Lean Principles for Nonprofits

So what does lean manufacturing have to do with a nonprofit business? 

That’s exactly what approximately 25 nonprofit leaders gathered on Tues. Feb. 16th to find out. Led by Thomas Bloom of Catalyst Connection, The Forbes Funds hosted a breakfast briefing to provide organizations an introduction into lean process mapping.

In short, the lean process means getting the most out of the resources you have, said Bloom. It’s equally about people and about process, so consequently very applicable to nonprofits.

Angela Garcia, Deputy Director of Global Links, shared her experience using the lean system.The process “allowed us to … maximize our greatest resource: our people,” she said. “We gave our staff the tools to empower them to fix their own workflow.”

The goal of lean is discovering the impact of waste in a process and eliminating or reducing it, said Bloom. In the time it takes to deliver a service, what percent of that time is really adding value?

“We can’t change our physical space, we can’t hire more people, so we have to change how we spend our time,” said Garcia. Working through the lean exercises allowed her team to become both more efficient and more engaged, she said.

The Forbes Funds is hosting a full day introduction to lean principles and training on Tuesday, March 8th, and is currently accepting registrations. The Forbes Funds will also begin accepting applications for participation in a lean process cohort, with the RFP to be distributed at the training.

Cohorts are a key piece of The Forbes Funds' spectrum of capacity building services, emphasizing training as well as peer to peer learning. The application process is competitive, and participants will work with Catalyst Connection staff to learn the exercises and tools of lean before applying them to a specific project within their organizations. Applications will be available beginning March 8th.  

Learn more and apply for the cohort!