Grant Proposals – Part 3

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Hello, all. Thank you for taking the time to monitor our posts. I am now presenting some ideas that might help you write strong grant proposals to help fund a project you have, or perhaps a project you start in the future. In my last post, I shared ideas about the first two parts of a grant proposal. They are:

1. Title Page
2. Abstract.

In this post, I will share ideas about the third part of a grant proposal, the Statement of Need.

Proposal Part 3: Statement of Need

The Statement of Need is a section of our proposal that has the responsibility of convincing the reviewers that there is true need for the project we want to fund with the grant being sought. Most grant funding with which I am familiar is extremely competitive. Although many small, local community funding sources seem to almost always provide small grants for local projects, the regional and national funding sources receive many more grant proposals than they are able to fund. Thus, there is great competition for grants at this level. Consequently, we need to have a powerful Statement of Need section in our proposals.

I have heard it said that in real estate, there are three keys to a sale: location, location, location. Based on this catchy saying about real estate, I suggest that there are three keys to a powerful Statement of Need: documentation, documentation, documentation. My point is that in the Statement of Need section of our proposal, we need to not simply state that there is need, but we must powerfully document that need.

Here are the types of information that I encourage be included in a Statement of Need.

- data documenting the local rate of the problem to be addressed (cite your sources)
- quotes from experts documenting the existence of the problem to be addressed 
       (cite your sources)
- quotes from potential clients – or relatives of potential clients (cite your sources)
- any other supportive information that seems appropriate (cite your sources)

It is possible that you may find that one or more of the above items does not exist, but the above is what I encourage. Work with whatever does exist to build the most powerful documentation of the problem as possible, and always cite your sources.

After writing the main body of the Statement of Need, for the end of the Statement of Need, I encourage my grant writing students to briefly share the project idea and explain how the proposed project will at least partly address the problem discussed in the earlier part of the Statement of Need.

In my next few posts, I will discuss the other parts of a powerful grant proposal.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Grant Proposals – Parts 1 and 2

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

In the next few posts, I will spend some time discussing some issues related to writing a powerful grant proposal. In this post, I share some of my thoughts regarding the first two parts of a grant proposal.

Proposal Part 1: The Title Page

The Title Page is just what the label suggests. This is the first page of a formal proposal, and it includes some very important information.

The Title Page should include:

 1. The title of the project
 2. The funding source to which the grant proposal is being submitted
 3. The date of submission
 4. The name and contact information of the leader of the agency that is applying for the grant.

Sometimes, in my university courses on grant proposal writing, my students want to “spice up” their proposals by adding a border around the title page, or having some computer-designed images in the margin area, or making some of the key words in the title bolded or in color. Standard practice involves omitting anything fancy on the title page (or other pages of the proposal).

Proposal Part 2: The Abstract

The abstract is a summary of the most important parts of the proposal. This should be written after the rest of the proposal is completed, but it should be placed right after the Title Page. The Abstract allows the reviewers to get a quick understanding of the entire proposal before they take the time to read the entire proposal. This is a very important part of the proposal, as I have heard that some reviewers may not read the rest of a proposal if what they read in the Abstract does not sound good to them. Here is what I encourage be included in the Abstract.

In a brief manner:

1. Explain the needs of the clients to be served.
2. Explain how the needs of the clients will be met by the project by describing the planned project.
3. Explain the actions by the applicant agency to make the project a success.
4. Explain the costs of the project.
5. Document the competence of the applicant agency to conduct the proposed project.
6. Explain how the success of the project will be documented after the project has been conducted.

The above are the first two parts of a grant proposal that includes the following parts: Title Page, Abstract, Statement of Need, Goal, Objectives, Procedures, Budget, Qualifications, Evaluation, Sustainability, Dissemination, Sources Cited, and the Appendix. I will discuss the other parts of a grant proposal in later posts.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Grant writing for social entrepreneurship projects

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Although this blog is about both social entrepreneurship and grant proposal writing, the recent posts have focused exclusively on social entrepreneurship. For the next several posts, I would like to focus on grant proposal writing.

One important point related to grants that fund projects to help others in need is that they typically are given only to nonprofit organizations. These types of grants are not given to individuals. My point in mentioning this is to be sure people new to this area recognize that they will not be able to obtain grants simply as a person. For example, funding sources in the U.S. typically require that the applicant organization have 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue status.

I want to emphasize that I believe it is a weakness for a nonprofit organization to depend very heavily on grants. Grants can be wonderful supplements to other revenue sources, but few nonprofits can sustain substantial grant generation over the decades that most nonprofits hope to exist.  Sales of products or services are too often overlooked by nonprofits, yet these can be important sources of income.

