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7 Tips to Finding "The Best Board Retreat Facilitator/Trainer Near Me."

Updated: Apr 23

a nonprofit board in the middle of a board retreat

Get the Most out of Your Board Retreats and Trainings (development)


Board Retreats and Board Training (development) are essential for nonprofits, offering a valuable opportunity for board members and staff to regroup, strategize, and bond.

However, the success of these retreats often hinges on the facilitator who leads them.


Choosing the right facilitator can make the difference between a transformative experience and a wasted opportunity. Here are seven crucial considerations every CEO or Board Chair of a nonprofit should consider when seeking to hire best retreat facilitator for their organization.


1. Experience and Expertise

Look for a facilitator with a proven track record in facilitating nonprofit retreats. Experience matters, especially in understanding the unique dynamics and challenges of nonprofit organizations. A facilitator who has worked extensively with nonprofits will bring insights and strategies tailored to your sector. Additionally, expertise in group dynamics, conflict resolution, and strategic planning are indispensable qualities to seek.


2. Alignment with Organizational Values

Ensure the facilitator's values align with those of your organization. A facilitator who resonates with your mission and vision will better understand your goals and foster an environment conducive to achieving them. This alignment creates a sense of authenticity and rapport, facilitating more meaningful discussions and outcomes during the retreat.


3. Customization and Flexibility

Every nonprofit is different, facing its own set of challenges and objectives. Seek a facilitator who is willing to customize their approach to suit your organization's specific needs. Flexibility is key, as the facilitator should adapt their methods based on the dynamics of the group and the goals of the retreat. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely yields optimal results in the nonprofit sector.


4. References and Testimonials

Don't hesitate to ask for references and testimonials from past clients. Hearing about others' experiences with a facilitator can provide valuable insights into their strengths, weaknesses, and working style. Look for testimonials that speak to the facilitator's ability to foster collaboration, facilitate productive discussions, and drive tangible outcomes.



5. Comprehensive Preparation

A successful retreat requires thorough preparation. Ensure the facilitator has a structured process for planning and preparing for the retreat, including pre-retreat assessments, interviews, and agenda development. Clear communication about expectations, objectives, and logistics is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page and maximize the retreat's effectiveness.


6. Interactive and Engaging Facilitation

Effective facilitation goes beyond simply leading discussions—it involves creating an interactive and engaging environment that encourages participation and collaboration. Look for a facilitator who employs a variety of techniques, such as group activities, brainstorming sessions, and reflective exercises, to keep participants actively involved and invested in the process.


7. Post-Retreat Support and Follow-Up

The impact of a retreat should extend beyond its duration. A facilitator who offers post-retreat support and follow-up can help ensure that the momentum generated during the retreat is sustained and translated into actionable outcomes. Whether it's providing resources, facilitating follow-up meetings, or offering coaching and guidance, ongoing support is vital for turning retreat insights into tangible results.



Selecting the right retreat facilitator near you is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your nonprofit's retreat. By considering factors such as experience, alignment with organizational values, customization, references, preparation, facilitation style, and post-retreat support, CEOs and Board Chairs can make informed choices that lead to transformative retreat experiences and meaningful outcomes for their organizations.


So, take the time to research, ask questions, and choose wisely—the success of your retreat depends on it. Oh, and never forget . . . the best board retreat facilitator and the best trainer just might NOT live near you. Be open to hiring a facilitator outside your region because they may be better and cost less!

Tom Iselin has built nine sector-leading nonprofits. He’s written six books, sits on three boards, and hosts a video blog and podcast. Each year, Tom speaks to more than 5,000 nonprofit leaders at conferences across the country. He is considered America's best and most popular board retreat and strategic planning facilitator and is a leading authority on high-performance nonprofits, and his impact on the industry has been featured on CNN, Nightline, and in Newsweek.

If you’re in the hunt for the best board retreat/board development facilitation, or the best strategic planning facilitation, it would be a privilege to learn more about your organization and the aspirations you hope to achieve as you work to propel your noble mission. Jot me an email to set up a meet-and-greet call.

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Looking for answers?

I’m here to help. Contact me . . ., or 858.888.2278


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