Many foundations and nonprofits receive the majority of their contributions during November and December. This makes for a busy donation season, which can result in employee stress and delayed responses to donors and grantees. Instead, some teams take one hour to conduct a process walk through, which enables them to thrive during this busy season.
The Best Practice to Create Capability
The volume of work during this time can overwhelm normally adequate processes and capacity. A way to create capacity and to firm up processes during the upcoming onslaught is to conduct a one-hour process walk through of any high-volume processes. This best practice reminds employees of how work needs to be done, identifies sticking points and engages the team in making backlogs visible and solvable.
An effective process walk through follows specific steps. Here is a link to my firm’s IPD Process Talk Walk through Best Practices. Feel free to print this document and use it during your process walk through.
And contact me with any questions or to talk about what you see during busy season. As a process coach and trainer, I have seen teams go from drowning to thriving during November and December. Your team can also.
Is your team buried and stressed out? Are they were working overtime to deliver to their partners, members, and clients? Have some employees left, leaving hard to fill roles open? Even with this situation, does your organization’s leadership want to take on new programs?
If any of this sounds like your organization, know that other teams have solved these challenges. Here is how one organization engaged staff while recapturing capacity. Dig Your Team Out to Make a Real Difference
See how this solution looks in this brief video: IPD Process Deep Dive Experience.
And contact Lee to talk about the results you need.
Operations process tip for the quarter: Detailed process maps are the key to process improvement success. If you are facing an operations problem, have your team map out each step of the process that isn’t working well. By doing so, you will gain a clearer understanding of what it will take to fix it. In addition, you will achieve greater buy-in by having your team be invested in the solution.
People Are at the Heart of Improving Process and Outcomes
People are the most important factor in achieving process improvement success. Learn more: People Are at the Heart of Improving Process and Outcomes
Process Transformation Concepts and Tools Virtual Training™ for Community Foundations
September 25–28, 2023; 1:00 pm–3:00 pm CT each day.
Do you want to be part of your foundation’s initiatives to improve how work is done, leading to a stronger community impact? Do you want to be a change agent who makes such improvements happen?
If your answer to either of these questions is yes, please join our virtual Process Transformation Concepts and Tools Training™. In this training, you will learn and practice the skills to identify common operational pain points that slow down workflow and hamper results. This workshop is specifically designed for new community foundation employees who want to be part of their organization’s process improvement culture.
The cost of this training is $1,500 per attendee for organizations that are accessing our culture-changing training and coaching for the first time. Registration will be limited to eight attendees, so register soon by emailing Lee Kuntz.
Case Study: Nonprofit Builds Muscles to Deliver More Community Assistance
Is doing more for your community one of your organization’s goals? Read how one foundation successfully met increasing demands despite being short-staffed: Nonprofit Builds Muscles to Deliver More Community Assistance
Throughout the 23 years I have been a process improvement coach and trainer, I have learned that people are the most important factor in achieving process improvement success. Yes, methodologies, training, and tools are important. But engaging the people doing the work in a way that increases their readiness for improving the way they work is the most important element.
In a recent conversation with one of my clients, I was reminded of the power of engaging and readying staff for process improvement. This leader moved from the CFO role in one foundation to a similar role in another. Both foundations are huge and healthy with big growth ahead of them. This experienced leader had brought my firm in to the first foundation to help him create capacity to take on that big growth. He anticipated the busy season ahead and knew the workload would be unmanageable unless he took action.
During our training, we built both the skills and will to improve how work is done. See how this looks in this video: Energized, Inspired, and Engaged.
My firm also conducted a process deep dive with this leader’s team to recapture capacity in their donor advised fund (DAF) grants operations. See how a deep dive looks in this short video: IPD Process Deep Dive Experience. The team redesigned their process to cut the time to do a DAF grant by 40 percent. That meant delivering grants and confirmations faster to donors and freeing employees up to enjoy the year-end holidays.
Last month I reconnected with this leader to congratulate him on his new CFO role. He mentioned that he brought the language of process improvement with him to his second organization. He said, “We constantly look for and talk about finding unproductive tasks, exactly as I learned to do in your training.”
Because this leader identified the challenges ahead, learned key process transformation concepts, and took action to implement them, he has now been able to lead two teams to improve how work is done. As a result, both he and the two organizations he has worked for have streamlined their operations and increased employee satisfaction. You and your organization can achieve these favorable results too.
Contact Lee Kuntz at firstname.lastname@example.org if you see pain points in how your organization’s work is done or if you seek to improve the outcomes your organization delivers to your community.
About Lee Kuntz and Innovation Process Design
As founder and president of Innovation Process Design, Lee Kuntz has spent over two decades using process improvement to solve the unique challenges faced by leaders of complex service organizations. Through expert training and coaching, she helps teams look at their work with new eyes, transform how work gets done, and create real results. Contact Lee with questions or to talk about your situation and what you want to achieve.
Is doing more for your community one of your organization’s goals?
