Introducing “Now What?”

We nonprofit people face the ebb and flow of good and bad fortune. Our ability to achieve our mission is not always up to us. The stars align—or don’t – and things happen that we need to respond to.

The Washington Nonprofits Learning team, in partnership with Three Choices Communications, has developed a new game designed to encourage conversations about risk and strategy. “Now What?” came out of conversations about the positive and negative things that can happen while starting a nonprofit. It evolved into a set of cards suitable for play at any stage of an organization.

How do you play? First, download, print, and cut out the game cards. Then decide if you want to play a formal game or simple share cards for conversation.

Formal game – Each player states their name. All players write a list of the names. There are 27 cards. Deal an equal number to each player. You don’t have to use them all. The first player reads a card from their hand and explains what they would do in this situation. On the list of names, all players write a rating for the solution from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most effective and reasonable. Play continues around the room, un­til all cards have been read. At the end, the dealer adds up the totals for each player. The player with the highest Solution Score wins.

Conversation – During the learning part of your board meeting, hand one or two cards to every board member. Give them 3 minutes to think about what an effective and reasonable response would be. Invite them to share their idea with a partner. The partner gives feedback on their idea. The partner then shares their response, and conversation ensues. After 15 minutes, share in the larger group what the issues and responses were.

Why a game? Good question. To which we answer, why not a game? Games invite engagement and conversation in ways that straight discussion does not. It often stirs up social groups so we talk with new people. Laughter lowers the stress level, which prepares the brain for learning.

Do you have ideas for additional cards? Let us know!

Have fun!

Looking for more nonprofit learning games? The Washington Nonprofits Learning Laboratory has created a finance BINGO card, game on boards (yes, a board game!), and a shoots-and-ladder like nonprofit law game (developed in partnership with Wayfind). They are available on our learning website: wanonprofitinstitute.org/games. Email us if you need help finding them.

About Nancy Bacon 36 Articles
Nancy Bacon leads the development and implementation of Washington Nonprofits’ learning and engagement programs.