A passion to make a difference

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell) 

I just received an email from a person in Thailand who is interested in applying to my university’s master’s degree program in social entrepreneurship. This person is a U.S. citizen who is currently living in Thailand, where there is much human trafficking. The issue this person seeks to address in her master’s program is human trafficking, and my interaction with this person has stimulated my thinking about our passions in life.

There are few issues more compelling than human trafficking, and I am struck by how well positioned my new friend is to make a difference in our world. What a wonderful opportunity she has to take a distance master’s program in social entrepreneurship, stay where she currently lives in Thailand, and then work within an existing NGO (or start a new NGO) to help reduce human trafficking in Thailand.

Passions – strong commitments – are a part of what makes life interesting and fun. Many people think about helping others about whom they care, but most people never take action. Multiple reasons exist for never taking action to help others, and many reasons are very understandable. But my hunch is that almost all of us have some time in our lives that allow the opportunity to take action. One problem is that most people don’t know what steps to take when that time arrives.

This blog site has attempted to provide instruction on step-by-step procedures for starting projects to help others in need. (If you are interested, please go to past posts that provide this information.)In addition, there are many courses in our nation that can help guide us. If the drive is within us, we can learn what steps to take to make a difference.

What categories of people in need do you most want to help? If you have an answer to that question, then please water and fertilize that seed, and allow it to grow. Keep your interest alive until the time is right in life. Then you can make your move.

We don’t need to be in Thailand trying to reduce human trafficking, although being there is a wonderful opportunity. The only place we need to be is right where we are. If there are people around us, there are people in need. Working within our communities is a noble action.

What drives you? If you have a passion to make a difference, then you can make a difference. The world is open to you. The world is waiting for you.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Finding our place in life

Posted by on Aug 19, 2015 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Although I have lived quite a few years (66), I don’t claim to understand much. However, I have had experiences that have been valuable to me, and tentative conclusions have emerged based on those experiences. I would like to share some ideas about finding “our place” in life.

Many, maybe most, of us are searching in life. Especially younger people are trying to find a path with which they feel comfortable and that brings them meaning, but I think it is not only younger people who are searching. We seek many things in life, some that are basically important, and others that seem important but are not.

That last statement sounds arrogant, even though I don’t mean it to be. I am suggesting that some things you are currently seeking might not be very important. Of course, I don’t know you, and that statement could be very wrong as applied to you. I am simply speculating. My perception is that at some time in life, all of us seek some things that seem important at the time but are actually not important.

Going down different paths and finding dead ends on some of those paths is an important part of life. Finding paths that are unfulfilling helps us find the right paths for us. Walking down what becomes a dead end path is a valuable part of life, for it gives us perspective that is helpful in identifying wholesome, meaningful paths in life.

In my life, I have walked down some dead ends, and I think I have better perspective because of those experiences. I want to think that all the paths I am now on are truly important, but they might not be. I want to think that everything I am now seeking and trying to accomplish is truly important, but I might later find this not to be true. That’s ok. All we can do is our best at the moment.

Where I want to end up in this note is to suggest that helping people in need is pure gold in life. I believe that helping others in need is at the core of wholesomeness and meaningfulness. No matter where we are as adults in life, helping others can bring much meaning to us. When we help others, we give. But we also receive something of great value and meaning.

Being a social entrepreneur and starting a project to help others in need is a special path in life. If right now is not a good time for you to start such a project, no problem. Maybe later.

As our spinning world and society encourage us to be popular, rich, powerful, have big houses and drive expensive cars, I believe there is another path that can bring more than all of that. Every path has value because we learn from all experiences, but all paths are not equal. As you continue walking along various paths through this wonderful life, I hope you will consider starting a project to help others in need.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Coalition Building

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Kevin Wilson) 

The non-profit world is an ever changing place, where funding fluxes, help comes and goes and problems increase in scale as populations grow and public agencies reduce services. It is more important now than ever before to begin working with others in addressing social problems.

Building coalitions between members and groups in the community will help to strengthen an agency’s ability to address problems. Leaders in non-profit agencies need to consider the importance of coalition building and the impact it can have on providing services. Coalition building encourages diversity of stakeholders and of leadership styles.

