By Janice Simsohn Shaw, ASF
I’ll admit it, I’m a facilitation geek. I love facilitating. I love learning about facilitating (as I have been lucky enough to do in multiple trainings with the Interaction Institute for Social Change). I love observing other facilitators and learning from their multitude of styles and approaches. And I love helping others gain and refine facilitation skills, as I have been fortunate to do at various ASF programs.
What, you may be asking, does facilitation have to do with philanthropy? Well, giving thoughtfully and strategically involves engaging with others around decision making, complex power dynamics, and social change, right? The stakes are often high, and skilled facilitation can help ease the way to more efficient and satisfying board meetings, more open and efficient collaborations and grantee convenings, better focus groups, and more successful community meetings.
ASF recently partnered with Delaware Valley Grantmakers to do a lunchtime program on facilitation at the gorgeous Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia. We were astounded when more than 40 people turned up.
I am not 100% sure what drew the participants there, but I can tell you why I love facilitating: It’s a remarkable opportunity to help a group of individuals come together around ideas, to turn them into realities, to take ownership and leadership, to spurn on excitement, and to change organizations and communities for the better.
Yes, I really believe strong facilitation can do all that.
Tune in on Tuesday when I’ll share 5 facilitation tips that can help any foundation leader – whether staff, trustee, next generation member, or founder.
Senior Program Manager Janice Simsohn Shaw oversees a range of ASF member services, including programs for executive directors and our pithy resources known as tear sheets. An experienced trainer and facilitator with more than 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, she has received training from the Interaction Institute for Social Change and has designed and led learning experiences of all sorts, from giving circle retreats to facilitation trainings for consultants. She is planning a 3-hour learning lab on the topic of facilitation at ASF’s 2012 National Conference in October.