The above statements and questions are just a few comments I hear consistently from clients and training participants. Yet, these only represent symptoms of bigger issues.
Board members need to better understand and accept their roles and responsibilities,
Communications among board members and between the board and CEO need to improve,
Collegial working relationships need to be forged, and
Consequences of actions or inaction need to be recognized.
Trainers, consultants, university degree programs and capacity building nonprofit organizations abound. Each seeks to help nonprofit organizations make a greater impact through improved fundraising, programs, personnel, measurement, infrastructure and more. Each of these Influencers has also been successful with their services, yet these symptoms persist. Addressing this dilemma is why I created, 501c Impact!
I am Glenda Hicks, a certified governance trainer, consultant and CPA. I believed there had to be another way. There needed to be a tool these amazing trainers, consultants, capacity builders and universities could use to augment their services and curriculum to help board members understand the true gravity of the work they are expected to perform and then execute. I further
believed this tool would in turn, more likely incline the members to prioritize their commitment to the nonprofit organization to whom they said, “yes” when asked, “Will you serve on our board of directors?”
501c Impact! is an innovative, creative way to help organizations tackle issues and learn or reinforce knowledge in a fun and engaging gamified way, that uses experiential and social learning methods along with good old-fashioned competition. The game is designed to help current and prospective board members synthesize their knowledge with their performance.
501c Impact! began as a teaching resource for Influencers and morphed into a dynamic way to also help management and staff understand the work of the board, the demands of the CEO/Executive Director and the magnitude of what is involved in running a nonprofit organization. Playing 501c Impact! is equally ideal for new CEOs/Executive Directors and nonprofit Founders who do not fully understand the nonprofit landscape, and university students pursuing a degree in nonprofit management.
Theory of Change
How It Works
Training participants divide into 2-4 teams (i.e. nonprofit organizations) with as many teammates as desired although only 3 to 4 per team is recommended (more games can be purchased to accommodate more than 16 participants).
The objective of the game is to make the greatest impact in the community, which is measured by achieving the most goals (reach, efficiency, outcomes) by the end of the game.
The Equation: Impact (I) = Reach (R) + Efficiency (E) + Outcomes (O)
The foundational principle of the game is that above all else, a nonprofit organization’s success depends on how well it Efficiently manages its resources of people (whether paid or volunteer), money (e.g. cash, investments), and infrastructure (e.g. capital assets, technology, supplies, policies, office space, etc.) to Reach the intended stakeholders (e.g. clients, customers, board members, donors, grantors, etc.) and achieve intended Outcomes (e.g. changed behavior, created safety, increased literacy, etc.).
As play progresses, nonprofit organizations (i.e. teams) discuss strategy and make decisions that help them achieve the three goals (R,E,O) which collectively increase their impact (I). Concurrently, teams must earn and expend resources (people, money and infrastructure), manage operating costs, affect brand, respond to life-cycle events, select a CEO and so much more.
With the expertise of a skilled nonprofit facilitator (i.e. trainer, consultant, university professor, etc.) the players take deeper dives into specific issues relevant to their agency (whether players are from the same or different agencies) as the subjects occur during game play because of game spaces, Action cards or Event cards. Facilitators provide necessary guidance, information and expertise to elaborate on the agency-specific issues as well as general subjects encountered during the game such as board recruitment, collaboration, strategic planning and nonprofit finances.
Sample Game Cards
Suggested Seating Options
(not to scale)