In my community, where we are addressing food insecurities, we are working to build a coalition. Leaders in the community realized that there were many people, like us, who were growing food and trying to work towards a stronger more secure food system for the people in our community. We also want to be a model for future communities and to the future of agriculture. There are many benefits to building coalitions. For us, we may benefit from grants and funding that we could not get on our own. We have access to other resources such as volunteers and other ways to generate revenue.

I often discuss qualities of a successful leader such as compassion, highly developed emotional intelligence and strong transformational leadership skills and I would like to add coalition builder to these qualities as well. We can’t expect to solve the problems in our community all by ourselves. We need others, and the community, to create and sustain successful change.

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How to become a grant writer

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

Many organizations that exist to serve people (such as hospitals, schools, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and local agencies to help people in need) can receive grant funds if someone in their organization can write grant proposals. The skill of writing grant proposals is highly sought. In addition to earning money for writing grant proposals, we can be helping people in need. This is what makes me excited about grant proposal writing. Even though I write proposals only on a volunteer basis these days, I like helping my students build a skill that can bring them money.

Grant proposal writing is not exceedingly difficult, but knowing precisely what funding sources mean when they ask us to write a goal, objectives, and an evaluation is important. Many people learn to write grant proposals simply by jumping in and writing, and learning along the way. But the “quick track” to learning to write grant proposals involves taking a good course on proposal writing.

One of the issues on getting funded is the competition out there. At the state, regional and national levels, a well written proposal is not enough to get money. Outstanding project ideas that are exceedingly well written are the ones that receive the funding. At anything above the local level (such as writing a proposal for a local Wal Mart), the competition is very stiff.

There are many courses on grant proposal writing in our nation. If you are interested in learning to write proposals, I encourage you to search for courses on the Internet. This will give you a feel for the variety of opportunities available to you.

One course you might stumble onto in your search is one I teach for my university. It is an 8 week course that involves no travel. You can do all of the work at home, but some agencies allow their staff to work on my course at work. Some agencies even pay for my course, because they understand the value to the agency to have a proposal writer on staff.

My next 8 week grant writing course starts on September 10, and the cost is $175 (a much lower cost than many of the other courses). If you happen to want to learn proposal writing, I would be happy to work with you. Here is the web address for learning more about my course and how to register:

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

Over the last 10 years, I think I have taught about 1800 students in this 8 week course. Although every student who gets funded doesn’t write to tell me about it, some do. I am aware of a few million dollars being obtained from my past students after taking my course. This makes me feel really good.

If you are in need of a grant writing course, I encourage you to take one that looks good to you – even if it is not mine. We need more good grant writers bringing in money to help people in need!

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Report on possible youth mentoring project in northern Arkansas

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell)

For around one year, I have been working on setting the stage for the emergence of a youth mentoring project in a rural area of north central Arkansas. The area is around Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes, as well as the White and Norfork rivers. This is fishing country. My idea is to use fishing as the activity around which to build a youth mentoring project.

The focus would be on lower income youth, maybe even families in which a father is not present. There is a fair amount of poverty here, and my simple idea is to try to bring another adult into the lives of a few of the kids who might benefit from another adult’s perspective. Since fishing is so prevalent here, and most kids enjoy fishing, to use fishing as the fun activity for a mentoring program seems reasonable. In addition, fresh fish could be taken home for food after successful outings.

My father first took me to fish the White River in 1959. That was when I was 10 years old, and I have come back many times through the years. I love this area. I have been teaching at my university on the plains of Kansas for 41 years, and I am used to not having a lot of trees around me. But I love the forest, and I find that- along with exciting waters – in the Arkansas Ozarks. Since I spend some time in this north central Arkansas place, my mind sometimes drifts from fishing and having fun to helping some of the people here.

