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
Statement of Need
Sources Cited

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.

 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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Emotional Intelligence and Leadership for Social Enterprises

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 1 comment

(Written by Kevin Wilson)

Good leadership is essential for the success and growth of any enterprise, social or otherwise. Successful leaders whether they know it or not, have strong Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a necessary component to any good leader. I would like to discuss more about Emotional Intelligence and how recognizing our abilities to use this intelligence can improve our leadership skills and ultimately improve our ability to make change with our social enterprises!

Emotional Intelligence can be defined as a concept that deals with one’s ability to use emotions in a neutral or positive way when communicating and dealing with issues.  Being able to handle one’s emotions is important in every aspect of life, especially for those who are decision makers. We all know how letting our emotions get out of control can lead to some hasty decisions. Decision makers need to be able to use emotions effectively. One is not required to be emotionless. Decision makers just need to be able to manage emotions in a way in which they do not interfere with the decision making process. Successful decision makers with good Emotional Intelligence abilities will actually be able to use their emotions and the emotions of others in a positive way to effectively communicate and solve problems. Research has shown there are many benefits of understanding and improving Emotional Intelligence, including a more efficient and productive work environment. (Ljungholm, 2014)

There are differing opinions as to whether Emotional Intelligence is something that can be learned. Some feel Emotional Intelligence is something we are born with. Regardless, I believe we all have the ability to improve our emotional intelligence. Initially we need to recognize when we are required to use our emotional intelligence.

I will leave it up to you, the reader of this blog, to further explore the concept of Emotional Intelligence but I would like to discuss for a minute how one might work on his or her own Emotional Intelligence. Do some research and see how your own Emotional Intelligence abilities have developed. You might find you need to pay more attention to the ways in which you use your Emotional Intelligence. Next, get a better understanding of the different components of this concept. Emotional Intelligence doesn’t just involve dealing with one’s own emotions. It also involves the emotions of those in which we are communicating.

After gaining a better understanding of Emotional intelligence it is time to start recognizing when a situation requires Emotional Intelligence. In the beginning it is usually fairly easy. When you are dealing with a problem, and you start to have feelings inside such as stress or anger, this is where we are required to use our Emotional Intelligence. When a co-worker or colleague begins to show frustration, this is where Emotional Intelligence comes into play. It will not be hard to recognize where we need to use Emotional Intelligence once you understand the concept. When you find yourself in one of these situations, the best thing to do is practice. The more experience we have the better we will be. Afterwards, assess how things went. Did applying the concept of Emotional Intelligence to the situation help or improve anything? Recognizing, practicing and assessing each time will help improve our ability to efficiently use our Emotional Intelligence.

This discussion is part of a recent trend in post discussions geared toward leadership. Competent leaders are essential for the success of social enterprises. I personally believe even more so for non-profit organizations who have less financial freedoms. There are many aspects important to social entrepreneurs, and leadership is one of the most important. If you are interested in starting or running a non or for profit social enterprise, you are working to become a leader and you will be required to learn the skills necessary for running a successful social enterprise.

Good luck!

Kevin Wilson
Doctoral Student
Capella University

Ljungholm, D. ( 2014) Emotional Intelligence in Organizational Behavior, Economics, Management & Financial Markets. Sep2014, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p128-133. 6p.

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The Future Social Entrepreneur

Posted by on Dec 30, 2014 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Kevin Wilson)

I often hear people say you can’t make a good living in the social sector. Non-profits often run on tight

budgets and don’t pay well.  While there is some truth to this, most people that talk about low wages of non-profits have no idea some executives of non-profits make six figures. There are definitely good paying jobs in the social sector, assisting and starting social enterprises.

One thing I have found is that often, social activists turned social entrepreneurs, choose a different path than following the dollar sign. Indeed this is one of the main points of social entrepreneurship.  One might find the fight they are really passionate about doesn’t generate much funding. This might sound discouraging but the future social entrepreneur will not be stopped by the potential for making lower wages doing what they really want to do. There are options.

