This week I had the pleasure of facilitating a board training for the Zanesville Museum of Art. Their board wanted to learn more about fundraising and start to identify ways they could support the Museum’s fundraising efforts. As someone who has been a board member, board chair, and professional fundraiser, these kinds of trainings are right up my alley. Today I want to share a peek inside my process as to how I plan a board training.
Whenever I’m designing a custom training for an organization or association, I start with a similar process – get to know the attendees and their desired learning outcomes. This process can look different for each training depending on the group size and timeline. For this training, I developed an online survey that board members could fill out.
In addition to surveys, for past trainings I’ve also hosted conference call discussions, one on one calls with board members, and had personal email correspondence with attendees. Depending on the board, one of these information gathering mechanisms is usually a good fit.
Once an adequate number of attendees have participated in the survey, I review everyone’s responses to look for themes, recurring concerns, and to identify knowledge gaps. This is a vital part of a training development process for me because it helps me understand where a board is currently at versus where they want to be. From there, I can reverse engineer learning objectives and training curriculum.
If you are designing and facilitating your own board training, I highly recommend you go through an information gathering process like the one I’ve described above. Knowing what your attendees want to get out of a training will help you design a more effective training. I also make it a point to ask attendees if they have any questions or concerns about the training, which will sometimes bring up important issues that weren’t on my radar.
Everyone has different approach to preparing for and delivering trainings. My style is to develop a road map for the training. I write down the key mile markers that will help us fulfill learning objectives to make the training a success. As I do this, I also brainstorm a variety of activities that will enhance the training. I try to pick different types of activities to account for the different ways that people learn, and I always include a fun ice breaker to set the stage for a fun, interactive training.
Non-profit boards decided to host trainings and retreats for a variety of reasons, skills development often being a top reason. By working with an outside expert, you’ll be able to train staff and volunteers to support key organizational initiatives. In my experience, any training is also an opportunity to strengthen the team’s commitment to the mission and improve team functionality because of team building.
Thinking about a training or retreat for your board or staff? Let’s talk about how I can help you make your training a success.