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Meeting & Retreat Facilitation

Woman writing on wall Meetings don't have to be a chore. A successful meeting can save you time and energy, surface unaddressed issues, and bring people to the same page. How a group meets is just as important as what they meet about. This is where we come in: 501 Commons can help you structure engaging and productive meetings and retreats.

Meetings come in different flavors - from team building to problem solving. However, the foundation for every meeting is the same: careful planning up front and skillful facilitation in the moment. We can bring the clarity, structure, and objectivity you need. Our facilitation consultants know nonprofits inside and out and will take the time to learn about your unique mission, so they can often give advice on the content of the meeting as well.

How It Works

Using a customized approach, our consultants will work with the meeting convener and/or a small design team to:

  • Confirm the purpose and context of the meeting
  • Think through who needs to be in the room and craft the invitation
  • Shape a compelling agenda
  • Clarify desired outcomes
  • Design methods and/or activities to keep participants engaged
  • Anticipate potential conflicts and roadblocks

During the meeting, we will:

  • Balance the needs for discipline as well as spontaneity
  • Make sure that everybody has an equal opportunity to participate
  • Moderate conflicts or inappropriate behaviors

Retreats are generally four hours or more, and usually occur away from the group's regular venue. Because of the extended length and scope, retreats require more preparation.


Put on the kind of meeting that you would be excited to attend. At the end of one of our facilitated meetings or retreats, expect to have:

  • Stronger working relationships with the participants
  • Reframing of difficult or complicated issues
  • Clarity on decision making, ownership, and next steps