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People attending a First Things First board retreat




It's Your Day. 

Let's Make it Epic! 

Board Development Retreats

That Educate, Entertain, Inspire, Transform!

99% of Clients say Tom Exceeded Expectations

Tom Iselin - "Get it Done Retreat" Testimonials
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"Super Practical!"
Engaging. Unifying. Fun!

"Vastly Exceeded Our Expectations!"
"A Diamond to Take You to the Next Level!"

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Tired of "Canned"
Board Retreats? 
Who Isn't! 

Looking for a
one-of-a-kind retreat
You'll Love? You found it!

Expect the Best:
Lasting Impact

Board members at a board retreat

Why Tom Iselin?

  • Top Rated! - One of America's best and most popular board retreat and strategic planning facilitators

  • Winner: Idaho's Social Entrepreneur of the Year

  • Founded or helped build 8 notable nonprofits

  • Sits on 3 boards, author of 6 books

  • Helped raise hundreds of millions for his clients

  • Speaks to 5,000 nonprofit leaders a year

  • Has been deep in the muddiest trenches and knows what it takes to build thriving nonprofits in competitive environments with limited resources

  • Helped more than 350 organizations like yours achieve their dreams by facilitating fun, powerful, and meaningful retreats

  • Passionate about helping leaders build gold standard nonprofits by doing what's right, not what's convenient or easy

Tom Iselin - Best Board Retreat Facilitator - ADL2
Tom Iselin - Best Board Retreat Facilitator - TEAM

Culture Wins!

Want High-Performance

Board Members?

“I sure wish they’d get more involved!” You’ve probably muttered these words if you have board members who blow off meetings, fail to volunteer or join a committee, shun from raising money, know little about the work you do, make token financial gifts, drive personal agendas, and yet have the nerve to boast to their friends about how “honored” they are to be on your board.


It’s enough to make you scream. Most board members join boards because they say they believe in the mission and want to make a difference. It’s a noble intention, but more than 90 percent of executive directors will tell you that the majority of their board members could be much more engaged and it’s like pulling teeth to get others to do anything.


Why are some boards so vibrant and productive while others are so listless and under-engaged? The difference is culture. One has a clear sense of authentic passion and purpose. They walk the talk. The other is a lip-service passion board, all talk and little or no action. The essence of a Get it Done! retreat is helping your board build a culture grounded in engagement, performance, knowledge and impact . . . authentic passion!

Fact: Less than 1 percent of boards have a defined culture! More than 90 percent of executives feel their boards are under-engaged or disengaged in the work of their boards. However, research shows engaged boards raise more money, have less drama and more fun, build longer lasting organizations, and have healthier relationships with their executives.

Get it Done!


Head, Heart, Hands

Get it Done! creates culture coherence and an ethos that unifies the board and propels everyone’s commitment for living out their purpose and delivering on their obligations, and in the process, propels your organization’s worthy mission.  

At its core, the Get it Done! approach helps boards grapple with their souls by addressing the fundamental question: “What should it mean to be part of this board?” Does it mean it’s okay to shirk responsibilities and commitment? Or, does it mean that members should eagerly roll up their sleeves and willingly contribute their time, skills, experience, and influence to fulfill the mission they say they care so much about?


The Get it Done! approach isn't some theoretical management tool brewed in a university think tank. It’s rooted in gritty, in-the-field experience and testing, and its processes have been continually refined over the last 20 years. Thousands of charities and foundations on 6 continents have gone through the Get it Done! culture-building process to increase their board's effectiveness to make a difference by what they say, what they do, and how they behave.

Values and Culture

3,152 charities and foundations on 6 continents have gone through the Get it Done! culture-building process to increase their board's effectiveness to make a difference by what they say, what they do, and how they behave.


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To change or evolve board culture, board members need to understand what culture is, why it’s important, and how it can benefit them; and they must be intentional about changing it.


The Get it Done! retreat kicks off with board members working through a series of thought-provoking small group exercises to discuss these questions and culture-related topics in order to develop a "mindful" and clear perspective of the importance of culture and the positive impact it can have on a board.


