Pick the Right Topic for Your Board Retreat

It’s time to start thinking about your annual board retreat, getting your leaders together and sharing some quality time. Do you have a topic for this year’s retreat — one that’s fresh and vital to your organization? Here are five suggestions for a subject likely to prompt meaningful discussion.

  1. Reaching a younger donor base. Is your not-for-profit doing all it can to add younger supporters to the fold, a move that will help ensure the sustainability of your organization? Explore what fundraising techniques and recruiting methods work best with younger individuals. Also, evaluate your social media program.
  2. Risk management. What are the biggest risks facing your organization? Are they associated with your donor base, endowments, financial investments, volunteers or something else? Pinpoint your risks and determine whether they’re being properly monitored by particular individuals in the organization.
  3. Program evaluation. With many nonprofits recovering from big fluctuations in fundraising, public funding and the need for services, it may be time to take a hard look at your programs. Which programs should be created, grown or discontinued? How can you benchmark program performance and evaluate the results?
  4. Financial reporting. What financial information about the organization would your board members like to see that they don’t currently receive? How would they use that information? Consider including a session on how to read your financial statements.
  5. Employee morale. What can the board do to make a difference? Consider salary and benefits as well as “fringe benefits,” such as remote employment, a casual dress code or other perks. Also factor in promotions and the path to management positions, as well as providing employees with meaningful work commensurate with their experience.

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