Redesigned Power and Privilege Training Helps Volunteer & Nonprofits Collaborate

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Topics: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Redesigned Power and Privilege Training Helps Volunteer & Nonprofits Collaborate

Five benchmarks for volunteer programs or workplaces committed to diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging.

Last year, Full Circle Fund (FCF) launched an initiative to refresh its “Power and Privilege” training workshop to work collaboratively, respectfully, and effectively with professionals from all backgrounds.

While the training is available only to active volunteer Members, there are many key takeaways that can be applied to almost any skills-based volunteer program, including boards of directors, as well as many workplaces committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Our new “Insights Report: Power and Privilege” highlights five benchmarks from perspectives to practice.

The redesign was part of FCF’s work to “put grant partners at the center” of our programs. This includes:  

  • Using best practices in participatory grantmaking and trust-based philanthropy to inform our design and track our progress.

  • Designing programs with research insights from nonprofits through regular interviews, surveys, and focus groups, we learn about and center the nonprofit Grant Partner experience. We apply our design principles--to build trust and honor our collective resources--to every design process.

  • Educating ourselves and our volunteer Member community about the importance of recognizing power and privilege in grantmaking and volunteerism, and practical ways to create equitable partnerships with nonprofits.

As part of our larger equity work, the FCF team created a matrix with the lived and learned experiences we hoped to have on a stakeholder-centric design team. In order to further equity conversations within our sphere of influence, in 2021 FCF evaluated and redesigned our existing Power & Privilege workshop intended to train volunteer Members in the basics of identity, power, and privilege to equip them to work collaboratively, respectfully, and effectively with professionals from diverse backgrounds.


From January to April 2021, FCF convened a team of volunteer designers representing key stakeholder groups. Designers convened twice weekly to conduct a robust collaborative design process. A second team of advisors reviewed the work product and offered direction and support. The volunteer designers and advisors were offered stipends as appreciation for their time and expertise.


The design team first identified the design question: “What do volunteers need to know about identity, power and privilege to engage with nonprofit leaders in ways that build trust and use everyone’s resources wisely?” They gathered insights via surveys with volunteer members and interviews with leaders in both nonprofit Grant Partner leaders and corporate social impact, and diversity, equity and inclusion sector.


Designers shared insights, generated overarching themes from the insights, and defined the participant learning journey.

Prototype and Validate

Designers created a training prototype and iterated based on feedback. Advisors reviewed the training prototype and offered additional input. FCF volunteer Member leaders attended a prototype training and offered feedback. Steelcase Global Change Corp teams participated in a revised prototype training and offered feedback.


The team finalized presentation materials and began delivering the training in July 2021. What was learned during content development and the interviews is captured as training pre-read for participants. Key takeaways were used to develop the five benchmarks outlined in the Insights Report.

Ongoing Journey

Learning about power and privilege isn’t a check box, it’s an awakening. Once you see systems, you can see ways that you’re benefiting or perpetuating them, and you can practice sharing power and making change.