Uncommon Voices Guidelines

The Kauffman Foundation accepts submissions for "Uncommon Voices" columns in the Currents section of its website. Here's how that works:

What We're Looking For

The intent of Uncommon Voices is to bring in new perspectives from outside the Foundation. We’re looking for ideas that challenge convention, present different ways of looking at topics, and provide new insights into how we should think about the future of work, learning, and place.

We have three guidelines for Uncommon Voices submissions: Audience, Content and Format, and Process.

Audience: Who We're Writing For

The Currents section of Kauffman.org focuses primarily on providing interesting and thought-provoking content for people who understand the value of education and entrepreneurship to our society and are interested in making improvements that can benefit teachers, students, and entrepreneurs.

Among the people who consume our content are people looking for practical information about what works in education and entrepreneurship, people in the many organizations we collaborate with in advancing our fields of interest, and, people who are interested in dialogue about issues and the levers we can be pushing to create a positive impact into the future.

For Currents, we provide inspirational stories about entrepreneurs; talk about the entrepreneurial journey, including the barriers founders face; and discuss the conditions entrepreneurs need to succeed. While we count entrepreneurs as valued audience members, we use other channels to provide tips and educational material to people actively starting and running businesses.

Content and Format

While we fully expect you to write from your own life experiences, this is not a platform where blatant self-promotion is appropriate. We’re interested in the substantive ideas that may have come from your work at an organization, or from writing a new book, but the intent of the piece needs to be first to inform readers. In fact, the Foundation has legal restrictions on using our nonprofit resources to promote private benefit. If we’re persnickety on that point, you can blame our lawyers. Links to your website, etc., may be included in the bio blurb we’ll put at the end of the article.

Keep in mind that our audiences may not share your expertise, so avoid jargon that only people in your field may understand.

Give specific examples that help illustrate your ideas. Readers may not be able to connect to the concepts you are trying to convey without real-world examples.

If you are presenting other people’s work – their thinking, research, or data – be transparent about that and link if possible.

Writing for the Web is not necessarily the same as writing for other purposes. Readers tend to skim, looking for entry points and callouts that catch their eyes. For more information about writing for the Web, there are a number of guides online, including on usability.gov.

Process

We work in a collaborative way. Come to us with an idea that we can discuss, not a finished piece. We would prefer to help you shape the idea for a piece to fit what we’re looking for, rather than having an involved editing process with a lot of back and forth after submission.

More specifically:

1. Fill out our form to submit your initial idea for an article.

2. We’ll get back to you within two weeks, letting you know if we feel like there’s a fit.

3. If we’d like to work with you on the piece, we’ll give you feedback on how we feel it would be best to frame it. That can be via email or a phone call.

4. Once you’ve sent us your draft, we will read it and get back to you within two weeks. We may respond in several ways:

  • We think it’s great and just want to do minor copy editing before we publish.
  • We feel like it needs more significant work, and we’ll give you recommendations as to how to improve it to better speak to our audiences.
  • We feel like it’s missing the mark and would be too much work on both our parts to make it fit, so we won’t go any further.

5. Once we’re happy and you’re happy, we’ll schedule a publication date. Depending on the topic, we may decide to hold it to coincide with an event or an observed day (if your article had an angle about the environment, Earth Day on April 22 would be good timing to publish, for example). If your article is more evergreen, we’ll generally publish within the upcoming month.

6. We’ll make choices about headline, pull quotes, links, images, and overall presentation at our discretion.

Other Considerations

We do not pay for Uncommon Voices pieces. Our hope is that you will benefit from having your thought leadership in front of our audiences.

We would like to be the exclusive home to the article for the first month after publication. After that time, if you decide to repost it on LinkedIn, Medium, or some other channel, an acknowledgement of its original publication and link back to Currents would be appreciated.

We will promote your article in our email newsletter and social channels, as it makes sense to reach the appropriate audiences. That said, your social networks will likely be a very effective place to let people know about your published piece, so feel free to do some self-promotion, also.