Sticky Notes

Beth Kanter

I also wanted to experiment with translating some facilitation techniques I use for face-to-face meetings (like sticky note facilitation ) to virtual meetings. Depending on the number of people in your group, there are different ways to facilitate the report out. I facilitated a verbal report out, while I had someone act as “scribe” and type in the responses on different sticky notes. Facilitation

Trainer’s Notebook: Finding Inspiration and New Ideas for Facilitation Techniques

Beth Kanter

Last week, during the Google hangout hosted by the Packard Foundation , someone asked me where I get all my ideas for designing and delivering training. Part of delivering instruction is being a good facilitation of people’s learning and there is no better way to learn how to improve your own technique than watching world class facilitators in action. I always learn something from his participatory style, humor, and techniques. Here’s a few things I learned.

The Art of Facilitating Meetings with Sticky Notes

Beth Kanter

Post-It Note Facilitation of A Network Map - 2012 Pakistan NGOs. What’s in your facilitation toolkit? Take for example my colleague Eugene Eric Kim who shares his facilitation toolkit which includes links to his favorite Post It notes and markers. When I facilitate training, I use analog and digital tools and materials. Facilitation Mine includes markers , sticky notes , index cards, and flip chart paper. But wait, paper??? And, I’m not alone.

Facilitating with Sticky Notes

Beth Kanter

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a convening of ”network practitioners” (consultants and others who are working with or networks of people and organizations on social change goals) at the Packard Foundation and designed and facilitated by consultants Gig Barsoum and Heather Grant-McLoud. The purpose was share insights and learn more about creating, supporting, and managing networks.

Visual Meeting Facilitation Workshop with David Sibbet

Beth Kanter

’ The book was an inspiration and encouragement for those us whose inner critics have been keeping us away from using the technique in front of other people. The book offers a wonderful road map for a learning journey to internalize these techniques and I’ve practicing a lot. One of the techniques that they used that I loved was to provide a graphic template for your personal learning journey to internalize these skills.

Reflections on a Decade of Designing and Facilitating Interactive Webinars

Beth Kanter

I’ve had the honor of facilitating an online peer learning exchange of Knight Grantees that are hosting Giving Days, applying and iterating on the Giving Day Playbook since 2013. Yesterday, I facilitated the first webinar in a series hosted by the Knight Foundation on taking the practice of Giving Days to the next level. This can be a mix of presentations by peers, with lots of facilitated discussion and interaction.

Techniques and Tools: How To Visualize Your Network

Beth Kanter

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to attend the CATechFest in LA designed and expertly facilitated by Aspiration. We had a wide ranging conversations about how to apply network mapping and visualization and debated about its use as a measurement technique vs strategy tool. Here’s some techniques where you can incorporate network visualization to help you be intentional about using your professional network for learning: 1.

Trainer’s Notebook: Facilitating Tech Training Internationally – Tips for Working with Interpreters

Beth Kanter

I’ve just returned from an inspiring week in Kiev, Ukraine where I got to facilitate a training for women’s organizations organized by Wake , an amazing start up founded by two respected colleagues Trish Tierney and Heather Ramsey. While I delivered some content sessions on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn strategy, I also facilitated interactive sessions. You have to think of your interpreters as extensions of your facilitation techniques.

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

Museum 2.0

I first learned about this technique from Sam Kaner''s excellent book, Facilitator''s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. Tag Team the Facilitation. And if you want a more efficient approach to multi-vocal facilitation, try an unconference. Last week, I wrote about MuseumCamp , the annual professional development event we hold in Santa Cruz.

Trainer’s Notebook: Group Polling Techniques and Tools and Incorporating Movement

Beth Kanter

Last week, in addition to giving the ending keynote and facilitating a design lab for the Arts Brain Trust at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference , I was a participant in a pre conference convening expertly facilitated by Jennifer Edwards who is an organizational development consultant, dancer, and teacher. As a trainer, it is always great to experience someone else facilitating so you can have empathy for participants, get some new ideas or reflect on your trade craft.

Poll 60

SXSW Reflection: Using Social Media to Facilitate A Global Back Channel at a Panel Session

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Over the past month, I have been thinking about a couple of different ideas and how to incorporate them into training design to facilitate learning. My questions are: 1. How can we use graphic facilitation or graphic note taking in real time to deepen understanding of the topic being discussed? I don’t like to facilitate a panel from the stage because I think it puts a wall up between the audience and the presenters.

What can nonprofit technology trainers learn from the social work field to improve their training techniques?

Beth Kanter

Last month, I spent two days teaching at University of Buffalo, School of Social Work. During my visit, I gave a keynote at a nonprofit leadership conference, facilitated a workshop for social work agencies on networks and data, guest taught a graduate course in social work research and evaluation methods, met with faculty, gave a talk on giving to students at the student union (pictured above), and was interviewed for the podcast series.

