Last updated: 4th October, 2023
- 1. What are retreats?
- 2. Step-by-step guide to running a retreat
- (i) Initial preparation (~4 hours over 1-2 weeks)
- (ii) Getting applications (~8 hours over 2-4 weeks)
- (iii) After finalising your guest list (~14 hours)
- (iv) Final preparation (~5 hours)
- (v) Day before
- 3. Further resources folder
- 4. Other helpful guides
1. What are retreats?
Retreats involve community members gathering for two or more days, usually out of the city, and usually have group bonding as one of the key goals. Retreats are run by a variety of groups, including university groups, city groups, and national groups.
Retreats fall into a continuum from:
- These are more intense trips where participants learn or work on projects together. Activities are planned and usually scheduled in advance by participants and organisers.
- Casual retreats
- The goal is to have fun and bond with others.
Activities can include social activities, talks, career planning, intensive workshops, and working on projects. Group retreats have ranged in size from less than 10 people (core members of a group only) to over 50 people.
You can view our common group expenses guidelines to see a guideline on how much we can potentially fund your group to spend on per person for a retreat, which you can adjust downwards if your group is not in a high-income / high cost-of-living country.
2. Step-by-step guide to running a retreat
The following videos and steps were created by the Global Challenges Library. You can make a copy of their checklist here.
(i) Initial preparation (~4 hours over 1-2 weeks)
Pick dates for the Summit (~2 hours)
- We recommend a 3 night Summit as a good default
- You may want/need to find out the dates your most desired attendees are available for
Secure a venue and catering if you deem it necessary and can afford it (~2 hours)
- Try https://www.groupaccommodation.com/ for UK venues
(ii) Getting applications (~8 hours over 2-4 weeks)
Create a form/website to receive applications for your Summit (~2 hours)
(iii) After finalising your guest list (~14 hours)
Secure transport to and from the venue (~2 hours)
- For the UK we recommend using https://www.coachhirecomparison.co.uk/
Compile your programme for the Summit (~8 hours)
Send important event info to your confirmed guests (~2 hours)
Confirm final details with the venue (~2 hours)
(iv) Final preparation (~5 hours)
Order supplies for your Summit (~2 hours)
Create feedback forms for the Summit (~2 hours)
Send a final reminder email to participants (~1 hour)
(v) Day before
3. Further resources folder
This Google Drive Folder has templates and useful resources. Feel free to make copies for your own use!
4. Other helpful guides
You might also find these resources useful:
- Advice about Community Health at Retreats by CEA's Community Health team
- We Ran a "Next Steps" Retreat for Intro Fellows by Akash Wasil
- Tips + Resources for Getting Long-Term Value from Retreats/Conferences (and in general) by Kuhan Jeyapragrasan
- Yale EA's Retreat Handover document
- CZEA’s 2018 retreat review
- London’s 2018 retreat review