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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Grant Proposals – The budget

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Hello to all. I hope all is well with you. I am continuing my writing about parts of a grant proposal, with the hope that one or more of my comments might help some of you write more powerful proposals to get money to help others in need.

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

I would now like to comment on:

7. The Budget

Of course, the budget is where we present information about money we are seeking from a funding source. But we are also sharing information about what the applicant agency will be providing to help the project be a success. Unless otherwise instructed by the funding source, the budget section of our proposal should include a table with the items that involve cost on the left column (such as salaries, travel, and advertising), and three headings at the top of the table. The three headings are:

1. TOTAL

Under this heading, for each item we have listed in the left column, we identify the total cost (or value) in dollars.

2. AMOUNT PROVIDED

Under this heading, we indicate how much the applicant agency will contribute to each item listed on the left column. This may be a surprise to people new to proposal writing, but when our agency seeks grant money, we are usually expected to significantly contribute to the total cost of the project we seek to conduct. Our contribution does not normally need to be cash, for we may contribute part of an employee’s time, meeting space, and other commodities within the organization. All of what we list should be converted to a dollar value, and the bigger the “Amount Provided,” the better.

3. AMOUNT REQUESTED

The Amount Requested is what we are asking the funding agency to provide. This is the “AMOUNT PROVIDED” subtracted from the “TOTAL.”

Another point worthy of mention is that we should not estimate any cost. The strongest proposals have dollar figures reflecting exact costs as determined from searches and vendor commitments. Detailed accuracy in our budget is a strength. Approximations of costs are usually considered to be unacceptable.

There are other issues involved in a strong budget section to a grant proposal, but the above ideas are some of the most important.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Grant Proposals – Procedures

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Hello. I am about half way through sharing brief ideas about the key parts of a quality grant proposal. In my previous posts on parts of grant proposals, I included the following.

1. Title Page
2. Abstract
3. Statement of Need
4. Goal
5. Objectives

I would now like to discuss Procedures.

6. Procedures

The Procedures section of a grant proposal explains the main activities of the agency applying for the grant money to make the project a success. Recall that “objectives” are client centered, so here we have an important distinction with Procedures because Procedures are agency centered.

Objectives – client centered (tells what clients will do)
Procedures – agency centered (tells what the applicant agency will do)

There are normally quite a few activities by the applicant agency, and we must decide on what the most important ones are. We want to share as many agency activities as are needed to help the grant proposal reviewers fully understand the role the applicant agency will play.

Examples of procedures include:

- Advertise for a Project Director
- Interview Project Director applicants
- Hire a Project Director

Working with an exercise project, other examples could include:

- Reserve a room for exercise classes
- Prepare exercise curriculum
- Monitor and record client improvements in their health

I encourage you to use a time line table in which you have the following headings:

- Time
- Activity
- Person Responsible

Under the heading “Time” is when each activity will occur. Under the heading “Activity” are the activities by the applicant agency. Under the heading “Person Responsible” we list the job title of the person who will have the responsible for each agency activity.

In addition to this table, we should have a narrative in which we explain in paragraph form what the agency will be doing to help make the project a success.

The Procedures section of our grant proposal is a very important. I hope my ideas have been helpful.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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What is a Non-profit Organization?

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Kevin Wilson)

It is easy for people to get confused with the actual meaning of non-profit organization (NPO). This confusion actually helps the movement. For some reason, many people think non-profit organizations don’t make any money and that they are in the red all the time. Since we have seen so much corruption in the business world we feel good about a business that doesn’t make any money. Well, that doesn’t make any sense! If they don’t make money, how can they continue to operate? When we see 501(c) 3 designations, many of us feel reassured the money is being used in a good way. We think all the money is going to be used up and more since NPOs have little money to spare. Why would we want to support a type of business that really isn’t being that successful as a business? If they aren’t doing this right, they are obviously not completing their mission of service to others either.