I think it is important for anyone deciding to be a social entrepreneur to take a serious look at what one wants to do in his or her life. If you have a real passion for helping others, and inspiring social change, you are probably not someone who is interested in a life of consumerism.  So it will not be as important to you to make a lot of money.

Many people will be very successful starting and running a social enterprise, be it non or for profit. Just as many will find themselves in a continuous financial struggle to get paid and keep an organization going. So for those of us struggling, what can we do?

We can live more simply.

I live with a growing group of social activists who intentionally share resources in order to be able to continue working for the causes we believe in. We live in several co-houses, share land, grow food, shop at food co-ops, catch and reuse water, bike, bus, share cars, and we share a common vision of living intentionally in order to make our lives and the lives around us better. Come to find out, I now have more money to do the things I want to do than I did before I began intentional sharing resources.

 This may be an extreme example and indeed most people right now are new to this way of living, but I provide it as an example of what one can do. If your mission is to make change in the world, you might have to make change in your world too! You may have to sacrifice some things we take for granted in our consumeristic culture, such as disposable income and material wealth. 

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” (Thoreau) 

Kevin Wilson
Doctoral Student
Capella University

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A thought during the Christmas season

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

In many parts of the world, this time of the year is a holiday season. It is interesting to note that the idea of social entrepreneurship has been around for a long time, and that the major religions strongly encourage us to assist others in need.

Happy Holidays to all who are celebrating at this time of year. Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating Christmas. – Keith

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My conversation with Pushpa Basnet in Kathmandu, Nepal

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of talking through Skype with Pushpa Basnet, who is the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year. She is a powerful young person who is helping children who live with their parents in a Kathmandu prison. (Nepal allows parents in prison to raise their children in the prison if there is no other adult to care for the children.)

Pushpa and I have been in contact for over a year, and my conversation with her yesterday was an interview in which I asked her to describe the difficulties she has had with her social entrepreneurship project. It is understandable that publicity on highly successful projects to help others focuses on the positives of the project – what works. But I have a deep interest in learning about the problems within these successful projects.

It’s not that I am a negative person. That’s not why I want to focus on problems. It is because we have so much to learn from difficulties faced and that are eventually overcome. In my capacity as a teacher of social entrepreneurship courses, I want to bring to my students not only the shiny, beautiful side of successful projects, but also the darker side that involves difficulties. Unfortunately, when media profile these successful social entrepreneurs and their projects, we are exposed to little information about difficulties faced.

My interview with Pushpa is the first of several interviews I have planned with CNN Heroes. In all of these interviews, I will be focusing on problems faced, and how those problems were overcome. I will share some of the content of these interviews in this blog, as well on the eventual web site of the Global Community of Social Entrepreneurs, with which I am associated.

We will begin transcribing Pushpa’s interview soon, and I will later share more information about what Pushpa shared with us yesterday. But I want to mention a couple points now. Pushpa said she was strongly discouraged from starting a project to help the children being raised by their incarcerated parents. Her father, especially, thought she was making a big mistake. Another fascinating point she shared was that she was not a good university student. She said her test scores were very bad.

A part of the point she was making by sharing this information was that regardless of the discouragement we may receive from others, and regardless of how unsuccessful we might be in some parts of our lives (for her, it was her university performance), we can be big successes if we follow our hearts, if our work becomes a reflection of the passion within us.

Pushpa is the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year. (This means she was selected as the number 1 hero among all CNN Heroes nominated in that year – a huge honor.) But she didn’t start her project to receive any award. She started helping children being raised in prison because she felt that she had to step forward and help.

There are tens of thousands of other heroes in our world about whom we will never hear, people who have started small projects to help others in need. They will receive no formal awards or recognition. Pushpa is a true hero, one of a few who has received the recognition she deserves. I salute her. But I also salute the many other people around our world who are social entrepreneurs and whose names and projects will never be known to most of us. True heroes do not seek or need recognition.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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