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Take Time to Retreat, Reflect, and Plan

photo of Sheila Bravo

by Sheila Bravo

Recently, I found myself reflecting on the whirlwind pace of our work.  Just a few decades ago, we relied on phone and in-person meetings to deliberate and collaborate, granting us time for reflection, with responses taking hours or even days.  Today it can take seconds. This accelerated pace compresses our timelines, often demanding quick decision-making on substantive actions. Time is a precious commodity for which we seem to not have enough.

As nonprofit leaders, we operate in a world where resources are limited yet demands are as high as ever.  We are expected to deliver top-notch services, adapt to the changing needs of our communities, maintain financial transparency, and demonstrate the impact of our mission.  In the midst of these requirements, finding the time to pause, reflect, and plan strategically can seem like an unattainable luxury.

However, it is precisely in these moments of reflection that our greatest opportunities lie.  Despite the frantic pace, taking a step back to evaluate what is working, what is not, and where new opportunities exist is a necessity in a world that is quickly evolving. Investing in board and staff retreats facilitated by a skilled facilitator is a force multiplier to overcome barriers to progress, cultivate innovation, foster team cohesion, strengthen leadership skills, and spark renewed commitment to the mission and organization.

A proficient retreat facilitator brings invaluable expertise to the table. They can create an atmosphere conducive to open dialogue, ensuring all voices are heard.  By asking the right questions and providing structured activities, this professional can help participants explore creative solutions and strategically align for social impact.  Their impartiality fosters a safe environment where challenging topics can be addressed constructively, enhancing engagement and trust among members.  Additionally, these retreats can offer tailored leadership and board development sessions.  Facilitators impart essential skills, enabling nonprofit boards, executives, and their staff to master new proficiencies. In essence, these facilitated retreats can be transformative experiences that lift up and inspire a team, board, and leader.

Prioritizing moments of introspection and strategic planning is not just an investment, but a lifeline for an organization.  Dedicated focused time to look up and look out, to ask the important questions, and to collaborate effectively, empowers us to make decisions that will shape the future of our impactful work.

At DANA, the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, we have gathered expert retreat facilitators with deep experience in leading boards and teams to achieve game-changing plans.  Their knowledge in nonprofit governance, strategic planning, fund development, advocacy, leadership, and operations has helped many Delaware nonprofits cultivate new pathways to success.  Visit to learn more.