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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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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