Heart emoji

Nearly every board member says they’re “passionate” about their mission. But when you peel back the onion, many members make big promises they fail to keep. What you’re left with is lip-service passion—all talk and no action.


Once the board establishes a culture mindset (head), board members work through a series of powerful and emotional exercises that align their hearts with hearts of "authentic passion," hearts committed to action and accountability . . . hearts committed to fulfilling your mission, not just talking about it.


A board can define a culture and say they’re passionate about fulfilling the mission, but nothing will improve board effectiveness, until work gets done.


During the last phase of the retreat, board members go through a number of thoughtful, practical, and fun exercises that address roles, governance, fundraising, storytelling, institutional knowledge, and a comprehensive engagement exercise on specific ways they can contribute to the board, fundraising, and the organization. It's a high-impact way to end the retreat!

Hand emoji

Result: The Get it Done! board development and training retreat will be the best retreat you've ever experienced and evolve your board culture to one centered on authentic passion, work, and intentional commitment that increases board engagement, performance, and impact . . . one they can lean into, not turn away from, when they hit a snag or face a challenge. 

What You Can Expect

on Retreat Day

People say the day "flies by!" From the minute the retreat starts, you'll be swept up in fun team-building exercises and thought-provoking small group discussions that allow board members to address challenges and create solutions with peers.


​​Tom keeps the rhythm of the day upbeat with his enthusiasm, wit, and compelling in-the-trenches experience and storytelling that engages board members to listen attentively and participate with zeal. And yes, there are plenty of relaxing breaks.

Oh, but there's work! Board members discuss issues surrounding board culture in order to deepen their engagement, performance, and impact. Members grapple with issues of involvement, fundraising, accountability, governance, on-boarding, term limits, succession planning, institutional knowledge, and so much more.

Board members leave feeling inspired. They leave with a unifying culture (a culture statement). They leave motivated and committed to roll up their sleeves and take bold action to do the work required to fulfill your mission--not just talk about it.


They also take home dozens of key strategies, governing principles, and practical tactics to engage board members, raise money, improve morale, and increase impact.  Bring a smile and a belly full of energy because it will be a great day!

Tom Iselin - Best Board Retreat Facilitator - HP

Note: Get it Done! board cultures are rooted in work and commitment. They live and breathe engagement and impact. They're productive, responsive, resilient, adaptive, innovative, and successful cultures -- They're "Get it Done!" cultures.

Tom Iselin - Best Board Retreat Facilitator - IBM


  • A unifying culture (a board ethos), that increases engagement, productivity, and impact

  • Improved culture of teamwork and collaboration

  • Direction and a process for board members to live out their purpose and deliver on their obligations and commitments

  • A powerful and fun day that creates a shared vision and clarity of purpose

  • A system of accountability for the collective work required to achieve success

  • Cleaned up board baggage that's been lurking in the background

  • Transformed board culture into a “Get it Done!” “Do Something!” “I’m in!” board

  • Renewed spirit to propel your organization’s noble and worthy mission

  • A process of incremental change that won't overwhelm board members


Evolve Your Culture. Have Fun in the Process!

The Details


Note: You can customize this retreat to include various "modules" (see below) based on your interests and needs.​

  • Fees

    • Fees are scaled and based on special requests, module choices, number of days/hours, size of operating budget

    • Call for details and a quote

  • Supplemental Module Choices (Based on client's interests and needs)

    • Best practice board governance

    • Roles and responsibilities

    • Board accountability

    • Fundraising tactics every board member can do

    • Storytelling for board members

    • Hiring your next executive director superhero

    • Building a healthy executive-board relationship

    • Succession planning for executives and board members

  • Pre-retreat

    • Conduct a comprehensive organizational assessment and survey (confidential, online)

