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The first quarter of your fiscal year is the best time to host a board retreat. For many organizations that quarter coincides with the calendar year.

Why have a board retreat? This is a valid question. There must be a purpose for the retreat. Here are a few questions that could be addressed at your next retreat.

  • What are the important issues that need to be discussed at the board level?
  • Is it time to revisit the mission, vision, and values of the organization?
  • Is your organization actively involved in addressing equity, inclusion, and diversity?
  • Does your organization have a living strategic plan for the next three years?
  • What is the operational plan for the next twelve months?

The next most important piece of a successful retreat is the facilitator. This is not a DIY position for the staff or board.

Invest in someone with a track record. Include it in your budget. Investing in a facilitator demonstrates to all involved the importance of this event. An outsider brings an impartial point of view to the board. They can ask the hard questions because, unlike board members and staff, they are not invested in the organization.

For the foreseeable future, gatherings of any size will be virtual, so expenses for accommodations, travel, and meals need not be considered. However, while planning for your virtual board retreat, make sure ahead of time that your internet connections and devices can handle an extended meeting.

Keep it simple. You’re not going to resolve all your challenges in one meeting. Make the retreat as interactive as possible. Have breakout groups with real problems to solve. Make time for discussion. Get inspirational. Help everyone realize how important they are to the organization.

End the retreat with something accomplished, even if that means more work to do through the year. And remember, the best time to plan your next board retreat is right after your last one.

Best Wishes for a Better New Year!

At DMGroupConsulting, our goal is to help you achieve your goals. Contact us at