In this post, I would like to list and define the main parts of a grant proposal. (Smaller funding sources do not require all of these parts to a grant proposal, but the larger funding sources normally do.)

Title Page
                – On this first page, we provide the title of the proposal and our organization’s
                   name and contact information.

Abstract
               – This is a summary of every important part of our proposal.

 Statement of Need               
                – In this section, we document the need for the project for which we seek the
                  grant.

 Goal
                – This is a brief, broad statement about the purpose of the proposed project.

 Objectives
                – These should be more specific statements about the purposes of the proposed
                   project.

Procedures
                – In this section, we explain the important tasks the applicant organization will
                   perform to help the project be successful.

 Budget
                – In this section, we explain how grant funds, as well as other resources, will be
                   used on the proposed project.

 Qualifications
                – In this section, we explain the competence of 1) the applicant organization, and
                   2) the key personnel that will be involved in the proposed project.

 Evaluation
                – In this section, we explain how – once the project has ended or at
                   designated time periods - we will determine the extent to which we attain what
                   the proposed project is supposed to attain.

 Sustainability
                – In this section, we explain how we will continue the project after grant funds
                   have ended.

 Dissemination
                – In this section, we explain how we will share the results of our proposed project
                   with other organizations that might be able to benefit from what we have
                   learned.

 Sources Cited
                – In this section, we list all sources we have used to help write the proposal.

 Appendix
                – In this section, we provide information that is important but does not justify
                   being placed in the main text of our proposal.

In the next few posts, I will provide more details on each of the sections of the proposal listed above.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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American Sniper (the movie) and social entrepreneurship

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

In the United States, a movie that is just starting to be shown is named American Sniper. It is a story about a U.S. military person, Chris Kyle, who served as a sniper a few years ago when the U.S. was physically in Iraq. Most of the movie involved a focus on Chris in the military, but some time in the movie was devoted to documenting difficulty that Chris faced in adjusting to his life back in the U.S.  

I just saw the movie, and it struck me toward the end that this is partly a story about a social entrepreneurship project.

When Chris returned home, he stated to people that he regretted that he could not save more U.S. military lives through his very successful military sniping. One person he shared this with was a Veteran’s Administration psychiatrist with whom he spoke when seeking help for his difficulty in adjusting to his non-military life. The psychiatrist suggested that there were many Iraq War veterans whose lives need saving right here in the U.S. – those veterans who are struggling with adjustments after the Iraq military experiences.

Chris then began a project to use firearm shooting as an activity that would allow him to talk with these veterans and try to help them better adjust. Individually, or in small groups, he would take them to a shooting range and just have fun. But he would also be conversing with them, sharing stories about the war and his struggles at home.

Chris found a new way to help people in need. This is a classic example of social entrepreneurship.

There are two points that jump out at me from this story. The first is that the social entrepreneurship project Chris started involved issues with which he was intimately familiar – shooting, military experience, and difficulty adjusting.

This point has meaning beyond the movie. If we have experienced a problem in our lives, then we have a depth of understanding about this problem. This experience might put us in an excellent position to help others currently experiencing this problem.

The second point that jumps out at me is that Chris found help with his adjustment problem by helping others with their adjustment problems.

This point also has meaning beyond the movie. Helping others normally brings strength to us. Sometimes, helping others in need has a therapeutic influence on us.

I recommend the movie. The ending is sad.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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An 8 week no-travel grant writing course I teach

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

Since grants are often important funding sources for our projects to help others in need, my department at my university has been a strong supporter of me teaching grant proposal writing courses. I have been teaching these courses for at least 30 years, and they are among my most fun courses to teach. The reason I enjoy teaching these courses is that students understand exactly how the skills they are learning will be used, and this increases their motivation to do well in the course.

The upcoming 8 week course costs $175 and starts on February 5th, 2015. I created this course structure specifically for busy people who do not have time to take full semester courses. We start from the beginning and go through every important aspect of writing high-quality proposals for both government and private funding sources. Although I created this course for beginners, several very experienced proposal writers have taken this course as a refresher. Student feedback has been very positive.

Students in this course can earn a Certificate in Grant Proposal Writing by scoring 70% or higher on a comprehensive test at the end of the course. Unlike many grant writing courses that give a certificate for attendance, our certification  is performance based. This brings greater integrity to our certificate.

Here are the parts of a proposal we cover in the course.