Running Effective Virtual #Nonprofit Meetings: 9 Best Practices for Facilitating Engagement

Beth Kanter

In many of the workshops I’ve been facilitating based on the Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout , many nonprofits are recognizing that offering some workplace flexibility to employees is not only an attractive benefit, but also can increases productivity and help with burnout prevention.Many nonprofits allow staff to work remotely one day a week. That’s why I’ve added a new workshop on running and facilitating effective virtual meetings.

Tips To Make Online Meetings Less Exhausting

Beth Kanter

Recently I facilitated an online session about how to get better at online meetings for Lightful in the UK where I am a Senior Advisor at Lightful, among other activities, facilitate online master classes for their BRIDGE programme. You can plan the topics, the minutes you allocate on each topic, the speakers but also the roles for each attendee (facilitator, tech steward, note-taker, etc). An online meeting is more effective when you have at least two facilitators.

What are your most useful synchronous online facilitation practices?

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

TechSoup holds regular meetings for nonprofits in Second Life and I have been attending regularly and sometimes facilitate like this I did this past week. So, I've been reflecting about effective facilitation of virtual meetings in Second Life Right now the primary method of group interaction is via unmoderated chat interface. I learned one from Nancy White when I took her online facilitation workshop. It kinds of gets in the way of effective facilitation.

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.” The technique helps you need to evaluate the ideas. It does require a learning curve to master in addition to the technique. Facilitation Training Design

Data Visualization Techniques for Those Who Can’t Draw

Beth Kanter

” This is a common theme for those interested in incorporating visualization techniques. But I followed the advice of colleague Rachel Smith, who teaches visual thinking and facilitation : “Send your inner critic who says you can’t draw on a vacation to Hawaii.” Are you using visualization techniques in your nonprofit? This might be data visualization, visualize facilitation at meetings, or other techniques.

Nonprofit Innovation Toolkits: Methods To Invent, Adopt, and Adapt Ideas to Deliver Better Results

Beth Kanter

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with methods for facilitating innovation for nonprofits. It isn’t a matter of facilitation techniques, but process design. The field of innovation practitioners, whether in corporate labs or working in social good sector, comes with lots of tool kits that offer different ways to help groups think of new ideas and prioritize them. … Read More Creativity Facilitation Innovation Training Design

How Your Nonprofit Can Routinize Reflection

Beth Kanter

For individuals, it can be simple as keeping a journal , even a one-sentence a day journal or using the 18-minutes a day technique. It is also important for your team or organization to create and use a habit of reflection as a group, but not just quarterly or after a major event, but as a regular routine that can drive organizational learning, transparency & cohesion. What techniques and methods have you used? Capacity Facilitation Leadership Learning Meetings Reflection

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? It is a useful technique for creating a more responsive, flexible organizational culture as well as coming up with more innovative ideas for programs and grants that are a good fit.

Using Design Thinking To Help Solve the Refugee Crisis at SXSW

Beth Kanter

” Author Michael Michalko created the “ Think Pack ” to accompany his book on creativity techniques, Thinker Toys. How is your nonprofit using innovation or creativity techniques to generate ideas for your organization’s programs? Crowdsourcing Data Experimentation Facilitation InnovationI’m just back from SXSW where I did a session on Tech Wellness with Aliza Sherman.

Game 44

The 2018 Best Nonprofit Conferences Calendar


Join other data experts, academics, practitioners, and social sector leaders for two days of skillfully-led sessions on topics ranging from aligning practice with policy to creating a culture of data, and how Silicon Valley is facilitating data practices in civil society. Learn strategies, tools and techniques to enhance your individual leadership style and talents. It's finally here!

New Year’s Rituals for Nonprofits To Improve Resilience in 2021

Beth Kanter

There are many approaches to journaling and types of notebooks, but I have settled in on using a variation of the bullet journal technique and the one-sentence five-year journal. Chris Brogan’s technique is to select three words and stick with them for the coming year.

GuideStar DonorEdge Learning Conference: Reflections from the Innovation Lab

Beth Kanter

I gave a keynote about the Human Side of Data for Good and facilitated a mini-innovation lab to brainstorm creative ideas around the challenge of communicating about the value of shared data and becoming the community knowledge center for shared data for donors, nonprofits, and other stakeholders. The lab used human design facilitation techniques that I have been trained on by Luma Institute. Data Facilitation

5 New Year’s Rituals for Nonprofit Professionals to Build Personal Resilience

Beth Kanter

2) Start A New Professional Journal: For as long as I can remember, I have kept an annual professional journal, using a variation of bullet journal technique. Chris Brogan’s technique is select three words, but I modify it by articulating key themes. I’ve used Chris Brogan’s technique for over a decade and found it very helpful in keeping me focused. All in all, I presented or facilitated over 50 keynotes, workshops, and webinars on the topic.

