6 Important Tips in Planning a Successful Retreat for Your Non-profit Organization.

Is your non-profit organization struggling to get things done? Has it been difficult lately to make progress with the “big picture”? Feel like you don’t even know what the “big picture” is? Maybe it’s high time for you and your team to get away on a retreat.

Retreats allow your employees and volunteers to interact in a more casual manner, which can encourage them to form deeper bonds. When employees are happy and feel comfortable together, they’ll produce greater results. A well-planned retreat could produce greater dividends for your organization than any series of long, boring meetings every could. However, in order for the retreat to be successful, you need a plan:

Develop a Focus
When people think of a retreat, they may envision a religious or spiritual experience, based on what they’ve experienced in the past or what they have seen portrayed in movies. While your retreat may have that type of focus, it doesn’t need to. For example, you may want a retreat that focuses on building the interpersonal relationships at your non-profit organization, or you could plan an organizational retreat that focuses on creativity in the work environment. Either way, when your employees and/or volunteers don’t know what the purpose of the retreat is, they may have hesitation about signing up. Providing a tight focus will help them understand why it’s important for them to be there.

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The Rear Sundeck of The Woods Place

Choose a Soothing Environment
No matter what the focus of your retreat is, this experience isn’t meant to induce stress. Opting for a setting in a natural environment is a good way to help your staff members relax upon arrival. Getting to the retreat spot should not be a path wrought with resistance either. For example, asking your employees or volunteers to purchase plane tickets and fly across the country is a bit much. However, taking a short drive out to the country may be therapeutic for some, especially those who live the constant hustle and bustle of”city” life and rarely take a chance to get away from it all.

Plan Structured Activities
If you have no plan for structured activities, then the goal of the retreat is likely to remain unmet. Decide what the most important points are that you want your team to take away from the retreat. Then, plan a variety of activities for meeting those goals. The activities should vary from one another. For example, you may want to divide your team up into small and large groups for some activities, and you may want to invite guest speakers in for other moments. Make sure to include some icebreaker activities as well.

Great Yellow Room Dinner Setting

2 – 3 conference areas for up 25 persons

Plan Time for Relaxation
Part of the retreat’s purpose is to help your employees and/or volunteers bond with one another. Structured activities are important, but too many of them can cause people to feel as though it is just another day at the office. Plan time for your team to freely explore the grounds and to mingle with one another.

Provide a Guide and Schedule
Just because you have been on retreats in the past does not mean that your employees know what to expect. Print out schedules for them with a list of all the activities. Think about information they will want to know. Are you providing food? Is there a menu for those with food allergies? Are you planning an overnight stay? If so, what are the sleeping arrangments? People like to be prepared, especially if they’re far from home.

Ask for Evaluations
If your employees leave the retreat feeling as though they will never go on another one, you need to know why. Providing them evaluations to fill out after you’ve returned is a good idea. You can see areas where you should improve for next time, and you can gauge how useful your employees thought the retreat was overall.

Planning a retreat for your organization is an exciting way to motivate your organization. In order to maximize the benefits, you want to plan out the experience with a great level of detail and consideration.

Call 410-287-3103 TODAY to reserve The Woods Place for your next retreat.