Aim of the project
“Spiritual capital” refers to the individual and collective capacities generated by a spiritual orientation to life. This action-research project aims to work with innovative third-sector organizations to enhance the generation and investment of spiritual capital in the efforts of individuals and groups to serve and improve their communities. SPIRIT3, begun in the spring of 2012, is an initiative of the ExCEL3 ("Excellence in Capacity Building for Entrepreneurship and Leadership in the Third Sector") project of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. It combines the experience of innovative NGOs with academic resources in social scientific theory and research methodology. Up to now, the project has conducted in-depth interviews and focus groups with leaders and volunteers of over fifteen NGOs and community groups in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Malaysia, and has been reviewing the academic literature on relevant themes. Through this research, we are developing a preliminary conceptual framework on the definition, applications and effects of spiritual capital. We have identified six dimensions of spiritual capital, each of which will be the subject of a case study. These case studies will explore the role of spiritual capital in NGO leadership, management, volunteer training, social action and community empowerment. Through further research, consultation and collaboration, we hope to deepen, refine and elaborate the conceptual framework and case studies, and eventually develop training resources for the generation and application of spiritual capital in third sector organizations.