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Elected Board Retreats

Retreat Planning Checklist

DESIGN YOUR EVENT
Clearly define the purpose of the retreat.
ASSESS YOUR NEEDS
Define objectives for your time together.
Begin to structure agenda time to meet those objectives
Identify needed information: how much, what type, when, and from which sources?
Decide whether this as a one-time event or part of a series of meetings.
Compare benefits to group of using a facilitator or not, and determine whether an outside facilitator is warranted.
Describe what facilitator skills might be best suited for your group, and why.
DECIDE ON PARTICIULARS
Identify the number and type of participants.
Follow procedures for advertising and notice under Open Meetings laws.
Explain and document roles of each participant.
Choose a location for the retreat.
Consider purpose(s) and format for mealtimes.
Outline how results will be conveyed to participants, public.
CHOOSE FACILITATION METHOD
Analyze needs and preferences of group to identify how it could benefit from facilitation assistance.
Compare and contrast benefits, costs, and group preferences for using a staff person to facilitate or whether outside facilitation is desired.
Decide whether you will use no facilitator, an internal facilitator, or an outside facilitator.
Acquire or compile list of possible facilitators matching your criteria.
Contact facilitators regarding their availability, costs, services, philosophical approach and skill set to determine match with your group's needs.
Describe your areas of agreement in a written form, e.g., contract, MOU, Letter of Agreement.
PLAN THE RETREAT
Gather input from participants about issues they'd like to discuss, and outcomes they'd like to achieve.
Identify other key community partners that may be critical to achieving your work and decide whether and how to involve them.
Gather a small subgroup representing diverse opinions, approaches, or perspectives to finalize retreat objectives, topics, and agenda (with facilitator).
Set realistic time frames for each topic or exercise.
Finalize start/end times, location, meal, and accommodation arrangements.
Confirm equipment needs with presenters, facilitator(s), staff, and other.
Make arrangements for equipment and supplies to be on site.
Send out the agenda and any background materials, including directions or a map.
USE THE RESULTS
Commit to follow through as part of your ‘next steps' discussion at the retreat.
Integrate the work at the retreat with the work of your organization, e.g., match goals, strategies, or outcomes with specific departmental work, apply as part of your budget preparation, document expectations in performance evaluations and review processes.
Communicate your work beyond your organization through press releases, newsletters, citizen list serves, or other channels.
Incorporate retreat outcomes into your regular planning cycles, work plans, or work sessions.
Refer to your earlier work as you evaluate the progress of the board, manager, and others.
Public Officials - Local and State Government Roles