Strong organizations are governed by outstanding leaders. Fueled with passion, experience, and commitment, the board members of non-profit organizations play vital roles in the direction, management and impact of these groups.
The strength of this leadership…and engagement…isn’t always immediately felt upon creating the board or recruiting the new board member. As with many great things, the strength of the board is developed over time, through active involvement, and organizational understanding. One proven method to mature leadership and, at the same time, create organizational opportunity is by conducting annual board retreats.
Board retreats are integral to each organization’s success, whether it’s a house corporation, educational foundation, scholarship advisory board, etc.. Retreats present opportunities to plan for the future by blending the vast amount of leadership, experience, skills, and ideas of the board’s members. As a result, organizations operate more smoothly, where board members are more connected, and the interpersonal relationships of board and staff are strong.
Retreats serve as great “starts” or re-freshers for both organizations and their leaders. The most successful retreats…those which set the stage for future success…follow four key steps.
- Planning – defining the purpose; planning meetings; self-assessment; presentation materials
- Engagement – clear agenda; board “buy in”; interactive and fun
- Strategy – creating goals and action steps; measurable results
- Follow-Through – developed through committee meetings; regular evaluations; presented/reviewed at board meetings
A successful retreat hinges on the work of a well-focused team, an interested and skilled facilitator, and a proactive agenda. Its success relies on the “buy in” and active involvement of its board members. This enables the board to openly challenge assumptions, address issues, foster interpersonal relationships, improve productivity, understand and clearly represent the mission/message, and develop strategies.
Have you scheduled your next board retreat? Whether it’s to address your organization’s board development, mission/vision, messaging/public relations, fund development, and/or strategic planning, now is the time to invest in your non-profit’s future.