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New Normal for Nonprofits – Are You Ready? is Lance Welter’s challenge to charities facing dramatic change and the need to transition during and after COVID-19. Here’s what Lance has to share:
Since the closing of all nonessential businesses and the shelter in place order was given, a new set of business norms have emerged for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Albeit, they are not completely defined, it is abundantly clear that upon the shelter-at-home order being rescinded and business reopen, it differently will not be business as usual. Usual ended March 12, 2020, right along with the way you conducted your organization’s business – including your revenue flow. All your revenue-generating strategies and processes thereof have changed whether you like it or not. The new norm is here to stay. The way you responded to your memberships needs, your communications strategies, project planning, and, most importantly your revenue generation processes have all changed. Now, you must change if your organization is to remain successful and viable.
For many of us, the last two months have been a learning experience, a primer showing how different this new direction, or norm, will be for all business sectors. Those of us who have a fairly good understanding of this new landscape are still unsure of the next transition steps. One thing is clear though, to survive, it is imperative this transition must be is completely seamless; avoiding any more member/client disruption or lost organization revenue. The last thing anyone needs or wants is more lost revenue due to a faulty or ill plan transition. So how can we quickly and safely move forward? One way of the easiest and simplest methods to guarantee this smooth, hit the ground running transition, is begin reviewing all your organizations business through the use of process improvement mapping sessions.
This is a visual mapping of all your work processes, allowing you the ability to review your entire workflow all at once. These sessions highlight processes no longer applicable for your new business requirements. Processes that should be removed, or changed, to reflect your new business landscape requirements – inefficient workflows cause both lost time and revenue.
New Normal for Nonprofits – Are You Ready?
A mapping exercise is a proven methodology used in many business process improvement projects. The tools are simple, smartsheet film which becomes your white board, dry markers and as much wall space as is available. The more complex or complicated your process are, the more wall space needed. The session begins with the team, made up of both administration and management team members, establishes the beginning and endpoint for the exercise. For example; in map a membership application process, the beginning point could be that of candidate entering your website to request the application URL to begin the registration process. The ending point could be the final step of the application process – sending the Welcoming email stating the application was been successfully received.
Once the beginning and end points have been agreed upon and established, the major activities must be defined. Major activities are best defined as overview of process from a 10K foot point of view. In our example, the next activity could be demographic information. Under the demographics, all the demographic tasks, both members and staff, are shown as sub-tasks needed to complete the applicant’s registration. The team discusses and reviews each sub-task making sure it has value within the current process. If the team find no value, the sub-taks is marked for either removal or re-engineering.
Once all sub-tasks are agreed upon, they are entered on the map and that major activity is complete. The team then moves on to the next major activity. In this manner, the map grows by following your actual process.
As you continue to map and review your workflows, there are several reoccurring waste categories you need to be aware. They include:
- Informational or process roadblocks
- Information silos – keepers of information
- Overly complex solution for a simple, automated procedure
- Process redundancy
- Antiquated workflows or antiquated requirements
The outcome of this exercise gives you a complete process map showing:
- A visual representation of the workflow process
- Areas for the removal or reduction of “waste” in the process
- An understanding of how to increase productivity through leaner and cleaner operations
- Clean and efficient process to transfer to the new business norm
A mapping session exercise gives you two additional outcomes. The first being, it generates the data needed to make data-driven decisions ensuring a smooth seamless transition into the new business landscape not only for you, for your team, and more importantly, your membership. Secondly, once the clean process map has been established, it can become the baseline of your for all your future process improvements needs; software applications, technology updates or addressing new markets.
These are difficult times for all organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit. The new norms, the new landscapes, are upon us and to survive we all must make the needed changes in our models and processes. A proactive review of all your processes well assist with these changes allowing you to remain a viable organization; for your stakeholder, your employees, and the most important asses your company has – your members. After all, if you cannot meet their members’ needs, I guarantee they will find another organization that will.
New Normal for Nonprofits – Are You Ready? was first posted at 5013.Buzz
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New Normal for Nonprofits – Are You Ready was written by business expert Lance J. Welter.
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