Your board on fire. An inspirational retreat experience that gives every board member a fresh passion for impact and establishes a team culture that can achieve great things.

Building Stronger Nonprofit Boards through Inspiring Retreats

You know your board is capable of so much more. But how to take it there? In just 1-2 days, we can permanently upgrade your board's culture.

Nothing was really "wrong" with our board, and that was kinda the problem. There was just a general lack of energy and enthusiasm to roll up our sleeves and really do great things together, and no one knew how to fix it. Well, Derik did! He spent who-knows-how-many hours speaking individually with each of us before the retreat and designed an agenda that left us inspired, challenged, and crystal clear on the right next steps to a brighter future.
Victoria S.
board chair

Need More Board Engagement?

Let's be honest, being on a nonprofit board is like being part of a quirky, but lovable family. And just like family, some members tend to show up to meetings with their eyes glazed over, mentally checked out, and in dire need of a caffeine infusion. But let's face it, we need all hands on deck if we want to change the world.

So, it's time to break out the pom-poms, the vuvuzelas, or whatever it takes to get everyone aligned and engaged. We need board members who are willing to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and not just show up for the free coffee and stale pastries.

Engaged board members are the superheroes of the nonprofit world. They offer courageous ideas, overcome obstacles, and bring a passion that draws in more supporters. They're like the Avengers of the nonprofit universe, but instead of fighting villains, they're fighting for a better world.

Why Derik Timmerman?

  • Top Rated: America's best board retreat facilitator
  • For-Profit Background: 6+ years as a global McKinsey & Company consultant and facilitator to top executives of Fortune 500 companies
  • Nonprofit Expertise: 20+ years working on staffs and boards of nonprofits of all sizes and causes
  • Board Development: Deep understanding of nonprofit governance to help boards members unleash their unique strengths
  • First-Hand Fundraising: Certified fund raising executive (CFRE) and experienced leader raising $12m+
  • Communication Skills: Facilitates inclusive games and discussions ensuring all are heard and respected
  • People-First Approach: Puts the WHO/WHY before the HOW to create a distinctive board culture

According to a recent study by BoardSource, 68% of nonprofit senior leaders believe that their boards are not as engaged as they should be.

How ItWorks

We have some incredible people on our board--bright, capable, strong leaders in their fields--but we just couldn't seem to get them involved in fundraising. After Derik did his interviews and took us through his process, we were able to address once and for all the root causes of why our board seemed to shy away from talking about money. Still a long way to go, but we're now on the right road thanks to an amazing retreat with Derik.
Sally T.
founder & board chair

Our Approach

The ethos of Sparrow's proprietary approach to board retreats is ownership: your journey, your voices, your solutions. We've all been made to sit through our share of contrived rah-rah sessions when somebody comes in from out-of-the-blue with all the "answers." No thanks! We get your board working as one, then get out of the way.

How to achieve that? Preparation, preparation, preparation. While facilitation is super important, great retreats come down to awesome preparation. Derik will spend time with every member of your leadership team to fully understand what's going great and what's holding you back.

Once Derik has a clear picture of what strengths make you distinctive and what's holding you back from the next level of impact, he'll work with your team to craft an agenda that will foster breakthrough team building and individual board member ownership of practical next steps.

What Can You Expect on Retreat Day?

Flow. Past participants reflecting back on their retreat often say the time flew by. Over the 1-2 days that you're in the retreat, everything will flow from one thing to the next as you accomplish more than you ever thought you could in so short a time.

Energy. You'll be up, moving, sharing, laughing, and having a great time seeing what your team is capable of when it's infused with some fresh new energy. Previous retreat participants have used words like "electricity," "buzz," and "passion" when reflecting on the excitement that takes over when a board finds its mojo.

Results. As fun as these retreats are, make no mistake, everyone will know the stakes are sky-high. Real lives and entire communities are depending on this retreat yielding measurable results, so you can expect an unwavering focus on capturing key takeaways and assigning owners to concrete action items.

According to a study by Stanford Social Innovation Review, only 43% of nonprofit board members believed that their board was effective at setting strategy and direction on their own.

You Have Options

While the sky’s the limit on what we can do with your retreat, we’ve found that most nonprofits get excited about one of three major themes for their agenda.

I'll admit, I was doubtful that an offsite retreat would be worth the time spent. I thought, "Whatever we needed to decide, couldn't it be done in a couple of board meetings or over email?" I couldn't have been more wrong. There's no substitute for getting together face-to-face in a different location and having a good run of hours (and an awesome team dinner!) to work through some big issues. By the end of the retreat, we had a strategy, fundraising plan, individual commitments on next steps, and way more cohesive team spirit than we've ever had before.
Vince H.
board member

Let's Give Your Board the Spark It Needs

Together we can craft the perfect retreat to meet your specific needs at a price you can afford.