At Crossroads for Making a Real Difference

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At Crossroads for Making a Real Difference

October 11, 2023 | 1:46 pm

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.

Process Improvement to Transformation

IPD Newsletter for September – Your Organization’s Operations and Process Opportunities

September 18, 2023 | 1:55 pm

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

IPD Newsletter for June – Your Organization’s Operations and Process Opportunities

June 27, 2023 | 8:00 am

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, 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?

Newly Published Article: Bust these myths and save 2,800 hours in day-to-day operations

March 30, 2023 | 1:23 pm

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:

Bust these myths and save 2800 hours in day-to-day operations


Innovation Process Design Quarterly Newsletter September 2022

September 22, 2022 | 12:00 pm

Success story: Implement ACH processes to ease pain and deliver more impact in the community

Situation: A nonprofit organization knew they needed to implement ACH to serve their community because checks were taking up to two weeks to get to the grantee. Now their busy season was coming up. Was this nonprofit going to keep hampering their community impact because they could not pay their grantees in a timely fashion?

Approach: The chief financial officer called me, as I had helped others implement ACH quickly and successfully. I provided the team with IPD’s four-hour Think Differently Process Transformation Training™ to build skills and will to change how work is done. Then I coached an eight-person cross-organizational team through a 24 hour deep dive to design their new ACH process and outline their implementation plan.

Results: The team successfully reduced both the labor required and the turnaround time to get payments out the door. Now, two months later, they now poised to make their busy season less painful and to serve their community faster and better. See a process deep dive happen:

IPD Process Deep Dive Experience Video

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 to maximize costly technology? During this year’s budgeting and planning season, consider investing in process transformation to recapture capacity and solve pain points.

This Year, Plan to Succeed!

Redesigning the grant process with effectiveness in mind

Rapid growth can create challenges for community foundations, leading to missed deadlines and poor quality. Learn how one organization enlisted me to help them understand their pain points and redesign processes with an eye to improve efficiencies, change systems, and build skills and will to support a more unified team.

Redesigning the Grant Process with Effectiveness in Mind case study link

Installing a new software system?

A process map will create better outcomes for your organization

Recently, a software vendor told me that organizations considering a new software system would do well to supply their vendor with a detailed process map. Having such a map helps the vendor better address the organization’s needs and generate a more accurate quote. In four hours of work with your team, I can produce a process map that will help you achieve a better software outcome. Contact me to learn more.

Hear me speak

Change for Good: Improve How Work is Done to Solve Pain Points and Recapture Capacity

December 1, 2022 @ 1:00 pm–2:30 pm EST
This presentation is a Midwest Series Webinar sponsored by the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, Philanthropy Ohio, and the Council of Michigan Foundations. Members of any of these organizations are invited to register for this presentation with their organization.

Learn more: About Midwest Series Webinar.


Redesigning the Grant Process with Effectiveness in Mind

August 18, 2022 | 9:19 am

Rapid growth can create challenges for community foundations, leading to missed deadlines and gaps in quality. Learn how one organization enlisted Lee Kuntz to help them understand their pain points and redesign processes with an eye to improve efficiencies, change systems, and build skills and will to support a more unified team.

Redesigning the Grant Process with Effectiveness in Mind case study link


What Will Your Organization Accomplish in the Next Four Months?

May 25, 2023 | 8:51 am

Many philanthropic organizations have only the next four months to position themselves for success this year. Given November marks the beginning the big donation season, that means there is only a limited window for completing this year’s agenda. Some organizations are focused on just surviving 2023. Others are engaging employees to solve pain points, create capacity, and get ready for the year-end donation season.

Challenges on the Horizon

Because of the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, this year promises to bring added challenges to the philanthropic sector. To be most productive and successful, you need to ask yourself several key questions: Are employees engaged? Do they have the skill and time to solve these challenges?

Return to Office: Just when remote work procedures are running well, many foundation staff are returning to the office. Once there, what process will they perform? Is the team ready to redesign processes for in-person success?

Regular Plus Special Programs: The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that charitable giving is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels. That is good news for our communities, but it means philanthropic organizations need to be poised and ready to process those forthcoming gifts and grants. In addition to managing that workload, will your foundation continue to offer emergency assistance programs? Are social justice programs also on the agenda? How will your employees find time to do their regular work, plus take on any special programs?

System Replacement Goals: How are your systems holding up? With so much new technology available, did your organization include a systems change in its 2023 plan? Will it be in the 2024 plan? If new technology is on the horizon, where will you find the skill and time to redesign processes to ensure successful implementation?

Hiring in the Post-Pandemic Economy: More jobs are available as the economy regains its footing. Employees are taking advantage of new opportunities by changing jobs. As always, it’s challenging to find great candidates. How will you attract and retain good employees? How will you get new employees up to speed quickly so they can be productive when the end-of-year rush gets underway?

