Leading Leaders: Transformational Leadership

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Kevin Wilson)

Good leadership is essential for any business: social or otherwise. For those of you reading this, you might have the desire to start your own social enterprise or take a leadership role in one already established. There are different kinds of leadership out there and no doubt most of you have probably experienced one or more of them.

For this discussion I would like to talk about transformational leadership. This involves the concept of servant leader. Some of you might be familiar with this concept. In the transformational leadership model, leaders also known as servant leaders, empower employees by uniting them in a common goal. Leaders turn their employees into leaders by cultivating in them good leadership qualities such as good communication and problem solving skills as well as empathy and the ability to handle and create change (Cragg, Spurgeon, 2007). There are more components to transformational leadership, but for this discussion I would like to talk about the possible positive affects this type of leadership can have on an organization.

From my own experience working with a company that put transformational leadership into practice, I saw many positive affects. When leadership qualities and expectations were placed on employees, there were noticeable changes. Employees seemed to feel better about the job. This definitely increased performance for our department. Staff also felt the liberty to expand upon and improve the job they were doing: looking for better and more efficient ways to do things. This type of leadership also seemed to foster creativity, as staff had the liberty to be creative in the job they were doing.

Research has also indicated success when using the transformational leadership model. A 2013 study titled Impact of Transformational Leadership through Organizational Development Intervention on Employee Engagement and Firm Performance: A Case Study, concluded that using the transformational leadership model inspired employees to work harder, improving the overall performance of the organization. (Tonvongval, 2013) The model empowered employees, using transformational leadership techniques, to improve their work.

There are problems that could arise with this model too and we can’t forget about them. An organization would definitely have to hire the right type of individual with the desire and ability to become a leader. An organization would also have to have good leaders already in place, with the experience and desire to empower others to be leaders.

In conclusion, the reason I wanted to discuss this type of leadership is because I think it can be beneficial, especially for social enterprises and non-profit organizations. Often, NPOs do not have enough funding to have one person who can oversee every aspect of the organization. For these organizations it would be beneficial to create an environment where there are many leaders sharing in the vision and mission of the organization.

Kevin Wilson
Capella University Doctoral Student

 

 

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Nonprofit collaboration

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

I am pausing from my discussion of how to write parts of a grant proposal to discuss a few other issues.

I recently heard of a beautiful project that brings together refugees and bicycles. The project provides free bicycles to refugees in Savannah, Georgia. This project involves collaboration between Lutheran Services of Georgia (that assists refugees in the area), and the Savannah Bicycle Campaign (that promotes bicycle riding in the Savannah area).

To me, refugees have always been a compelling category of people in need. For about two years, on an occasional basis, I worked with Hmong and Somali refugees in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I did some free grant proposal writing and strategic planning. Helping people who fled another country and who sought to start a new life was extremely rewarding work to me.

The Hmong with which I worked fled mainly Laos following the Vietnam War. One reason they fled Laos was because many Hmong helped the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Most of them spent years/decades in relocation camps in Thailand before they were able to migrate to the U.S.

The Somalis with which I worked fled Somalia because of the political unrest there. Several of them told me they wanted to return to their home country as soon as stability is established. I got the impression that some of these Somali refugees were highly successful people in Somalia before they had to flee.

The Georgia refugee bicycle project that I mentioned earlier seems to be a good “wedding” of two initiatives by two nonprofits. The Lutheran Services of Georgia helps refugees become established and productive members of their new society, while the Savannah Bicycle Campaign simply seeks to support cycling within the city. One need of newly arrived refugees with little money is transportation to work. This is why the free bikes offered by the Savannah Bicycle Campaign become so important to the refugees.

It is fascinating that the Savannah Bicycle Campaign had no intention of helping refugees – they simply wanted to promote bicycle riding in their city. But the role they are playing in helping local refugees is significant. This must be a special reward for people involved in the Savannah Bicycle Campaign.

This simple collaborative project makes me think more about collaboration between nonprofits. Although the core purposes of two nonprofits may be very different, on the fringes of each nonprofit there may be exciting opportunities for collaboration.

So I wonder what opportunities are being missed. What fringes of existing nonprofits are not being exploited because nobody has thought of the possible collaboration? In your community, I wonder if there are missed opportunities. Sometimes, bringing two previously separate nonprofits together may become a highly innovative act.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Grant Proposals – An overriding issue

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

For the last several weeks, I have been sharing some of my thoughts regarding parts of grant proposals that are written to fund projects to help others in need. I have commented on such proposal parts as the abstract, goal, objectives, procedures, budget, qualifications, and evaluation. I still have a few parts of a grant proposal to cover, but I want to pause to share two extremely important ideas:

1.Different funding sources sometimes provide different guidelines for what they want in proposals submitted to them.