In reality, non-profit organizations continue to follow a moral path unlike any other business model. Any money made in profit goes back into the organization. Imagine if all the money made went to one person. This person can increase his or her own material wealth, but the business does not benefit from this money. For non-profits, the profit, any money made, goes back into the business. Instead of one person keeping it in his or her bank, it goes to increase the organization’s ability to complete its mission. More staff can be hired. More programs can be created. Existing programs can be strengthened. An organization should progress and develop successfully with these sources of constant revenue. And these organizations have to fall under certain categories, which are meant to improve society.

So NPO is a business model designated to improve society with benefits from the government for following a business model that encourages sustainability and growth. By using the profits from the business instead of these profits going to one person, a unique moral business model is created. We need sustainable, lasting projects addressing social problems, and this business model seems to be the one best suited for this.

A non-profit can make lots of profit and many of them do. The name is really misleading. There is a movement starting that would like to take “non” out of non-profit and non-governmental organization, but this concept does not seem to have taken hold yet.  Regardless, the “non” in the word definitely allows people to come up with their own misleading definition for non-profit and this leads to disappointment when they see non-profits functioning as businesses. 

Regardless,  the NPO model continues to be an ethical and sustainable business model that can be an example for other businesses in the future. While for profit social enterprises are the next best step, there is nothing like an organization that puts their profit completely back into the business.

Kevin Wilson, Doctoral Student
Capella University

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Grant Proposals – More on objectives

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

In recent posts, I have addressed issues related to the following parts of grant proposals.

1. Title Page
2. Abstract
3. Statement of Need
4. Goal
5. Objectives

In my last post, I shared some ideas related to goals and objectives, and I would like to further discuss objectives. I view objectives to be the most central part of a grant proposal. When I was reviewing proposals for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I always first went to the objectives to see exactly what the applicant was proposing to do. As I mentioned in my last post, objectives are “purpose” statements that provide details in measurable form.

Since different types of objectives can be used to emphasize different parts of our proposed project, in this post, I would like to point out three different types of objectives. But first, I want to restate a few important points I mentioned in my last post.

I encourage my students to include the following in their objectives:

                – Time in history (By when will something occur?)
                – Client centered (Objectives should refer to client behaviors.)
                – Measurability (All parts of the objective should be in measurable form.) 

In my last post on goals and objectives, I worked with the idea of a project to reduce heart attacks among 55 to 60 year olds within Ellis County, Kansas. Here is the objective I shared in that last post.

Objective: After six months of this project, participants in the “exercise at work” program will average at least a 5% reduction in their resting pulse rate (as compared to their resting pulse rate before starting this exercise program).

In this post, I want to briefly discuss these three types of objectives.

 1. Performance outcome objective
2. Process objective
3. Product objective

The example of the objective I used above, in which a drop in resting pulse rate is predicted, is what I call a “performance outcome objective,” since it specifies a certain level of performance by the clients – at least a 5% reduction in resting pulse rate. This is a powerful type of objective because it predicts a specified level of a desired change in clients.

Whereas a performance outcome objective specifies a level of change in clients due to our project, a process objective simply states a behavior by clients, with no level of change in the clients as a result of involvement in our project. Here is an example of a process objective.

Within the first month of this project, at least 40% of all workers 55 to 60 years of age who are employed by participating workplaces in Ellis County, Kansas will participate in the “exercise at work” program.

Note that the above objective refers to client behavior (participating in the exercise program), but does not involve any predicted change in the clients due to involvement in the program.

The third type of objective listed above is the product objective, which specifies that clients will create a physical product. For certain projects, this type of objective can be useful. Here is an example.

At the end of each month, participants will turn in to their exercise team leader their daily log that documents their resting pulse rate before they go to sleep each night.

So I have shared three types of objectives that we can use in our grant proposals. Note that each one includes time in history, is client centered, and specifies measurable client behavior. There is more to discuss regarding objectives, but the above is adequate for now. I will soon continue discussion of other parts of grant proposals.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Grant Proposals – Parts 4 and 5

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

(Written by Keith Campbell)

I would like to continue sharing some of my suggestions as you write different parts of your grant proposals. In recent posts, I covered the following.

