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Cross-Post: Three (Downloadable!) Activities to Deepen Engagement for Digital Development

4 mins read

All activities mentioned below are available for download! Please send any feedback to

On November 5-6, 2018, TechChange supported DIAL in convening and facilitating a donor-driven workshop in Dublin, Ireland. Organized at the request of donors to build stronger bonds amongst their organizations and share common challenges and pain points, TechChange helped design two days of highly interactive activities and small-group discussions.  In addition, TechChange sought to introduce donors to new training materials being developed for the Principles for Digital Development, which builds on previous TechChange elearning content in 2018, a well as the recently published report: Donor Organizations & the Principles for Digital Development: A Landscape Assessment and Gap Analysis.

Here are three of the activities that we used, as well as a how-to guide for making the activities your own?


Participants engage in a series of one-on-one conversations and attempt to fill out a bingo card of tech-themed experiences with signatures from from other participants. This is an effective way for the facilitator to learn participant names quickly, assess strengths and weaknesses in knowledge for the room, and also ensure that the group knows and remembers each other’s names.


  • Introduce yourself to one person at a time and ask if they are someone who fits the box description.
  • If not, keep asking until you find a box that fits them. Once they say yes, get them to sign for that box. Afterwards, switch roles and let them ask you a question.
  • The goal is to fill all 16 boxes with 16 different signatures.
  • Note: If you find yourself in an interesting conversation about a particular box, please pursue that exchange. This isn’t a contest, so there is no need to rush the conversation.
  • After 10-15 minutes (or as participants finish filling out all boxes), facilitator ends the activity and invites participants to return to their seats.
  • Facilitator leads a debrief discussion by reviewing each box (or a selection of boxes) and inviting participants to raise their hands if they signed for the box. Time permitting, facilitator invites participants to share stories related to boxes.


If the goal is to build donor collaboration, then it’s important to build a donor conversation. In this activity, participants pair up to engage in a structured interview activity to learn more about how other organizations are applying the Principles and addressing challenges.

The instructions are as follows:

  • Facilitator hands out worksheet and ensures that participants are paired with someone they do not work directly with.
  • Facilitator reads instructions.  
    • In pairs, participants will take turns interviewing each other by asking a series of structured questions about the Principles and writing their partners’ response in the spaces provided.
    • Participants have three minutes per question to answer and reverse roles after 9-18 minutes (depending on how many questions the facilitator decides to include).
    • As the interviewer, your role is to listen and document, not respond. Keep the focus on the interviewee.
  • Facilitator leads debrief and invites groups to share their reflections on the activity and specific highlights that emerged.

During this exercise in Dublin, we found that the reporting back from each group led to not only a deeper understanding of shared challenges, but also greater sense of understanding for donor challenges. In many cases, participants were often the only person in their department or organization tasked with understanding and exploring the Principles, which led to a greater appreciation for a greater community between organizations.


Facilitator hands out playing cards for the Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Participants divide into groups and come up with project concepts, considerations, and questions based on selected card sequences.


  • Facilitator divides participants into groups of four people.
  • Each group consists of two teams of two people: a project design team and a donor team.
  • Facilitator provides each group with:
  • 12 SDG scenario cards
  • 9 Principles cards


  • The project design team draws an SDG scenario card and the donor team draws a Principles card. Both cards are placed in the center face-up for everyone to see.
  • Following this, each team has five minutes (timed) to prepare for the Q&A round. The project design team prepares ideas for how it might address the Principle as it relates to the SDG
  • scenario card. The donor team identifies two questions to ask about how the project will integrate the Principle.
  • After five minutes of preparation, the Q&A round begins. The donor team asks its two questions and the project design team responds.
  • After the exchange, the teams switch roles and complete the activity again.
  • After both teams have played both roles, facilitator leads a debrief discussion on the activity.

One of the most fun parts of this exercise is to watch teams switch positions, where suddenly the project design team becomes the donor and vice versa. With the positions reversed, donors not only gain a greater appreciation for how implementers respond to SDG and Principles requirements, but also perspective on how these tasks can be made simpler. A high-energy exercise.


Despite our months of user testing leading up to the Dublin workshop, there is still no one “right” way to facilitate a conversation inside or between organizations on the Principles of Digital Development. And we still have a long way to go to empower champions inside of donor and implementing organizations to achieve more as a field.

But having a strong library of activity resources can help set them — and you — up for success.  Much like with our past initiatives with DIAL, we’re hoping that you’ll find these resources valuable enough to consider when pulling together your presentations so that we can continue to improve.

If you do do use these resources, please let us know! Email with details and we’ll do our best to incorporate and share your insights.