Planning a Nonprofit Retreat on a Budget
It's fair to say employees of nonprofit organizations stretch themselves to the limit more than average, because they believe fiercely in the work they're doing and are striving to make a difference. While the work in a nonprofit organization can be extremely rewarding, everybody deserves to take a break occasionally.
As a closely-knit group, you might want to consider taking an office retreat. Doing so will help recharge everyone's batteries, while strengthening the bonds between people who do the extraordinary every day. But how is it possible to foot such a heavy bill when money is already tight?
It's not always easy to see how this can be done without breaking the bank. That's why we put together a few tips for small nonprofit organizations to massage the budget in order to afford a necessary recharge.
1. Think You Cut All Unnecessary Items out of the Budget? Look Again!
If there's one thing to learn about budgets, it's that they can always be trimmed. Take a good long look at the budget and really scrutinize what you're spending on. Ask yourself, "Do we really need that?"
Most of the time, you can cut things like office cable TV, radio subscriptions and other subscription services. Even when those unnecessary things are cut out of the budget, there are always ways to trim your spending for a particular item. For example, you can save on electrical costs by turning off lights in rooms that no one is using and shutting down your computers overnight.
Scrutinizing the budget aggressively might make you realize how hard it is to let go of things. Still, it's one of the easiest and quickest ways to come upon some extra cash that you can put toward an office retreat!
2. Bargain Shop
If you look hard enough, there are always ways to save money on the trip itself. If you're going to do an overnight trip, make sure you're vigilant about looking for hotel deals. There are lots of great tools to find a hotel at the best price.
If you're going to an event or a place that requires admission tickets, be sure to check online for coupons and specials that run throughout the year. The difference between the trip being too expensive and being affordable may simply be the timeframe in which it's booked.
Nonprofits are masters at fundraising for their cause, but sometimes it's easy to forget that fundraising is a great way to raise money for something your employees need, too! As you already know, there's a litany of fundraisers out there that offer varying degrees of profit sharing.
When selecting a fundraiser for your retreat, just make sure the fundraiser you select is practical for your trip. No two fundraisers are alike, so it's important to weigh your options that will yield the funds needed for the trip in the right amount of time.
4. Use the Credit Card
The credit card should definitely be more of a "last resort" solution, but using one can be an easy way to close the gap if you don't have quite enough money to take the office on a retreat.
An additional benefit of using a credit card is the timing of payment. If your organization is strapped for cash one month, using the credit card allows you to pay for part or all of the retreat next month or over time via monthly installments.
Make sure you're aware of the interest charges for your selected credit card. Racking up charges for big-ticket expenses can get pricey, and an office retreat could end up costing your organization way more over time if you opt to pay over monthly credit card payments.
5. Think of It as an Investment
It can be really easy to get caught up in the numbers of affording an office retreat and not focus on the investment you're making in taking one.
Retreats help strengthen the bonds of the people within the organization, recharge the batteries of everyone that puts their blood, sweat and tears into their work, and is an opportunity to refresh the vision and mission of the nonprofit to get everyone back on the same page.
Providing this opportunity for everyone may very well result in higher productivity, better attitudes and a more successful nonprofit overall. Treating your retreat as an investment might help you feel more comfortable about letting go of the money needed to make it happen.
Take the Trip
Going on a retreat is not out of reach for even the smallest of nonprofits. It just requires some budget shifting, bargain shopping and maybe a mindset rework. Once you're able to set a goal for how much money you need, create a clear path and stick to it in order to provide an unforgettable experience for your nonprofit's employees and renew the passion of their work.
Kayla Matthews writes about AI, the cloud and retail technology. You can also find her work on The Week, WIRED, Digital Trends, MarketingDive and Contently, or check out her personal tech blog.