A community action agency (CAP) was working hard to address all the energy assistance requests from their community while tracking with funder regulations. The agency’s energy assistance department was draining funds from the rest of the agency rather than being self-sustaining as it was supposed to be. To compound these challenges, the team was going into energy assistance season down two staff. How was this team going to meet its community’s energy assistance needs with fewer staff, yet still perform well in the government’s regulatory audit?
The director of energy assistance met with IPD’s Lee Kuntz to share the team’s goals and challenges. Lee then recommended IPD’s four-hour Think Differently Concepts™ skill building workshop and a one-day coached deep dive into energy assistance processes and operations to help employees identify, accept, and solve the problems that were hampering their operations.
Lee then provided the training workshop and coached the fourteen-person energy assistance team through the one-day process deep dive. Through this work, the staff began to understand that operations pain points were caused by their poor process, not people. With this new understanding, the staff engaged, using their workshop time to identify the process steps that were essential and effective, and those that were not. This coached team reduced energy assistance application intake from 77 steps to 45 better steps. Then staff members generated numerous ideas on how to improve their energy assistance operations. After IPD handed off the project to the energy assistance director, who led the team in implementing the ideas over the next several weeks. IPD delivered what it promised on budget and on time.
As a result of IPD’s workshop and the team’s hard work, the agency was able to hit its regulator’s turnaround time deadlines with fewer staff, due to recapturing over 2,000 work hours, and at lower cost during the next energy assistance season. The team also received fewer regulatory audit comments. Now, the team continues to improve how it delivers energy assistance services to its community.
Operations process tip for the quarter: Successful process improvement creates improved outcomes. When process improvement is done well, it enables organizations to deliver services to their community better and faster. It recaptures capacity and engages employees.
In all my firm’s workshops, I help participants identify the outcomes they wish to achieve and then collaborate with them to design the processes that will get them there. See our training here: Energized, Inspired, and Engaged
Bust These Myths and Save 2,800 Hours in Day-to-Day Operations
How much of your organization’s general expenses go toward software? My survey found community foundations spend between 10% to 30% of their annual general expense on software. With this challenge in mind, here is my recently published article about how today’s foundations are maximizing their software investment. Bust these myths and save 2,800 hours in day-to-day operations.
And here is the story of one foundation’s journey to build their skills and make new software pay for itself. Build Process and System Success through a One-time Process Investment. Feel free to contact me, email@example.com to talk about your technology goals and costs, to ask questions, or to catch up.
What Will Your Organization Accomplish in the Next Four Months?
For many philanthropic organizations, November marks the beginning of the donation season during which they will receive a large part of their annual revenue. Do your organization’s processes need a tune-up so you are positioned for success during your busiest quarter? See What will your organization accomplish in the next four months?
Is your organization installing new technology this year? You are not alone. About 50% of organizations are installing new software this year. And that is not about to change.
Given the cost of technology, managing new software installation and maximizing technology is now a core piece of organization work. Here is a story of one organization’s journey to build their skills to make software pay for itself.
To learn more about how today’s nonprofit is maximizing software, check out our newly published article: Bust these myths and save 2,800 hours in day-to-day operations.
Software has become a significant expense for organizations. Yet, many fail to make similar investments in a one-time deep dive that will improve day-to-day operations that would enable them to maximize the benefits of new software.
Learn more in my recent article:
Operations—the work done to execute an organization’s mission—is critical to achieving success.
Are you looking to improve processes and related the operations outcomes of your organization? Are you looking to make service to your community better, faster or more impactful?
Our coached process deep dive helps teams see and solve their process pain points. They improve quality, reduce turn-around time and deliver more efficiently and effectively to their community. Experience our virtual and in-person process deep dive in this short video.
Operations process tip for the quarter: Look at each step of the work you do to see if that specific step adds value to your community. If it does not, consider whether this step can feasibly be improved or removed, thereby recapturing your time.
Workshop invitation: Process Transformation and Training Cohort Workshop™.
Is your foundation being held back by a process that no longer works as it should? If your answer to this question is yes, check out our next Process Transformation and Training Cohort Workshop™. It is an affordable way to improve the outcomes from your foundation’s processes. Contact Lee Kuntz with questions about the workshop.
See a process deep dive happen: IPD Process Deep Dive Experience Video
Newly published article: Bust these myths and save 2,800 hours annually in day-to-day operations: Software has become a significant expense for organizations. Yet even as they invest tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in software platforms, many fail to make a much smaller investment in an intensive process transformation, enabling them to maximize the benefits of new software, increase their positive impact in the community, and improve their skills so as to be prepared for future implementations of technology projects and tools. Read the full article at: Philanthropy news | PND.
How was your end-of-year rush? Did your team work long hours under significant stress? Did they struggle to keep up leading to complaints from their community? The good news is that your employees do not have to be pushed to exhaustion as they tackle year-end duties. Learn more: How Did Your End-of-Year Rush Go?
This year, plan to succeed! Use process improvement to transform outcomes: Is your organization planning and budgeting for the next fiscal year? Are you tired of fighting the same pain points year after year, such as overwhelming workloads, demands for better or faster results, or challenges in how to maximize costly technology? During this year’s budgeting and planning season, consider investing in a coached process deep dive to recapture capacity and solve pain points. This Year, Plan to Succeed!