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Lean for the Social Sector

Applying Corporate Lean Management Expertise to Power Nonprofit Organizations

SOURCE: Taproot Foundation


Find the full case study Lean for the Social Sector: Applying Corporate Lean Management Expertise to Power Nonprofit Organizations on the Taproot Foundation website.

High quality products and services, minimal cost, minimal waste. Every organization strives for this combination. For years, many companies have employed an effective discipline to help them achieve it: lean management. The lean approach helps companies use clear and objective data to identify where and how they can become more efficient without compromising their bottom line or product quality. Lean management grew to prominence as a way to improve assembly line processes, and is now an application used far beyond manufacturing. Today, a broad array of companies apply it to general management needs, tailored and bespoke organizational processes, and the improvement of customer experience.

Yet, while more and more companies have lean management experts on staff, most companies do not fully realize what they can do with their lean management expertise as they develop pro bono programs to support their nonprofit partners. Nonprofits are notoriously resource constrained; unlocking operational efficiencies could go a long way toward powering their productivity and better enabling them to meet their missions.

Recently, the Taproot Foundation partnered with MetLife Foundation to explore how the principles of lean management could be applied to nonprofit capacity-building challenges and empowering employees to rapidly identify and resolve issues. Our experience proved that the impact can be significant, dramatically improving efficiency to allow nonprofits the space and resources to better serve their beneficiaries. This paper shares our lessons learned from this experience with MetLife. We hope it inspires you to consider the opportunity corporate practitioners have to make the benefits of lean management available in the nonprofit sector by donating lean expertise to nonprofits pro bono.

Continue reading the case study here.

About the Taproot Foundation
Taproot Foundation, a national nonprofit, connects nonprofits and social change organizations with skilled volunteers through pro bono service. Taproot is creating a world where organizations dedicated to social change have full access—through pro bono service—to the marketing, strategy, HR, and IT resources they need to be most effective. Since 2001, Taproot has worked with over 60 Fortune 500 and other organizations to develop best-in-class pro bono programs. Over 4,600 social change organizations have been served through 1.5 million hours of work worth over $160 million in value. Our
Advisory Services practice has partnered with over 75 leading companies across the globe to develop best-in-class, customized, in-house pro bono initiatives. Taproot is located in New York, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Chicago and is leading a network of global pro bono providers in over 30 countries around the world. For more information, contact

About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2016, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $744 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit

Tweet me: Can #leanmanagement impact #socialsector? Key findings from @MetLife & @taprootfound #probono proj w/@GrameenAmerica

Contact Info:

Jennifer Diaz
Taproot Foundation

KEYWORDS: Research, Reports & Publications, Philanthropy & Cause Initiatives, Taproot Foundation, metlife foundation, Grameen America


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