The Client and the Problem

Megan Gray recently assumed the role of Coordinator for Development and Alumni Engagement at Northern Arizona University (NAU), a public university serving over 30,000 students in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Her first major project was to spearhead NAU’s inaugural “Giving Day” event. These events, lasting 24 hours, aim to galvanize communities around a specific cause, event, or university for online fundraising. To prepare for the event scheduled for May 1, 2019, Megan had to assemble a cross-departmental team, including a steering committee and several sub-committees, a process that began over nine months prior.

As someone who thrives on organization and planning, Megan felt equipped to handle most aspects of the challenge. However, she was unsure about leading numerous meetings effectively, ensuring optimal use of participants’ time and maximum engagement. This was crucial, as the success of Giving Day depended on garnering robust support from staff, alumni, and students.

Aware of my background within the NAU community as a facilitator, Megan reached out for assistance, although she wasn’t entirely clear on how I could help.

What We Did

We arranged a coffee meeting to discuss her project, during which I shared insights on meeting design. Megan found my ideas valuable and felt more prepared to lead the initial committee meeting.

Recognizing the importance of Megan’s leadership role and relationship-building during meetings, I proposed regular consultations every six weeks to plan for upcoming steering committee meetings and address any concerns she had about preparation and facilitation.

Our discussions covered various topics, including:

  • Ensuring all participants, even in large meetings of 40 or more, could contribute ideas effectively.
  • Managing a leader with significant experience who brought negative energy to meetings.
  • Delegating tasks during meetings to foster involvement and value while enhancing productivity.

I also equipped Megan with resources such as the Meeting Design Template and evaluated her strengths in different facilitator roles.

In addition to private consultations, I attended and observed three meetings, taking notes to provide specific feedback and advice. My observations, gathered from different vantage points, allowed me to offer insights Megan might have missed and share attendees’ positive feedback on the committee’s progress.

The Results

By our final meeting, Megan had noticeably grown in confidence and skill in leading productive meetings. The Steering Committee recognized and appreciated her leadership. Members frequently approached me, unsolicited, to commend Megan’s progress and express gratitude for the meetings and collaborative process. Megan’s success was underscored by her recent promotion to Assistant Director.

The inaugural NAU Giving Day exceeded expectations:

  • 1,169 donors raised $282,573 in just 24 hours.
  • The goal of engaging first-time donors was surpassed with 441 new contributors.
  • All nine alumni chapters participated, activating $96,155 in matching funds.

NAU was highly satisfied with these outcomes.

Do Good, Be Good Facilitation & Coaching

As a seasoned facilitator specializing in process facilitation, I offer coaching tailored to your needs, as demonstrated with Megan’s experience, or serve as a neutral facilitator for your group. Whether guiding groups through planning processes over months or facilitating large meetings like employee retreats, my approach ensures maximum engagement and optimal outcomes. Click the contact tab in the upper right corner to inquire or ask questions.