Continuous Improvement

Have you heard Loaves & Fishes staff talking about Service Enterprise and wondered what it is all about?

Update: Loaves & Fishes was certified as a Service Enterprise!

Nonprofits that effectively leverage the skills and talents of community members into their core operations are known as “Service Enterprises.” Loaves & Fishes’s Board of Trustees and Staff identified the need for a continuous improvement program for the pantry. Through the talent and hard work of the staff, Loaves & Fishes was accepted into United Way’s Service Enterprise pilot program. Loaves & Fishes receives training, templates and other support through this program and is seeking to be certified as a Service Enterprise in 2015.

Make no mistake, the certification is nice to have and may even directly help with some grant seeking and other development efforts but Loaves & Fishes chose to participate in order to develop a framework, measurement system and baseline for continuous process improvement: The real goal is to make the pantry easier and more efficient for clients, to increase even further the percentage of our donors’ contributions that directly support our mission, and to further standardize, document and communicate how the pantry operates with our amazing volunteers.

The staff, volunteers and a “guiding coalition” consisting of trustees, volunteers and community members are engaged in documenting pantry roles, updating or creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for significant processes and procedures and evaluating how to best measure our performance so that we can recognize what is working and what is not in order to build on our strengths and address any weaknesses.

Many thanks to those directly supporting this project and all who have, and continue to, make Loaves & Fishes run with the caring and efficiency to serve our communities so well.