    • Review select governance, corporate, compliance, and policy documents

    • Review board, staff, and organizational culture

    • Review select fundraising strategies, tactics, and performance metrics

    • Review key donor segments, income channels, donor landscape

    • Review board involvement and fundraising culture

    • Review select marketing collateral and activities

    • Review mission, vision, and values statements

    • Review efficiency and effectiveness of gala and salon events

    • Review grant writing ROI

    • Interviews with key board members and staff

    • Review financials and budgets

    • Conduct focus groups or round table discussions with stakeholders/beneficiaries (if required)

    • Conduct environmental scan and/or competitive analysis (if required)

    • Conduct site visit (if required)

    • Selected reading from 1 or 2 of Tom's books

  • ​Style

    • This retreat is high-energy, engaging, fun, practical, and memorable. Tom provides an interactive environment where attendees deepen what they are learning by working in small groups to foster thoughtful, peer-to-peer discussion, collaboration, and team unity.

  • Books

    • Tom is a bestselling author. Each attendee will receive 1 or 2 of Tom’s latest books:

      • First Things First: A Leadership Guide to Building a Gold Standard Nonprofit (228pp)

      • Cloudburst: A Rainmaker’s Guide to Fearless Fundraising and Exceptional Donor Stewardship (186pp)

  • Retreat Day

    • 5-7 hours depending on module choices

    • Typically: 8:30am – 2:30pm or 3pm

    • Attendees: Board and select executive staff

    • Continental breakfast, lunch, and plenty of breaks

    • Attendees receive a 16-page retreat workbook to do group work, take notes, and use for future reference

    • Lots of small group work to discuss issues and facilitate peer-to-peer collaborative discussion

    • Fun, team-building exercises to lighten up the day and deepen relationships between attendees

    • Key insights, advice, and compelling applicable stories based on Tom’s experience and expertise

  • Outcomes

    • A unified board culture

    • Higher levels of engagement, action, impact, and accountability (individually and collectively)

    • A clearly defined board culture statement that can be shared with board, staff, and the community to inspire a renewed sense of commitment to fulfilling the mission

    • A process for board accountability

    • Tactics for addressing various types of under-engagement

    • Board members work through 25 detailed small group exercises. Each is customized based on the results from the online assessment to specifically target competencies to improve board teamwork and improve board governance, involvement, fundraising, and institutional knowledge

    • A process for bringing on and retaining high-quality board members

    • Complete an exercise that shows board members what key information they should know that will help them be more informed ambassadors and better communicators of the organization

    • Board members complete a detailed engagement form that will provide the organization (and committees) with dozens of ways that board members can deepen their engagement with the board and the work of the organization based on their expertise and interests

    • Members write personal “authentic passion” statements that they commit to fulfilling by an established date

    • A list of activities the board is willing to do outside the boardroom to deepen personal relationships among board members and staff

    • Work through a process that takes board member roles and responsibilities to a deeper level, addressing: participation requirements, diversity, accountability, evaluation, and financial support

    • An exercise to help the board determine the composition of the board as it relates to broad fundraising skill sets and interests: champions, connectors, closers, hosts, supporters, etc.

    • A storytelling exercise to improve the quality of board member’s personal stories relating to the organization

    • Tactics on how all board members can learn to become “philanthropic concierges” to greatly improve the giving capacity of the organization and the brand of the board

    • Tactics for improving the board’s role in fundraising cultivation and stewardship

    • An accountability process to manage the outcomes of the retreat

    • Supply high-quality templates of corporate/governance documents or process documents the organization may be lacking

    • And much more!

  • On-going Support (30 days)

    • Guidance, advice, and support services to ensure retreat takeaways are implemented and managed

    • Phone call and email support

    • Zoom video meetings

Tom Iselin - Best Board Retreat Facilitator - SAHARA


“Great Energy! Fun Activities! Powerful Content! Tom's retreat got us thinking about what's really important, and inspired us to make changes we were reluctant to make. Amazing!"

– Laura Beyer

“Tom is the best! His 'Get it Done!' retreat was the shot of adrenaline our Board needed to change our culture and create a sense of urgency and purpose around FULFILLING our mission! It was high energy and high impact.”   

– Robert Santana


Evolve Your Culture. Have Fun in the Process!