Article Revised: March 28, 2019
Lean Six Sigma tools have proven successful across industry borders, and the nonprofit sector is no exception. Nonprofits are unique in that they often provide vital services to a community that would otherwise not be available. Helping nonprofits achieve greater efficiency and productivity, therefore, benefits their organization and the community as a whole.
Greater Efficiency with Minimal Staff
Nonprofits have relatively fewer resources compared to their corporate counterparts. They often operate on limited budgets with minimal staff. However, Six Sigma effectively uses the tools of defining, measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling to streamline and improve operations. For example, Bret Bicoy, president and CEO of the Door Community Foundation in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., said Six Sigma principles “allowed us to operate with remarkable efficiency. We have minimal administrative staff and yet are able to maintain a remarkably low error rate with our financial transactions.” He’s such a firm believer in Six Sigma’s benefits to nonprofits that he’s co-hosting a seminar next month entitled, “Lean Six Sigma: Non-Profit Leadership in the Trenches.”
Streamlining Increases Customer Service and Revenue
Lean Six Sigma has helped nonprofits increase revenue and streamline operations, enabling some to take on more projects or clients. Last August, The Six Sigma Daily featured the success story of Children & Adolescent Treatment Services in Buffalo, N.Y. This nonprofit implemented Six Sigma, drastically reducing wait times and adding revenue. They went from over 300 children on a waiting list to less than 50, and reduced the total cycle time from 65 to 25 days. With news of greater efficiency spreading throughout the community, referrals increased. As a result, the organization increased new business by $200,000. Children & Adolescent Treatment Services was able to take advantage of Six Sigma training through a partnership with the Buffalo-Erie United Way. This branch of the United Way has used Six Sigma tools to aid over 60 organizations in their area. ;
Regardless of business sector, the obvious benefits of Six Sigma training include greater profitability for companies and career advancement for individuals. However, nonprofits that implement Six Sigma strategies have a unique opportunity. Six Sigma offers the chance to cultivate a skill set that can be applied to an industry that has a direct and meaningful contribution to others.