How to Plan an Amazing Nonprofit Board Retreat

A well-planned nonprofit board retreat can be a real game-changer. Wouldn’t it be amazing if your board retreat gave your board members—and your staff—a glowing feeling, and also provided everyone with real plans for the next year that will make real advances for your organization?

It’s not as hard as you might think.

It does take thoughtfulness and setting a clear goal. The retreat should not be what you do every year, but, rather, what you do when you have something specific to accomplish. Your plan should take into account where to hold the retreat, and who should be there. You must consider who will lead the retreat, and what kinds of activities will work both for what you want to accomplish and for the culture of your organization.

You also need to be thinking beyond the retreat. That means you consider what you are doing when the retreat is over to ensure that you end up with something more effective than simply a sense of contentment and a fond remembrance of a good time.

In this ebook, we are going to help you plan for an amazing nonprofit board retreat and provide you with a roadmap to ensure your success.

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– A Sneak Peak Into “How to Plan an Amazing Nonprofit Board Retreat”

Take an Inside Look at the Chapters of This eBook:

Chapter 1: Introduction

For many nonprofits, the annual nonprofit board retreat is a ritual. It is something expected, normal, just one of the things they do. Each year, the board gathers for 4-8 hours—sometimes longer–either at their regular board meeting spot or in an “off-site.”

Sometimes, it is a great and wonderful bonding exercise, and everyone leaves feeling energized. Sometimes, it is…

Chapter 2: Why are we having a board retreat?

Abig part of my consulting practice is facilitating board retreats. And after more than a dozen years as a consultant, I have seen it all, from retreats where I get zero direction from leadership (and then they get the retreat I think they need) to ones where I get calls daily, telling me what I need to say at what point. Usually, it is somewhere…

Chapter 3: Developing a budget

Budgets are often touchy issues. Especially when they are for activities such as a retreat. But you can’t realistically plan your retreat unless you have an understanding of how much you can spend.

Beyond that, budgets actually force you to set some goals—always important— and do planning.

And since we are planning a nonprofit board retreat, what could be more appropriate? But what…

Chapter 4: Place matters

One year, I let my board convince me that instead of going “off-site” we should save money and have our retreat in the same room where we held our board meetings. There was nothing wrong with the room— and I have facilitated many successful retreats in similar settings—but there was a little bit of magic missing. Having your retreat “elsewhere” makes it…

Chapter 5: The attendees

T his seems like a well—“duh”–topic. We’re having a board retreat. Therefore, the board will be the attendees. And, often, that is precisely right. But, typically although the CEO may not (should not, in my opinion) be a member of the board, he or she will most likely attend.

They bring a vision to the organization that is…

Chapter 6: Leading the charge

Who facilitates the board retreat? Here I am going to confess to a vested interest. Much of my consulting practice is running board retreats. This is often providing a training (generally, but not always, about fundraising). It can be to facilitate important discussions and help the board move forward on a variety of issues. Frequently, it is…

Chapter 7: What we are doing

And here we are—you already know the purpose of the retreat: why you are having it, what you hope to get out of it. But what you probably aren’t clear on is how to get from here to there. This is often the most important part of my retreat facilitations. The agenda is more than simply a…

Chapter 8: After the retreat

T here are two things many nonprofits do that cause me great consternation. The first is when, after a big fundraising event, the development team (even if that is only one person) takes a vacation, and as a result doesn’t get to timely follow up. It squanders all the good vibes that the event generated. Likewise, I get dismayed when…

Conclusion

Planning your nonprofit board retreat is not something to take on lightly. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time to plan your board retreat. On the plus side, it is time well spent.

A retreat is an excellent time to consider your organization in a new light. Or from a different angle…

 

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