2. As proposal writers, we should always exactly follow the guidelines of the funding sources.

The ideas I am sharing on grant proposal parts in this blog, as well as the principles I teach in my university courses, are based on the most sophisticated types of proposals demanded by large funding sources, such as the U.S. Federal government. However, funding sources are of varying sizes and levels of sophistication. The small, local community funding sources (sometimes called “mom and pop” funding sources) typically require short proposals that do not include all parts of the proposal I am discussing in this blog.

The larger funding sources may require more than 50 pages of writing, in addition to completion of many forms. Whew! But the local, small community funding sources may allow only one or two pages of writing. So obviously, there is a huge difference in expectations regarding the details wanted by these two types of funding sources.

This post is to warn those of you who are new to proposal writing and are reading my ongoing comments about parts of grant proposals that all funding sources will not require all parts of a proposal that I am discussing. It is important that we know how to write the long, complex proposals, but it is also good for us to know that some proposals will be very simple.

Before closing, I want t mention that the short proposals greatly frustrate me. I normally don’t know how to “get in” all of the information I want to convey. A limit of two pages of writing is a big restriction for me, and I suffer. But we ALWAYS have to do exactly what the funding source requires. We must follow their instructions precisely.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Grant Proposals – Evaluation

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

For several previous posts, I have been sharing some of my ideas on how to make the parts of our grant proposals powerful, and I will continue this discussion here.  When we seek small grants from some local funding sources (such as Wal Mart), receiving funding is often simple. However, receiving more substantial amounts of money from regional and national funding sources is usually very competitive. Knowing how to write powerful sections of our proposals is important.

In previous posts, I shared some of my thoughts on the following parts of a grant proposal.

1. Title Page
2. Abstract
3. Statement of Need
4. Goal
5. Objectives
6. Procedures
7. The Budget
8. Qualifications  

I would now like to comment on:

9. Evaluation

The Evaluation section of our proposal is where we restate each objective and explain the details of how, if the grant is given and our project is conducted, we will determine the extent to which our objectives have been successful. Our objectives, in an earlier part of our proposal, state what we want to accomplish for the clients. The objectives are stated in measurable form, and that part of the objective is where we focus in the Evaluation section of the proposal.

For example, if our objective states that clients (in the planned project for which we are seeking funds) will score at least 70% on a test reflecting issues presented in a class setting, then in the Evaluation section of our proposal, we explain how we will determine if clients meet that standard.

For the issue of scoring at least 70% on a test, here are examples of the details we will discuss in the Evaluation section.

– When will the test be given?
– What test will be used?
– What issues will be tested?
– Who will administer the test?
– Who will score the test?
– Who will report if clients score at least 70%?

In the Evaluation section of our proposal, we explain every detail needed to be totally clear about how we will determine the extent to which each of our objectives has been supported by data.

One additional point is that there are two types of evaluations, the 1) formative evaluation, and 2) summative evaluation. The formative evaluation tests objectives before the project is completed (to determine progress of clients), while the summative evaluation occurs after the project has ended. Of the two types of evaluation, the summative evaluation is the more important, for we always want to test success at the end of the project. The formative evaluation is optional, but the summative evaluation is mandatory.

The Evaluation section of grant proposals is one of the least understood parts of a grant proposal. When I was reviewing grant proposals for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Evaluation section was a major cause of many proposals receiving low scores.

Thanks for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Grant Proposals – Qualifications

Posted by on Apr 29, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

I would like to continue sharing some ideas for building strong grant proposals when you seek funding for your projects to help others in need. I teach three courses at my university at ascending levels of sophistication, and I am sharing some of the ideas within my courses. My hope is that one or two ideas might be helpful to you.

In previous posts, I shared some of my thoughts on the following parts of a grant proposal.

1. Title Page
2. Abstract
3. Statement of Need
4. Goal
5. Objectives
6. Procedures
7. The Budget

I would now like to comment on:

8. Qualifications

The word “qualifications” in this context refers to the experience of the applicant agency to run a project like the one being planned and for which grant money is sought. There are two main sections to this part of our proposal: a) the strengths of the applicant agency in general, and b) the strengths of key personnel who will be working on the project.

a) The strengths of the applicant agency in general

If the applicant agency has an impressive history, this is where we should list such points as number of years in existence, services provided to the community, local newspaper or other reports on community service performed, awards received, and other grant funding managed for other projects.

If the applicant agency does not have an impressive history, as is the situation for a new agency, then there is a problem. There is no “track record” that we can share that provides confidence in the applicant agency. In this situation, I think the best approach is to temporarily partner with another local agency that agrees to manage the grant funds (if the grant is received), while the new agency is mainly responsible for running the proposed project. In this manner, a new agency can build its list of qualifications.

b) The strengths of key personnel

This is where we give the qualifications of people who will be involved in the proposed project. If staff are to be hired, we list the minimum qualifications they must meet before being hired. If the applicant agency will be using existing staff, then we share whatever is impressive about those staff members. Examples of impressive attributes are high levels of education, training certificates received, number of years in their career, awards received, and experience with similar projects.  

