November 22, 2023

How to Make Progress on a Board Goal in 5 Minutes

People at a board meeting having conversationsJulia Koch, Director of Development and Advocacy at The Hope Project in Muskegon, MI, recently asked, “Do you have any suggestions for 5-minute training during board meetings to help the board members get to know each other better and also become more engaged?”

I define training as an experience where someone teaches others to gain competencies, skills, or knowledge. Creating them in five-minute periods is a tall order… but here it is.

Creating a five-minute training for two goals (i.e., knowing each other better and becoming more engaged) is cloud-level ambitious. While it is possible,  I recommend you set a smaller goal, such as to help your board members understand each other’s thoughts about an issue.

A 5-Minute Nonprofit Board Example Exercise or Activity

Ask your members to:
1. Stand up.
2. Find someone you don’t know well (Define “know well” when they “claim” they know everyone. They don’t. Have they had a meal with them or been to their house?)
3. Share their beliefs, concerns, or why they are excited about one topic on the agenda for 2 minutes each.
4. After 4 minutes, ask them to sit and share what they learned with the group for 1 minute.
5. Take notes on a whiteboard or large pad. Note commonalities and segue into the agenda item.

Regular one-on-one interactions like these build relationships between board members, create more thoughtful discussions, and support long-term board engagement.

For more answers and tactics, check out this shelf in Karen’s Nonprofit CEO Library.

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Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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