I am writing to report that in the last few weeks, I have had a couple good meetings to discuss the youth mentoring idea with a few people in the local community. We have decided to start a steering committee to discuss specific issues involved in a possible mentoring project. Examples of issues to be decided are:

1. On what ages should this project focus?
2. Should this be a summer-only mentoring project (since fishing is mainly in the summer)|
3. What financial expenses will we have?
4. How would we generate income for expenses (insurance, for example)?
5. Should we try to run this using only volunteers, or should we have a paid director?
6. What specific qualifications for adult mentors (such as background checks), and rules should be developed to assure the safety of youth?
7. What safety rules around water should be developed for safe fishing?
8.Shall we start with only 5-10 youth in the first year to test the idea?

I still don’t know if this idea will survive. There will be a lot of work involved, even for a simple project like this. I have hit a few stumbling spots, as when some local people I email never respond to me. Whenever that happens, it makes me question if I should continue. But I am still moving, one small step at a time.

So right now, I am trying to form a steering committee. I would like for email discussion to occur among members of this committee through August and September, and then I would like to hold a face-to-face meeting of the steering committee in October.

This effort has added stress to my life, for at every step there has been some difficulty. But I still feel excitement for the idea. Maybe this can work. It’s worth a try.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Diplomas Now – A highly successful nonprofit

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell) 

I was recently in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I read a story in the local newspaper about a nonprofit I had not heard of before. The name of the nonprofit is Diplomas Now, and as most of us would assume from that name, they seek to increase graduation rates. This nonprofit started in Philadelphia in 2008, where it worked in a 700-student middle school. Because of their success, they now work with other school systems to increase graduation rates.

The first step in their approach is to identify struggling students. This is done through working with local school officials and teachers to apply a profiling system focusing on chronic absenteeism, poor behavior, and low achievement in core courses. The next steps include developing a strategic plan for each struggling student, implementing that plan, and then closely tracking each student. For those students in greatest need, contact is made as-needed with community resources such as counseling, health care, housing, food, and clothing.

There are many more details about each Intervention step, but I would like to focus on reported outcomes. The following report involves one Tulsa middle school and one Tulsa high school participating in this program for two years. Each year, over 800 students attended these schools. Here are the reported outcomes.

– 51% reduction in the percent of students with poor attendance
– 80% reduction in the number of suspended students
– 83% reduction in the number of students failing math
– 88% reduction in the number of students failing English

These results are amazing to me. Substantial improvement in client performance appears to be caused by Diplomas Now. I salute their good work.

An issue of importance is related to what outcome information is reported here. Note that true client outcomes are reported. This point is significant because many nonprofits report only agency activity, such as number of clients the agency has served and sessions the agency has conducted. Although number of clients served and number of sessions conducted are important, the impact our programs have on the clients we seek to serve must be reported.

Diplomas Now not only zeroes in on core measures of client behavior changes, but provides nearly unbelievable levels of success. This appears to be a very sophisticated and successful program.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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Summary of parts of a high quality grant proposal

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in grant writing, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

(Written by Keith Campbell) 

Hello. In my last post, I shared some ideas about the last two parts of a grant proposal. In this post, I simply want to provide a final listing of parts of a grant proposal. Below is the list of parts of proposals that I have discussed in previous posts. 

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Statement of Need
  4. Goal
  5. Objectives
  6. Procedures
  7. The Budget
  8. Qualifications
  9. Evaluation
  10. Sustainability
  11. Dissemination
  12. Appendix
  13. Sources Cited

If you seek the highest quality grant proposal possible, I encourage you to read my earlier comments. Although you might already be aware of everything I wrote in previous posts, it is possible that one or two of my ideas might be new to you. In the highly competitive environment of seeking grant funding, any competitive edge can be helpful.

I want to repeat that the above list of parts in a grant proposal is for the longer proposals. Many funding sources allow only a very small amount of space, and for the short proposals, there will not be enough room to include all of the above parts.

I have been teaching grant proposal writing at my university for over 30 years, and I have taught grant writing to over 3,600 students. If any readers of this blog would like to check out our grant writing courses, please feel free to look at my university’s web site at www.fhsu.edu or call our Virtual College at 785-628-4291. If you show up in one of my future courses, I would enjoy working with you.

Thank you for reading our small blog.

Best regards. – Keith

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