nonprofit staff retreat ideas

You want to inspire the people you rely on every day in your organization. You have a vision, and you’ve let your whole organization know about it, but how do you really inspire them? In scenarios like this, team bonding exercise can help, but knowing where to start can seem challenging.

One answer is to do a retreat. There are a plethora of nonprofit staff retreat ideas for you to consider. Nevertheless, as the executive director, how do you make sure the retreat is an uplifting, productive experience for everyone?

To give you some inspiration, we’ve put together this list of nonprofit staff retreat ideas and tips to keep in mind when planning your next event.

Nonprofit Staff Retreat Ideas & Tips

  • It’s all about them: The first thing you need to know is that the retreat is not about you and your priorities, but about the participants. You need to make sure you get input from everyone who will attend. How would they evaluate whether the retreat is a success for them? As you seek their input, you’ll not only be able to tailor the retreat toward their needs, but they will be more committed.
  • Get an honest facilitator: This should be someone who is good at listening and relating to people. Your facilitator should also be far enough outside your circle so as to be completely objective and honest with you. That way, you can be sure to get an accurate reading of how people respond to the retreat.
  • Develop a purpose: Work with your facilitator and board members to analyze the input you get from the participants about what they feel needs to happen. Find trends and then develop a goal to reflect those.
  • Make a plan: Once you have a clear purpose in mind, define what you’ll do to get there. Each activity and event should in some way build toward the overarching goal.
  • Location: Make sure that you get out of the office. If possible, spoil the participants a little. It never hurt staff loyalty to invest a little in making them comfortable.
  • Avoid overscheduling: Yes, you have goals to accomplish while on the retreat. But that does not mean you need to rush toward them at a breakneck pace. This is a retreat, a chance for people to reflect and study things out. Give attendees space to do this, and focus on quality rather than quantity.
  • Make it real: Avoid trite, overdone terms like “icebreaker” or “trust exercises.” Make it real. Get everyone involved in the retreat in genuine ways. Also, make it relevant. Get people thinking about what you do as a nonprofit and about the clients you work with.
  • Analyze: As soon as possible, debrief after the retreat. Have your facilitator present the data he or she collected. Then measure progress on your goals and plan out how you’ll perpetuate and build on the results in the future.

The main goal is to make sure that the participants are infused with a passion for your organization’s mission. Your success is dependent on how well you plan and on how well you involve those who attend.

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