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What is a Lean Nonprofit?

"Lean," when we say it in nonprofit circles, is usually thought to mean something along the lines of "doing more with less," or "working with thin margins," or "keeping overhead low." But nope. That's not what it means at all. 

Lean, in this context, comes from Lean Manufacturing - a process designed in the 1980's and pioneered by Toyota. It's marked by continuous improvement and elimination of waste. In 2009, in his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Reis brought Lean into the entrepreneurial and tech world. A startup, in Reis' parlance, is any organization that operates in environments of extreme uncertainty. 

Guess who else operates in environments of extreme uncertainty? 

That's right, you brilliant buttercup, you: nonprofits. 

At Lean Nonprofit, we help organizations increase their mission impact while reducing waste. What kind of waste? 

  • Employee turnover

  • Inefficient program design and launch

  • Fundraising money left on the table

  • Reinventing the wheel

  • Fraud and skimming

We do this by helping organizations get smarter and more nimble with their strategy, program design and implementation.

Everything we do with nonprofits is built around program development - minimum viable program development - that allows organizations to build and launch programs, measure the results, learn from the results, and make decisions to feed back into program design - ultimately, getting maximum results. 

At Lean Nonprofit, we're all about helping nonprofits build better businesses so you can get REAL mission results. Like, really real.

What does a better nonprofit business look like? 

Well. For starters, financial stability. We help you generate revenue in new and creative ways to get you closer to sleeping at night instead of worrying whether you'll make payroll this month. 

What else? How about reduced turnover? A happy staff is a productive staff. Only people who are healthy and happy can truly change the world. We can help you build a culture and a staff development plan that will serve your mission like you've never seen before. 

Oh, and what happens when you, another leader, the Executive Director or CEO, Board Chair, random person who waters the plants but you don't notice until they quit and the plants all wilt, leave? Have a plan for that? No? We can help with that too. 

How about strategy? Do you have your top priorities all lined up? Quick! What are they? If you couldn't rattle them off with ease, you need help. We got you covered on that front too. 

Want to dig in more? Get in touch.

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