Pairing Challenges with a Solution

The consistent thread tying these challenges together is the need to engage employees in deciding how work gets done, create more capacity, and redesign processes for maximal effectiveness. Philanthropic organizations have successfully addressed these needs and achieved their goals through our process transformation coaching and training.

Learn more about our certified process skills in this blog post: Process Certification Helps Organizations Achieve the Results They Need. Whether it is through our hybrid approach or all in-person, we help employees learn how to work more efficiently and effectively. By actively engaging employees in identifying opportunities for improvement and creating solutions, we foster an organizational culture characterized by nimble skill and empowerment.

An Example

Recently a California foundation sponsored our training and coaching package. First, through our four-hour hybrid Think Differently Concepts Workshop™, we taught attendees how to spot work steps that were value-added and those that were a waste of resources. They learned to solve these pain points. Employee feedback on the training included the following comments.
• “I liked the exercises and examples pertaining to our organization specifically.”
• “I liked working in small groups with people from other departments, and having time for questions.”
After the training, Lee meet with leadership to design steps that will keep transformation skills in use.

Next, Lee coached this team in a deep dive into their gifts process. They took the process from 86 steps to 58 better steps while retaining strong internal controls. In the past, each pile of paper checks gifts was passed between staff 13 times. The team designed a new electronic, document-based process that cut handoffs in half. Error proofing is now a well-known and practiced skill.

The team will implement their new process before October so they can face the year-end donation season in a stronger position. Foundation leaders said that through this work, they expect to recapture capacity and deliver acknowledgements more quickly. They appreciated that the project was done on time and on budget. Said one leader about the combined training and coaching approach, “Lee used empathy, understanding and extensive knowledge of Community Foundations to help us streamline our process.” Added another leader, “We accomplished A LOT in a short time!”

In this blog post, learn more about how our training and coaching program works and why it is a worthwhile investment: This Year, Plan to Succeed!

What Will Your Organization Accomplish in the Next Four Months?

The very busy year-end donation season is coming soon. Rather than struggle through that hectic season, contact Lee Kuntz to learn what you can do reach your performance goals and thrive this year.

Process Improvement + DEI = Expanded Impact

April 12, 2021 | 3:52 pm

Many organizations are focused on building their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) capabilities. Yet daily operations continue as a priority. The community continues to need help. Funders need transparency and services. And operations processes need to be improved to deliver more services and better outcomes. With operations and DEI being parallel focuses, now is the time to incorporate DEI into process improvement to create an expanded impact.

About Proven Process Improvement Tools

Proven process improvement tools have been streamlining workflow and delivering better outcomes for years. Learn more about these time-tested tools and the importance of professional certification in this blog post: Process Certification Helps Organizations Achieve the Results They Need.

Historically, when a certified process improvement consultant uses these tools to transform both processes and outcomes, the track record has been impressive. The graph below illustrates how Innovation Process Design (IPD) capitalizes on our skills and experience to make processes faster and better, resulting in an enhanced customer experience and recaptured internal capacity.

In our upcoming webinar, learn more about how we have used these recognized approaches to help bring positive, measurable results to many organizations: Live Webinar: The Secret to Recapturing Foundation Time And Capacity.

About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Increasingly, many organizations are seeking to understand and incorporate DEI into their daily operations in a significant way. We understand diversity to mean that multiple identities and characteristics are represented in an organization. Equity means all these diverse identities have power. Inclusion means that all perspectives matter.

When a full-bodied commitment to DEI is in place, individuals within an organization feel a sense of belonging. Diversity advocate Verna Myers said it well. “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

The figure below defines diversity, equity, and inclusion and illustrates the potency of their overlap.

Building DEI into Processes and Operations

When tried-and-true process improvement tools are supplemented with DEI focused techniques, great results can happen. Teams develop a clearer understanding of what their partners and patrons need. These teams generate more innovative ideas. They also improve decision making by incorporating the views and expertise of diverse team members. Positive synergy results when everyone feels heard and included.

We Engage and Optimize People and Operations for Greater Impact

IPD’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion guides our internal operations. In addition, we have designed, tested, and added DEI steps into our process improvement training and coaching services. Our underlying beliefs and actions have shaped our DEI statement:

Innovation Process Design works to unlock and optimize organizations and their employees to maximize their operations impact. Our services engage organizations in bringing diverse views into each process design. We focus on using data and practicing transparency to identify and remove bias. Through the use of proven tools and approaches during projects, we help assess and balance power to create equity and inclusion. We live our diversity, equity, and inclusion values by holding ourselves accountable as we ask for and act on feedback.

Outcomes of Certified Process Improvement + DEI

Feedback from clients who have leveraged our certified process improvement + DEI services show they have been impressed by our commitment to incorporating DEI in process redesign. Even though these organizations are formulating or have already worked through their next iteration of DEI, they are surprised by our approach and questions. I suspect this is the first time they have thought about DEI and processes this way. Also, few consultants have integrated this important attribute into their services, making IPD’s services unique.

