Elected Board Retreats

Designing Your Event

Making your retreat a meaningful and memorable experience begins with clearly defining the purpose of the retreat. You should define the results you are seeking and propose specific activities to lead you towards those results.

Potential retreat purposes to be accomplished in a one to two day format are listed below. For ideas about how to achieve and integrate all these purposes over time, link to the School’s Strategic Public Leadership Initiative.

Getting What You Want From Your Retreat
Potential Retreat PurposesIntended Outcome, Result
1. Strategic Planning for Organization
  • Mission, vision and values and broad goals
  • Organizational plan setting priorities for the near future (3-5 years)
2. Initiate Community Visioning Process
  • Shared vision for the future of your community
  • Community vision and priorities for achieving long-term goals (10-20 years)
3. Setting Budget Priorities
  • Determine funding priorities for annual (or capital) budget
4. Developing Policy Priorities
  • Establish priorities for policy development or revision in the coming year
5. Program Review, Evaluation
  • Evaluate effectiveness and/or efficiency of programs and services
6. Working Relationships
  • Establish common expectations for working with others
  • Strengthened abilities to work together as a team

Once you've decided your purpose and that a retreat format best meets your needs, a number of decisions must be made. Who is involved in making these decisions, when they are made, and how much preparation is done beforehand varies by specific circumstances but experience has shown that pre-retreat planning and thought pays off in a more efficient use of participants' time and expertise, smoother and more productive on-site events, and better developed and honed outcomes. A checklist for planning your retreat can provide step-by-step guidance.

Public Officials - Local and State Government Roles