1. Title Page
2. Abstract
3. Statement of Need

I will now begin discussion of the fourth and fifth parts of a grant proposal.

4. Goal
5. Objectives

Both the goal and objectives share the “purpose” of our proposed project – what we want to accomplish with the project. Of course, this is a crucial issue for the funding source to know before deciding to fund our grant request. It is also an important issue for us. We must be very clear in our mind exactly what we seek to accomplish with our proposed project. If we are fuzzy on our purpose, then our grant proposal cannot be powerful.

Although both the goal and objectives both refer to the purpose of the proposed project, they are very different from each other. Here are some of those differences.

- There should normally be only one goal statement, but several objectives (normally from two to five).
- The goal statement will tell what the agency will try to accomplish, while objectives refer to client behaviors.
- The goal statement is a general statement of purpose, more abstract than the objectives, and not in measurable form.
- The objectives are more specific statements of purpose, and are in measurable form.
- Objectives include the specifics of
                – Time in history (when something will occur)
                – Reference to the clients who will participate in the project
                – Reference to client outcomes in measurable form

If you are not familiar with these issues, I suspect that the above points sound confusing. Here are a couple examples that should be helpful.

Goal: To reduce deaths from heart attacks among 50 to 60 year old residents of Ellis County, Kansas

For a proposed project that will involve an “exercise at work” program (one that collaborates with employers in Ellis County, Kansas to allow organized employee exercise for the last 15 minutes of the lunch break and the first 15 minutes right after the lunch break is over), here is an objective that could accompany the above goal statement.

Objective: After six months of this project, participants in the “exercise at work” program will average at least a 5% reduction in their resting pulse rate (as compared to their resting pulse rate before starting this exercise program).

Please notice that the goal statement is a general statement involving what the agency applying for the grant hopes to accomplish with the proposed project.

Notice also 1) how the objective focuses on clients, and refers to behaviors that should contribute to the goal (reducing heart attacks), and 2) that the objective is very specific about measuring expected client outcome.

The goal and objectives are a core part of a grant proposal. I will discuss objectives a bit more in my next post.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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A grassroots project that just popped up in my community

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Hello. For the last three weeks, I have been addressing grant proposal writing issues, and I will return to that discussion next week. However, yesterday I heard of a grassroots project that I would like to share.

One of the points I have made in these posts is that some of the best ideas and most of the energy for projects to help others don’t come from professional social entrepreneurs. Most of the ideas and energy come from everyday people who are living their lives and see needs not being met.

Yesterday, before a meeting started, I was chatting with a friend of mine. We had a few minutes before the meeting was to begin, and she mentioned that she had participated in a steering committee to start an elder care service in my community. I had not heard of this being started, so I was very interested, and I heard several of the details.

The situation involved a woman who was caring for her aging mother. This caregiver was aware of others in the community who were caring for an aging parent, a situation that can sometimes involve much energy and time. A service that has emerged in many communities is what is called elder day care, which involves a safe place where elderly who cannot fully care from themselves can spend a few hours during selected days of the week. This provides a new and stimulating environment for the elderly person, as well as a break for the caregiver to run errands.

One fortunate aspect of the situation in my community was an existing nonprofit organization that was interested in collaborating to create an elder care service in my community. When we can find an existing organization that will house our project, this is often a big benefit. In these situations, we do not need to form our own nonprofit – we work with an existing nonprofit.

Many communities already have this type of elder care service, but smaller towns in rural areas (such as where I live) often don’t have this service. It often takes one person who is close to a problem to “feel” the situation and build the energy to make a difference.

As my friend was telling me about the evolution of this project yesterday, I found myself smiling. What a beautiful example of grassroots social entrepreneurship.

This blog is devoted to encouraging people to step forward and make a difference. Taking that step is sometimes difficult, and everyone who is aware of a problem will not step forward. But some of us do. Very cool.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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