Great Year-End Advice For Leaders

Eric Jacobson

EWF International provides professionally facilitated peer advisory groups for women business owners and executives. skip to main | skip to sidebar Eric Jacobson On Management And Leadership Welcome! This blogs tips and ideas are perfect for managers and leaders of all types of small to large businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Icebreakers for Online Meetings That Introverts Will Love

Beth Kanter

In my work as a trainer and facilitator, I make workshops and master classes as interactive as possible, incorporating peer discussion, movement, and creativity. But it isn’t impossible, if you follow best practices for virtual facilitation for meetings. The next step is to facilitate a discussion. My colleague, Dirk Slater , has written about how he applies Gunner’s techniques in his own technology/activist trainings.

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.

3 New Year’s Rituals for Nonprofit Professionals to Build Resilience

Beth Kanter

1) Review the Year: For as long as I can remember, I have kept an annual professional journal, using a variation of bullet journal technique. I’ve used Chris Brogan’s technique for over a decade and found it very helpful in keeping me focused. I’ve continued to do conference keynotes, workshops and facilitate staff retreats about activating a culture of wellbeing. All in all, I presented or facilitated over 50 keynotes, workshops, and webinars on the topic.

3 New Year’s Rituals for Nonprofits That Can Boost Professional Success

Beth Kanter

But before jumping into the daily grind, during the first week of January I use the quiet time to engage in several New Year’s rituals that help me prepare for the year ahead and identify professional growth areas. My rituals include: 1) Review the Year: For as long as I can remember, I have kept an annual professional journal, using a variation of bullet journal technique. I would like to wish all my readers, colleagues, and friends a happy new year!

Four Tips To Boost Your Personal Resilience While Doing Nonprofit Work

Beth Kanter

I’m going to share different techniques for weaving mindful moment and exercises into your workday. Above all, silence facilitates clear and creative thinking and quiets negative thoughts. Here are the techniques: Meeting Ritual: A Moment of Quiet: Many people who work at nonprofits are often in many meetings, often scheduled back-to-back, everyday. This technique is simple. Photo by Amanda/Flicker.

Trainer’s Notebook: The Digital Nonprofit: A Participatory Workshop

Beth Kanter

Last week at the IFC-Asia , I co-designed and facilitated a 90 minute workshop with Marco Kuntze titled “ The Digital NGO: The Journey from Paper to Screen.” ” Jo Wolfe, Aseem Thakur, Gillian Tan, Cherisse Beh, Katie Bengaard, and Toral Cowieson joined our session as small group facilitators. My colleague, Dirk Slater , has written about how he applies the Spectragram technique in his technology/activist trainings.

NTEN Leading Change Summit #14lcs: Reflection

Beth Kanter

Last week I facilitated the “ Impact Leadership Track ” at the NTEN Leading Change Summit with John Kenyon, Elissa Perry, and Londell Jackson. Here’s what I learned: Facilitation Teams. A good facilitator knows how to shift or tweak the lesson plan in real time if it isn’t working as planned. Often, facilitation teams are brought together by an event host. Are there facilitation skills/techniques that you enjoy and are great at doing?

Virtual Meeting Check-Ins & Icebreakers During A Pandemic

Beth Kanter

Since those days, I have continued to hone my virtual facilitation skills to design and deliver effective virtual meetings and trainings. This post is #2 in a series I’ll be publishing on virtual meeting facilitation. The first post was an overview of 9 virtual facilitation tips. As the facilitator you can model it with brevity – it should be no more than 30 seconds. Here’s a write of this technique.

A Nonprofit Guide to DIY Fundraising

NonProfit Hub

The organization will often do something to facilitate the raising of funds, but the exact method of how is up to the individual fundraisers. A recent example of a DIY fundraising technique was a video game tournament hosted on Twitch. The concept of ‘DIY Fundraising’ has been quite popular in the nonprofit world for some time now. Lately, the DIY fundraising mentality has been adopted by the for-profit world as well.

Guide 72

#13NTC Session: Mindful or Mindfull Social Media?

Beth Kanter

This session teaches you some techniques including the use of visualization, graphic facilitation, mind-mapping, attention training, and technology tips and tools that you can immediately put into practice to help you and your staff work more efficiently and effectively, enabling you to achieve more in less time and ultimately increase the return of your efforts. He will teach us some drawing techniques for those of us who are not Picassos. Visualization Techniques.

Mind 51