Board Retreat Packages


Transform your board by creating a focused, meaningful, and enjoyable board retreat experience.

Our board retreat packages are grab-and-go training and consulting experiences for nonprofit boards who want to grow stronger and serve more effectively. Retreats can be a powerful way to help clarify organizational vision, address complex issues, and energize your board. With collaborative planning, a steady focus on the desired outcomes, skillful facilitation, and the willingness to hold people accountable, you can transform your board retreat from a necessary evil to the event of the season! Contact Elle Benson at (865) 313-2077 or to get started.


Starting at $450 Member, $750 Non-Member
Includes one hour of prep and a two-hour presentation. If there's a topic you wish to go deeper on, we can work with you to develop a scope of work for that individual project.



Governance is the process of providing strategic leadership to a nonprofit organization, and it is the primary responsibility of the board. Governance involves delineation of board/staff responsibilities, financial management, policy-making, reviewing procedures, accountability, risk management, and executive director evaluation. Effective governance is essential to the growth of any nonprofit organization.

Consultants: Jack Bender, Stephanie Strutner, Daniel Watson


Planning is a huge task for a nonprofit board, and it's important to understand the different areas and methods for planning. Planning topics include: organizational assessment, logic models and outcomes, SWOT analysis, opportunity analysis, programming, strategic capacity building, change management, and dash boarding. Planning is the first step to building the capacity of your nonprofit organization, so get your board fully committed to the process! 

Consultants: Sara Baker, Jack Bender, Stephanie Strutner, Daniel Watson

team building

Building and running an effective board can be difficult, but when done properly, the team can create incredible synergy for the organization. Team building covers board recruitment and orientation, responsibilities among board members, running effective meetings, conflict management, and internal and external cultural sensitivity. Take this step toward getting your board working together as an effective team.

Consultants: Sara Baker, Jack Bender, Daniel Watson

Resource and Brand Development

The nonprofit board guides the resources and public view of the organization. This package overviews the various components of effectively developing the resources of your nonprofit, including: advocacy, crisis management, branding, fund development, public relations, elevator speeches, human resources planning, and identifying trends. This package is perfect for boards who want tell your organization’s story effectively while maximizing community impact.

Consultants: Sara Baker, Jack Bender, Stephanie Strutner, Daniel Watson


Mission, vision, and values create the drive for an organization to serve the public. With this package, boards learn how to: master those statements, calibrate the organization’s mission, understand how the board and organizational culture relate, develop cultural competence. Our consultants will help your board own your strategic direction and serve the public effectively through that lens.

Consultants: Sara Baker, Jack Bender, Stephanie Strutner, Daniel Watson

0ur Consultants

Sara Baker - Sara is a writer, editor and nonprofit consultant who works on local, national, and international projects. She has been profiled and quoted in such outlets as the Washington Post, Time, and Medium, and has presented at conferences, trainings, and events, including a talk on international dimensions of online harassment at Harvard University's Berkman Center in 2015. Sara specializes in advocacy, grants, monitoring and evaluation, and program development, and her work has had an impact on violence prevention as well as gender, racial, and economic justice in multiple countries. She has served as director of women's advocacy for the YWCA Knoxville, created literacy programs in Philadelphia, developed dating violence prevention curricula used in high schools across the US, and coordinated global advocacy campaigns with nonprofits and individuals in 30 countries. Under her leadership, the global campaign Take Back the Tech! received the 2015 Bobs Best in Online Activism Award, 2014 UN Women and International Telecommunications Union GEM-TECH Award, and 2014 Prix Ars Electronica honorary mention for digital communities. Sara's extensive nonprofit work has also given her valuable experience in strategic planning, capacity building, volunteer and partner recruiting, public relations, and social media. She holds an MA in English with a writing concentration from the University of Tennessee and bachelor's degrees in English and religion from Maryville College.

Jack Bender - Jack retired from the YMCA in 2006 after 37 years of service. He began as a program director in Amarillo, TX and served in various positions across the country, including as vice president for the Atlanta Metro YMCA, and as a national field consultant of the YMCA of the USA, which serves Associations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.  In 1988, he became the CEO of the Knoxville Metro YMCA, serving 13 years before returning to YMCA of the USA.  In that role, he served as a national field executive overseeing the work of YMCAs in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina.  His work on the national staff was focused on organizational development, especially in the areas of volunteer development, board development, and strategic planning. Jack graduated from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX with degrees in psychology and business. He completed a master’s degree in human resource development through University Associates in San Diego, CA.

Stephanie Strutner - Stephanie is the director of the Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County. Stephanie has been credited for securing millions of dollars in grant funding, mentoring community coalitions, and diversifying the organization’s funding portfolio. As a former epidemiologist and evaluator, Stephanie has a wealth of knowledge on evaluation, performance measures, and outcomes, with a focus on legislative advocacy. Stephanie holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from Emory & Henry College, a master of public health degree in health policy and management from the College of Business at the University of Tennessee, and is a Level II Certified Prevention Specialist. She has served in leadership roles at the state level for nonprofit organizations as well as for community coalitions and agencies, and serves as a trainer for the National Coalition Academy on behalf of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

Daniel Watson - Daniel serves as the executive director and co-founder of The Restoration House of East Tennessee. Under Daniel’s leadership, The Restoration House just opened Phase I of a new 24-unit community for single mother families, and has raised over $3.5 million in operational and capital funding. Daniel was honored as one of Knoxville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, and is an alumni of Introduction Knoxville Class of 2011 and Leadership Knoxville Class of 2014. He served for seven years as a volunteer chaplain for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Johnson University.