Process Improvement and Managing Change with Margaret Chapman

Nonprofit leaders, when is the last time you did a process improvement audit for your organization? Does just the thought of it make you cringe or give you all the thoughts of overwhelm? If so, fear not! Today, you’re in luck because we have a special guest, Margaret Chapman, who is an expert in implementing strategic and meaningful changes in nonprofit backend processes. She’s going to break down some strategies for us and give us a wealth of information starting with strategic planning. 

Margaret shares with us strategies for making your strategic plan a tactical document your organization will actually use, instead of putting it together once every three years, shoving it in a closet, and never looking at it again. If this is your organization, there is no judgment here! It happens a lot more often than you think. That’s why we are so excited to dive into process improvement for backend systems with Margaret! 

Read the podcast transcript here.

About Margaret

Margaret Chapman, MBA, MA, CNAP has spent the last 20 years of her career helping organizations with their finance, operations, fundraising and overall programmatic strategy. From national candidates and multi-billion dollar nonprofits to small start-ups, she leverages what’s unique about each group to ensure they are able to leap to the next phase in their growth.

Specifically, Margaret focuses on using strategic planning methods in building robust back office systems that fit the needs of the organization. Rethinking staffing, accounting, and operational structures are her specialty.

Throughout her career, Margaret has worked to make financial analysis, processes, and all things money approachable for all audiences. Dealing with numbers is often anxiety-producing but Margaret translates finance-speak into easily understandable concepts and practices that every organization can efficiently implement and feel confident in sharing.

Episode Summary

On today’s episode, you’ll learn strategies for process improvement and leveraging your organization’s strategic plan including:

• Common challenges nonprofits are seeing right now (12:55)

• What components your strategic plan needs to have to be a successful, tactical document (16:00)

• One of the most common missing pieces of a nonprofit strategic plan (18:00)

• One strategy for getting the bigger picture of what is going on in the organization (22:50)

• Proven strategies for managing change in an organization (27:00)

• What happens when you empower your team members (30:00)

• Creating a culture of improvement (36:05)


“I think strategic planning is a lot more about what you’re not doing often times than what you are doing.”

“I’m not sure that we could get any more inefficient than that, having someone physically drive checks across the city for a signature. But that’s the way that they had always done it.”

“Change is hard, even if it’s a change that we know will probably improve our lives and our ability to do our work.”

“It’s really engaging the people who are having to do it every day and saying, what are your ideas for how to do this better?”

“This is how we’ve always done it is not always a bad thing. I think the key is to continuously review and continuously think about is there a way that we could iterate and make this better, or is this process working really well?”


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