Creating a Makerspace for Your Board

I know I am not alone when I say my family rebooted their imaginations when homebound for extended periods of time due to COVID. We started baking dog treats from scratch, making mandala art to de-stress and learned how to declutter our home by reading Marie Kondo book and 8 Decluttering Lessons Learned from the Marie Kondo book. We ultimately created a makerspace in our house.

A makerspace is a room or area that contains tools and components, allowing people to enter with an idea and leave with a complete project. Makerspaces are communal with a goal to work together to learn, collaborate, and share. Makerspaces allow people to explore, create new things, or improve things that already exist. Makerspaces are part of the maker movement started in the early 2000s and emphasizes hands-on discovery for inventors, students, and DIYers in a world that has become increasingly automated. Some believe the maker movement is integral to America’s future by honing critical thinking skills, challenging one’s imagination, and creating solutions to real-world problems. 

As many nonprofit board meetings are moving once again out of Zoom rooms and back into physical spaces, is it time to create a makerspace to reengage your volunteer leaders? Should you help board members challenge their imaginations and create solutions for your nonprofit? Have you considered turning your board meetings upside down – giving your volunteer leaders the tools they need to imagine an organization’s future and create solutions?

I encourage you to flip your board meeting structure so that committee reports and minutes are reviewed prior and create a makerspace using interactive discussions, perhaps with guest speakers, moving your nonprofit and mission forward in ways they never imagined. Do away with boring meetings and meeting for the sake of meeting. Retreat, advance – call it what you want – but create a makerspace emphasizing hands on discovery. Put the mission of your organization in the room and help board members create their own stories of impact and solutions.

During the pandemic board members may have become complacent and new board members may not have met fellow board members in person. In addition, it is hard to orient new board members virtually. Your next in-person board meeting may be an opportunity to be a restart for the entire board. Your strategic plan action steps may have gone by the wayside and need to be reenergized. Create a makerspace to prepare, educate and allow board members to lead as they were recruited to do and allow interactive discussions towards solutions.

Below are some links to other nonprofit board sources:

https://boardsource.org/resources/building-trust/

https://www.nonprofitlearninglab.org/downloadboardofdirectors

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