I hope the above is helpful in sharing what funding sources expect to be in the “Qualifications” section of a grant proposal.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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More on my problems associated with trying to start a new youth mentoring project

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Hello. In my last post, I shared my disappointment in the low response rate from some key community leaders to my request for their feedback about my idea for a new youth mentoring project in north central Arkansas. I would like to share more about the context I see for me and this possible project. (Please see my last post for details on the project idea.)

My previous attempts to obtain feedback from school system leaders and church leaders is a part of a “needs assessment,” which is a measure of the perceived need for a project by people living in the community where the project might occur. This point relates to others who are thinking about someday starting a project to help people in need. Being sure the community wants a project like we want to start is, of course, extremely important. Even if we have a dynamite idea that can help many people, if the community does not support our project idea, that project will face difficulty in that community.

For the youth mentoring project I am interested in helping start in north central Arkansas, I will not try to start the project without strong community support. I am an outsider (I live in Kansas but several times a year spend some time in this part of Arkansas), and I am not foolish enough to try to start this project without strong support from the community.

So this “needs assessment” is extremely important.  

I have received support from four church pastors in the area, which I greatly appreciate. They believe the project I propose would be of value in the area. I am very pleased to have this support, but the rest of the situation is that nine church pastors and two key school officials in the area did not respond my request for their opinion of the project idea. Four supporters out of 11 possibilities is not a good percentage.

The reason I am sharing my situation is that my experiences may be helpful to you. There are two points I want to emphasize in this post.

1. Having community support for our project idea is extremely important. Before you start your project, I encourage you to conduct a needs assessment.

2. Persistence can be a virtue. I am not being very successful in obtaining support for my project idea, but at the same time, nobody I have contacted has stated that they believe the project is a bad idea. So I will continue conducting this needs assessment until I better understand the community opinion. I encourage you to also stick with your project idea until you are sure it cannot work.

On the one hand, I am sad about the experience I am having. On the other hand, I am intrigued, and I view this as a part of my adventure in life.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Report on a youth mentoring project I am trying to start

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

I am still in the process of sharing some ideas about how to write strong grant proposals, but I would like to take another break from that to address another issue. I would like to share some information on my attempt to start a youth mentoring project in north central Arkansas. This area is a big fishing area, with both lakes and rivers.

My idea, which I first shared a while back on this blog site, is to use the activity of fishing as a vehicle for delivering some important life lessons to single-parent lower income youth. It is a simple idea – use a fun activity to bring together an adult mentor and a young person, with the hope that through the fun times together, discussion of some important life issues will emerge, and the adult can provide some important guidance for the young person.

I very much enjoy fishing, and I fish in this area of Arkansas. I also enjoy golf, and I am aware of a similar youth mentoring project that uses golf as the vehicle for teaching life lessons. That golf project is very successful, and it is called “The First Tee.” Golf is primarily an urban activity, whereas fishing is primarily a rural activity.  The project I seek to help establish is for a rural area.

The purposes of my project idea are to help rural lower income youth be motivated to do well in school, seek and receive a good job as an adult, and to help strengthen their communities and our nation. Although this little youth mentoring project would not be the center of anyone’s life, perhaps the mentoring experiences can be one small factor that, when combined with other positive forces, can improve some lives.

Here is my quick report on my experiences.

1. I started in October, 2014 by emailing and calling the offices of two key school officials in the area. I briefly explained my project and asked for a short meeting. I received a response from neither person. Perhaps I am very naïve – but this surprised me.

2. I concluded that the school system might not be my best option, so I asked myself, “Who really cares about the youth in the area?” My first thought was people in churches. So in March, 2015, I emailed one priest and 14 pastors of different denominations in this north central Arkansas area. In my email, I shared my idea, and I then asked them to respond to the following question: “Do you believe that a project like this might be of value in this area?” I received 6 responses, with 4 being positive. Nine pastors did not respond.

I’m disappointed, and I have to ask myself if there is something wrong with my idea and/or me. I’m still sorting that out, but I am leaning in the direction of concluding that I haven’t made any huge mistakes, and that the idea has some merit.

Some of the wind is out of my sails. Something is wrong.

Maybe the problem is that I am an outsider. Maybe the problem is one of a hundred other possibilities. I just don’t know. I don’t want to push this project on anyone, but I can’t step away from this idea yet. It is smart to step away at the right time, but I just can’t do that now.

I submit the above report partly to share that work in the social entrepreneurship arena can be difficult.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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