Working in the nonprofit sector is a career that requires a great deal of passion, enthusiasm and dedication to the organization’s mission. With this being the case, it is not only beneficial but vital for nonprofits to keep their staff active. Providing outlets for recreation and entertainment breaks the continuous cycle of daily office life that can so often lead to burn-outs.
A fun, captivating outing is a great mental health pick-me-up for an organization. Not only will such an occasion provide a breath of fresh air for everyone, but it clearly shows the staff that their hard work is valued and appreciated. An outing can also facilitate the building of healthful relationships among staff that may not occur in the office setting.
But how can an organization afford the time and money? Even in a struggling economy, nonprofits need not be leery. There are many free or inexpensive activities in the Boston area that will revitalize energy within your organization.
We asked TSNE staff to share planning tips and suggestions from events past. They included a range of options of enriching activities in the area, as well as a several websites to help plan an exciting outing that everyone will enjoy.
Things to keep in mind when planning:
- Plan early to get more options and best deals.
- Weatherproof the occasion or have alternatives in the event of bad weather.
- Consider your participants and ask around about things they would enjoy.
- Ask about group deals to lower costs.
- Keep in mind transportation to and from activities.
- Spread the word early and get people excited – this prolongs the benefits!
Options to Suit Your Organization’s Needs
Team-Building Scavenger Hunts
These adventures are a great way to spend the day with interactive activities that both arouse enthusiasm and strengthen the group’s abilities to work towards a common goal. There are several companies in and around the Boston area that specialize in these types of ventures with private hunts or preplanned themed hunts, such as GPS-led scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, urban adventures and mystery solving hunts.
On these exploits, team members work together unlocking clues, finding items, solving puzzles and overcoming fun challenges. In addition to the excitement of the game, there are opportunities to apply professional skills such as critical thinking, negotiation, strategic planning, goal mapping, group awareness and time management.
Ready to plan this for your company’s outing? For free alternatives, research do-it-yourself hunts or be creative and design your own.
If you prefer someone else organize the day, there are a few companies in Boston providing these events, most offering group rates.
Boston Harbor Islands
Throughout the year (the summer and fall months in particular), the Boston Harbor Islands Alliance offers a wide variety of free events and programs.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Plays and live music in the park
- Pier fishing clinics
- Lighthouse tours
- Art exhibitions
- Tide pooling
- Historical reenactments
...and much more. Short, inexpensive ferry rides provide transportation from the Boston waterfront to the islands.
Boston is home to a vast variety of museums that break free from the touristy stereotype and can provide a fun-filled day for the group. One of the best ways to experience the abundant culture of the area is by visiting one of the more than 40 museums.
Whether it be historical, modern, crafty or spooky, there are options to suit every group many with interactive, hands-on exhibits. Other benefits of day at the museum? It's budget-friendly and weatherproof!
Throughout the summer and fall months, the Highland Street Foundation sponsors 10 Free Fun Fridays: free admission to designated museums.
The New England Aquarium, located on the waterfront’s Central Wharf, is home to over 15,000 aquatic animals and promises a day full of engaging fun. A few highlights include a four-story 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank, a touch tank and an open-air marine mammal center.
They also offer whale watch boat tours and a variety of 3D shows at the IMAX Theater.
Additional Outdoor Outings
The summer and fall months bring many outdoor activities and beautiful days that are perfect for out-of-the-office mood boosters. Local beaches such as Revere Beach, Nantasket, Constitution Beach, etc. are great for a laid back day of picnics and swimming.
For interesting educational options, there is a wealth of tours in and around Boston with a variety of themes.
For a more adventurous crowd, Courageous Sailing (a nonprofit!) offers group sailing clinics. The group will enjoy a day on the water learning how to sail and building team skills. You can arrange your day around a specific budget.
Do Your Research
When considering to plan a day outing, take some time to search the Web. This is a great way to discover options beyond the examples listed in this article. With such a wide array of things to do in this city, every nonprofit can – and should! – plan a rejuvenating day out of the office for their staff. One day of entertainment and feeling appreciated can recharge enthusiasm and creativity – vital for survival and growth.