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Plan a successful network-building retreat

A retreat can be productive and inclusive way to help stakeholders meet, collaborate, and set goals to address elder fraud in your community.

Decide who to invite

The right stakeholders form the foundation of a successful network. Explore the types of stakeholders you can invite to the retreat and build a list of elder financial exploitation professionals.

Explore all stakeholder materials

Establish a core team

A core planning team will help you develop a planning timeline, the agenda, and the list of invitees. Consider inviting professionals from Adult Protective Services, law enforcement, legal services, financial services, and other organizations to create a cross-section of key stakeholders in the network.

Invite other key professionals

Members of your core planning team should invite other professionals to the retreat. As the team reaches out to individuals, be mindful of issues and historical differences between types of stakeholders involved in elder fraud prevention and response. Consider using an online event planning tool to manage invites and RSVPs.

Download stakeholder planning guide

We created a spreadsheet to help you build a core planning team and identify other stakeholders to invite to the retreat.

Plan the retreat

A successful retreat should be planned well in advance and be structured to maintain the focus of the group. We created a timeline to help your core planning team prepare for the retreat.

Download retreat planning timeline

Confirm the date, time, and location of the retreat

Try to confirm the date and location of the retreat at least eight to ten weeks before the event. You can use an online scheduling or survey tool to determine the availability of the stakeholders you want to invite.

Be aware of situations that could affect attendance such as:

  • Religious observances
  • Federal and state holidays
  • Work schedules
  • Time zones
  • Accessibility

To make the retreat as accessible as possible, consider including phone conferencing and audio/visual capabilities.

Consider hiring a neutral facilitator

A third-party facilitator can help promote neutral communication and an inclusive environment for collaboration at the retreat. If you can't pay someone to facilitate, consider asking local mediation groups, leadership organizations, or meeting facilitation groups to provide a volunteer facilitator.

Another option may be securing a grant or sponsorship to fund the cost of a facilitator.

We created a guide with instruction and tips to successfully facilitate a network retreat. Share this with your facilitator before the event.

Download retreat facilitator guide

Learn how to facilitate effective meetings

Create an agenda

Create an internal and external agenda to make sure your core planning team and the other stakeholders know what to expect from the retreat. Agendas will help keep the retreat focused on goals to accomplish. Distribute the agenda in advance of the event.

Use our meeting agenda templates to develop your own.

See meeting agenda templates

Take care of final logistics

Send out emails

Send out a "save the date" email to the invitees six to eight weeks before retreat and a reminder email one week before the retreat. We put together email templates you can use to reach out to stakeholders.

Consider providing refreshments

Since retreats are a day-long event, consider providing refreshments of some type. You can assign a member of your core planning team to this task.

Gather materials for the retreat

Make sure your core planning team and facilitator have all of the materials they need to conduct retreat activities. We created a supply list to help you keep track and prepare to set up.

Start thinking ahead

While the retreat will set the foundation for your network, you and your core planning team should plan a follow-up meeting to take place four to six weeks after the retreat as well as meetings for the next six to 12 months. Activities for future meetings could include:

  • Cross-training
  • Speaker presentations
  • Case reviews
  • Other topics related to elder financial exploitation

We created a list of suggested training topics to help your team plan cross-training.

See cross-training topics