Through our coaching and training, organizations are successfully executing process improvement . They are receiving input from a wider range of staff and community representatives and are experiencing more eye-opening moments. For example, one foundation representative recently commented that “people who normally don’t speak up, now are.” Foundations appreciate that improving the way they do their work can be compatible with their commitment to DEI.


Organizations are liking the results they achieve through process improvement plus DEI. Staff members hear, engage, and understand more. These organizations live their DEI values while achieving improved outcomes. Your organization can too! Contact Lee Kuntz to learn more. And follow our blogs to hear more about the results organizations are achieving from proven process improvement tools +DEI.

Streamline Through Effective, Paperless, Electronic Payments

January 14, 2021 | 1:27 pm

Did the pandemic impact your grant payments? Are employees moving paper from location to location to get checks out? Are they working extra-long hours? Does it take more time to get checks out? What feedback is your organization getting from grantees and vendors about paper checks?

One organization looked into their busy season and decided to proactively take action to help employees and the community thrive. Here is their story:
Streamline Through Effective, Paperless, Electronic Payments Case Study.

Process Transformation Coaching and Training Create Capacity To Foster Racial Equity

October 22, 2020 | 12:52 pm

Many philanthropic organizations look to increase their focus on racial equity. Yet, how will they find the capacity to do this work?  Capacity to bring in more funds? Run another educational program? Take on added back office work to accommodate these efforts? Some are adding staff and expenses. Others are working to cut existing programs. Another set of grantmakers are finding their capacity by transforming their processes, recapturing hundreds—even thousands—of hours. A key driver of these impressive outcomes? Process transformation tool training and expert coaching.

Solving the Capacity Constraint

Process transformation is an advanced deep dive into processes to uncover and solve inefficiencies and ineffectiveness. For example, a nonprofit organization’s goal was to educate minority, non-English speaking minority home seekers on how to purchase a home. Before they received this education, home seekers were onboarded through a complex process that took 90 days. Since homes in their price range were being snapped up quickly, those stuck in the onboarding process did not get the help they needed in time to buy their desired home. Also, this long, complicated onboarding process consumed tons of nonprofit labor hours, which limited the number of community members the nonprofit could serve.

This nonprofit team solved their challenges by conducting a process transformation event on their onboarding processes. With the help of process transformation coaching and training, this team significantly redesigned onboarding, decreasing turnaround time from 90 days to a stunning 7 to 20 days. The nonprofit also recaptured time, which they redirected to educating more community members. Due to their process transformation coaching and training journey, this organization now makes a bigger racial equity impact by enabling more minorities in their community to buy a home.

New Process Transformation Tools Require Training

Process transformation uses more advanced techniques than traditional process improvement, including identifying waste and establishing fact-based quality management. Many of the process transformation tools come from the Lean operations, Six Sigma, and Human Centered Design methodologies.

Given that many process transformation approaches are new to users, they need training to use these powerful tools successfully. Whether the training is face-to-face or online, attendees of our training both learn to use the approaches and accept the need for improvement in their own work. Organizations say this training readies employees to engage in change (human change management) and improves the organization’s outcomes.

Expert Coaching to Success

As with any tool, process transformation tools are effective only when they are used the right way. It takes practice to know how to get the most out of these methods. For example, my Six Sigma Black Belt certification required me to submit two successful projects that effectively utilized Six Sigma principles. This requirement acknowledges that such tools are learned and tested only through practice. Also, many certification programs require applicants to work under the direction of an experienced, certified coach to help them be successful.

We provide coaching to all the teams we work with to show how process transformation can work in their own unique situation. The benefits of this coaching are twofold. First, coaching builds process skills and muscles. Teams need confirmation that they are using a given tool the right way, and they gain confidence through supervised use.

Second, our experienced process transformation coach ensures that teams maximize their results. Years of practice brings a level of expertise about which tool to use and when and how to use it. For example, when should quality management tools be used? When should the team push harder to find wasted steps? When is the team basing its approach on assumptions rather than facts? On average, teams we have trained and coached have improved process outcomes by 52%. That means a process of 100 steps can be streamlined to consist of about 50 steps, with the resulting time recapture.

First Step to Increase Focus on Racial Equity: Create Capacity

Philanthropic organizations who look to increase their commitment to racial equity can increase their capacity for this important work through process transformation. Grantmakers who transform DAF grants, gifts, or other critical processes can recapture a thousand or more hours hundreds of hours without doing additional hiring or stopping the programs they were already doing. You can too. Contact Lee to identify your goals and challenges and to formulate a process transformation plan that will recapture your team’s capacity.

Contact Lee today to discuss your challenge.