Note: not all board retreats are able to be facilitated on a beach in the San Juan Islands like the board retreat pictured above. Most are in people’s homes, offices, or in hotel conference rooms which are, sadly, not this photogenic. 😉
Erik got my board to think critically about what kind of fundraising activities we should be investing our time and energy in. He helped them get clear on areas to focus on, and informed our fundraising activities and budget for the coming year.—Krystal Kyer, Executive Director, Tahoma Audubon Society
I cannot thank you enough for all you did to move us forward. EVERYONE loved the retreat!!!!!! They left feeling exhilarated and very positive. You are a true gift to us and I am extremely grateful for your patience and expertise. You are amazing!!!—Marjorie Swig, Executive Director, Greenlight Clinic, San Francisco, California
Erik helped the board and staff clarify our new roles within the organization and then led an afternoon session to help us define our vision for the future and determine what paths to follow to arrive at that destination. We were impressed by Erik’s fluency in organizational structures, and the potential difficulties within, and his sensitivity to the issues specific to environmental non-profits. He is passionate and is good at sharing information.—J. Andrew Stewart, Past President, Friends of the Anacortes Community Forestlands
Does your board need a retreat facilitated? A training on governance or fundraising? I’m here to help make your board as strong as it can be so it can get back to doing the truly difficult work—serving your community.
Over the years, I’ve facilitated several board retreats, led workshops and trainings, and helped boards on a variety of topics around the country.
The process I use is tailored to each nonprofit I work with, but here’s a sample process of how I would work with a board during a half-day board retreat.
Before the meeting
I first meet with the Executive Committee or Governance Committee to get to know the organization. I also ask for as many documents as they can send, such as budget, planning, meeting minutes, bylaws, board member bios, or anything else the committee feels is worth sending. We then discuss our goals: is this a training to build skills (like fundraising)? Is this a facilitated discussion to help bridge a major divide within the board? Does the board need help turning a nebulous idea about the future into an actionable strategic plan? This can be done in person or via a conference call.
From there, I propose an agenda for the retreat that reflects the needs we’re trying to address.
At the meeting
I will show up early to help set up and to meet board members as they arrive. We get the day started and how things go depends on the needs of the group. If I’m facilitating a discussion about a contentious topic, we’ll start with some ways to handle conflict and then I’ll lead a discussion so that everyone can share their feelings and thoughts about the issue before we start looking for commonality and resolution.
If it’s a training, we may balance the day with an educational component, a discussion, and a role playing game (if we’re teaching fundraising, for example).
After the meeting
After the meeting, I will send a report. Sometimes this can be a list of ideas captured during a brainstorming session, a framework for filling out a strategic plan, or it could be a set of recommendations for moving forward.
Fees for this kind of board work are subject to the specifics of the nonprofit and the need for travel time. Generally speaking, however, this is a starting point:
Daily fee: $1,500/workday, $500/travel day plus travel expenses (flight and hotel).
For example, a retreat that required one overnight and a flight (I’m based out of Sea-Tac Airport) would cost $2,000 ($1,500 for the workday and $500 for the travel day) plus travel expenses. A retreat with two work days and a travel day would cost $3,500 ($3,000 for the workdays and $500 for the travel day).
Note: these are all starting places, and the specifics will depend on my calendar and your needs, so don’t hesitate at all to email me if you have additional questions about process or fees.
I look forward to working with your nonprofit!