Ep 178: My Foolproof Team-Building Icebreaker for Nonprofits

by Joan Garry

Enough with the bland icebreakers! Join me as I share a game-changing team-building icebreaker that will change your nonprofit’s group dynamics for the better. Less cringing, more connection.


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You saw the word “icebreaker” in the title and didn’t run screaming in the other direction? Kudos to you!

I bet you have a terrifying story (or two) to tell about an awkward team-building icebreaker moment (or you’ve probably heard a few from other nonprofit leaders in your circle). 

It’s no secret that most nonprofit leaders hate icebreakers and for good reason. Most icebreaker activities are terribly, horribly awful. (Read: they suck.) And many leaders don’t explain (or know) enough about why they are so important. In fact, there’s a big, fat opportunity to turn these dreaded exercises into powerful, transformative moments for your organization…

In this episode, I’m sharing my seriously foolproof icebreaker that never fails to transform groups of people into teams. This isn’t your typical “what’s your favorite dessert?” type of icebreaker — it’s powerful, transformative, and genuinely effective. I’ve witnessed it in action firsthand at retreats and seen results that left me totally gobsmacked. Trust me, this one’s a home run!

Tune in as I dig deeper into why team-building icebreakers get such a bad rap, why they’re so crucial for an effective nonprofit team, and how to avoid the common mistakes that make icebreaker exercises feel like a big, fat waste of time.

Click play to learn:

  • Why do icebreakers get such a bad rap? (2:37)
  • Why have team-building icebreakers become so important in the past few years? (8:04)
  • What is the best icebreaker ever? (11:24)
  • What makes this such an effective icebreaker game? (19:05)
  • Why is asking questions so important in icebreaker activities? (22:15)


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About Joan Garry

Founder of the Nonprofit Leadership Lab, where we help smaller nonprofits thrive. I’m also a strategic advisor for executive directors and boards of larger nonprofits. I’m a frequent keynote speaker, a blogger, and an author on all thing’s leadership and management. (Learn more at JoanGarry.com)

I’m a woman with a mission to fuel the leadership of the nonprofit sector. My goal with each episode is to dig deep into an issue I know that nonprofit leaders are grappling with, by finding just the right person to offer you advice and insights.

Today is no exception.

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