Title Page
Abstract
Statement of Need
Goal
Objectives
Procedures
Budget
Qualifications
Evaluation
Sustainability
Dissemination
Sources Cited
Appendix 

If you are interested in learning how to write high-quality grant proposals, I invite you to consider taking my February 5th course. Here is a web address that provides more information about the course, as well as a way to register.

 http://www.fhsu.edu/sociology/university-grant-writing-certification-program/

 Thank you for reading our small blog.

 Best regards. – Keith

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Social entrepreneurship projects we start don’t need to consume us

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

As some of the readers of this blog continue to think about if/when they will start a project to help others, I would like to mention that projects we start do not need to involve full time jobs for us. They can be small and minimally demanding.

Many projects are small enough to not need a formal organization as a sponsor. The bigger initiatives will need funding and a well organized sponsor. For these bigger projects, we should consider finding an existing organization that will initiate and oversee our project, or start a nonprofit corporation ourselves. (The master’s degree program I oversee at my university prepares people to work within nonprofits as well as to start a nonprofit.)

But one of the most exciting approaches to helping others as a social entrepreneur is to start small projects that don’t need an organization behind them. In this post, I would like to share some of my thoughts about these small projects. I think the label “micro social entrepreneurship” fits these projects.

I believe that simplicity is a strength to our projects. The fewer the number of moving parts, the less opportunity for malfunction.  Sometimes small and simple are better than large and complex. I am not suggesting that small and simple will always work, for some issues are not adequately addressed by a small and simple project. What I am suggesting is that some non-complex issues may be most effectively addressed by small and simple projects.

For some reason, an analogy that comes to mind is a neighborhood sandlot baseball game when I was a kid. Kids in the neighborhood would get together and a game soon emerged.  This might not be a great analogy, but my point is that one or a few people addressing a local neighborhood issue might be on a similar grassroots level as a neighborhood kids’ baseball game.

In winter, handing out blankets to homeless in a specific portion of a city, or donating used coats to lower income youth in one school might be examples of the type of project I have in mind – simple but meaningful.

Another approach that is slightly more involved is to use an existing organization rather than start one ourselves. For the last several years, I have been helping with a youth mentoring project on the Santee Sioux reservation of the Santee Sioux Nation in northern Nebraska. The Tribe is happy to be the keeper of this project, and I simply assist some of the tribal members. This arrangement takes a big burden from me. The Santee Nation has an organizational structure that oversees this project, and I simply help plan activities for the kids and show up for most of the outings with the kids.

The main point of this post is that some project ideas can result in very meaningful work but not take a great deal of our time. Please consider starting 1) a micro social entrepreneurship project or 2) a small project under the organizational umbrella of an existing organization.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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We have only one opportunity?

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

I sometimes hear that we have to be ready to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves to us in life, for those opportunities appear only briefly. Certainly, some opportunities are like that – they appear and then vanish, and if we don’t act, the opportunity is gone. But other opportunities last for a long time. 

We have just started a new year, and as I reflect on what lies ahead for this year, I think of the breadth of opportunity that exists to assist others in need. On a daily basis, we have the opportunity to show kindness and respect to others. But what is most strongly on my mind is the opportunity to start one small project to help some small group of people in need. It seems that this opportunity never ends.

I can think of few other opportunities involving meaningful activity that are so continuous. What excites me is that this opportunity exists through most years of life. Young people searching for meaning in life as well as a career might select nonprofit work. Middle-aged people who are not satisfied with their jobs might choose to make a career change to nonprofit work. And older people, especially those retired, may find a meaningful outlet for their talents in nonprofit work.

As an important footnote to the above paragraph, I want to state that meaningful projects to help others in need can also occur through for-profit initiatives. My friend and colleague who is writing some of our blog posts, Kevin Wilson, has rightly emphasized this important point in some of his posts. However, my focus is normally in the nonprofit arena.

One of my hopes for this blog on social entrepreneurship is to help nurture seeds of interest within the readers of this blog. You aren’t reading my words unless you already have an interest in helping some others in need. My hope is to help you see the opportunities before you, including the steps you might take to build your eventual project.

If you are new to this blog, please glance through titles to previous posts. There have been several posts that provide instruction on how to begin. You might be especially interested in the series of posts involving building your Project Development Report.

Even if right now is not a good time in your life to start a project to help others, I hope you will keep the spark alive within you, and that you will stay in contact with this blog. Hopefully, in the many posts, we will stumble onto one or two ideas that eventually help you.

2015 is here, and opportunities to help others are all around us. 

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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