rss feed

The Best Meeting Facilitation Tips for Nonprofits That You Can Use Today

Category

Tags

Good meeting facilitation for nonprofits is more than just putting together an agenda and keeping an eye on the clock. The best techniques will help you get more from your discussions – whether it’s your weekly staff meeting or a community event.

full service nonprofit firms best meeting facilitation tips for new nonprofits include more than just putting together a great agenda. In this image, we see a a blonde woman standing in front of a white board, presenting to a group.

Good meeting facilitation for nonprofits is more than just putting together an agenda and keeping an eye on the clock. The best techniques will help you get more from your discussions – whether it’s your weekly staff meeting or a community event.

As a new nonprofit, your budget for things like outside facilitators is likely slim to nothing at all. But those early days are some of the most important for getting the most of your meetings and community conversations.

There are many reasons to make time for some form of meeting facilitation training in your already-packed schedule: you’ll move beyond brainstorming, see greater team engagement, and have the opportunity to center equity in your discussions.

Here are some facilitation basics to help you run successful, impactful group discussions for your new nonprofit organization – just like the pros!

Easy ways to implement facilitation techniques for your next meeting

There are simple guidelines and practices you can put into place to dramatically increase the success of your meetings, whether internal or out in the community.

Know where the conversation is going.

Figure out your endgame ahead of time. Set realistic goals, including decisions that must be made, and leave plenty of time to reach them.

Set ground rules, every time.

No two groups are exactly alike – and neither are any two meetings. Crowdsource ground rules from group participants and write them down somewhere that will remain visible to all for the entirety of the meeting. Participants will be more likely to stick to the rules, knowing they had a say in what they are.

Take plenty of notes.

It’s a good idea to write notes on flipchart paper or a dry erase board or shared document where all can see – this is called “scribing.” This will help discussion participants feel heard and offers an opportunity for clarifying comments if something was unclear.

Taking stack keeps comments organized.

Stack taking is the practice of keeping track of people who want to speak and the order in which they’ll be called upon. This can help ensure that participants aren’t talking over one another, and it can keep a difficult conversation from getting heated.

Let there be silence.

The secret all good facilitators know is that silence is a critical tool in the toolbox. Not rushing to fill in every pause allows for a group “breather” for both facilitator and participants. You can regroup, process ideas, and create space for more timid participants to speak up.

Take the temperature of the room.

Using different ways of evaluating progress is crucial to the success of any conversation. You can ask folks to give a thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or even thumbs-sideways to indicate neutral or lukewarm feelings.

Prepare for challenging personalities.

Difficult people (or lovely people with difficult habits!) can quickly derail a productive discussion. Check out this list of problem personalities and tips for managing them well.

Meeting facilitation for nonprofits is a valuable skill.

For any new nonprofit, time, resources, and even expertise will be limited. Learning basic facilitation techniques is one of the most valuable things you can do for your new organization.

Effective and well-run conversation will help you optimize your time and efforts – and make a great impression in your new community.

There’s so much more to know! Get access to the extended version of this article and lots of other great resources by joining THE LAUNCHPAD – the NPO Centric’s membership program brings regular tips, tricks, and best practices to nonprofit leaders across the country! We'd love to have you join us!