team building retreat activityIf you really want to get the most from your retreat, you need to know what the most is.  How will you measure the success of the gathering?  How will you learn what works really well and what can be improved for the future?

I suggest you utilize a tool that the business world has employed for years – ROI – return on investment.  When I was in the corporate meetings industry planners we worked with were tasked with measuring the success of their meetings in order to justify and expand investment in off-site meetings.  ROI because one of the most talked about and challenging aspects of their jobs.  In the retreat world, most planners are not held to the ROI standard and therefore are in a much better position to use it effectively.

ROI used will can be a game changer.  The key is in deciding what to measure.  It is entirely up to your organization what matters most, what brings participants closest to the mission intended by the gathering.  I suggest you take the following steps toward measuring ROI for retreats:

  1. Clearly identify the primary outcome of the gathering – is it to build a cohesive group or help participants come closer to the end goal of your organization such as a relationship with higher powers?  Once the outcome is determined you can ask participants simply yes or no if it worked.
  2. Clearly state the numbers of people you want to attend and list how they found out about and decided to join the retreat.  Social media, bulletins, advertisements, etc…. are examples of letting people know about the retreat.  Deciding factors such as friends attending, influential teachers, scholarship funding, etc….. can measure the success of the recruitment campaign.
  3. Study the retreat schedule and write down what worked and didn’t for each session, meal and gathering.  This should include logistics and content.  How did the presenters do?  Did people seem engaged?

There are many more subtle outcomes that can be added, but for an easy way to begin examining ROI, take a stab at these and see what you learn!

This post was featured in the December Retreat Central e-newsletter

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By Jaynie Schutlz, Co-Founder, Retreat Central
Jaynie Schultz created Garrett Creek Ranch with her mother more than 20 years ago. She served as the founding Director of Sales and Marketing and is involved in many non-profit organizations and leadership development programs.

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