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In a Year of Intimidating Voters, It’s Never Been More Urgent for Nonprofits to Get Out the Vote

Posted By SCANPO, Thursday, September 22, 2016

Our friend Tim Delaney recently wrote an op-ed for The Chronicle of Philanthropy about the importance of voting in this year's election:

Because of the frightening steps taken by some to exclude certain groups of Americans — minorities and the poor — from voting this election, it’s never been more essential for the leaders of the nation’s nonprofits to urge all Americans to go to the polls.

On November 8 voters across the country get to decide who fills 5,920 state legislative seats along with 93 statewide offices such as governor (12 to be elected), attorney general (10), and secretary of state (eight). Each officeholder can make a significant difference to nonprofits, as can the thousands of local city, county, judicial, school district, and special district officials up for election in November.

Those races are especially important to nonprofits, given the dysfunctional gridlock in Congress. The main policy action affecting the work of nonprofits and foundations will continue to be at the state and local levels. Nonetheless, the mainstream news media will continue to focus on the presidential election and races for 34 U.S. Senate slots and 435 Congressional seats.

The people who fill those state and local seats will decide issues of importance to nonprofits and foundations, such as whether governmental bodies will continue:

  • Trying to take money away from nonprofit missions through new taxes, fees, and demands for payments for city services or limiting charitable-giving incentives at the state level (as happened in 2011, when Hawaiian nonprofits lost $60 million and Michigan nonprofits began losing $50 million annually in charitable giving to support their work).
  • Ignoring federal law directing state and local governments using federal funds to pay nonprofits for their overhead costs.
  • Cutting their own budgets in ways that do little if anything to curb the need for social services, thereby offloading their public responsibilities onto nonprofits and foundations to fill ever-widening gaps.

In the November elections, voters will also decide the fate of 153 statewide ballot measures and hundreds of local ballot questions across the country, many of which directly affect the work of nonprofits in helping individuals and communities.

That’s why we, as nonprofit leaders, need to step forward on a nonpartisan basis in the communities we serve to ensure that everyone who wants to vote gets to vote. You can help by signing your nonprofit up today to participate in National Voter Registration Day on September 27.

This special registration day is a nonpartisan effort by the National Association of Secretaries of State, Nonprofit VOTE, and hundreds of other organizations across America. (Full disclosure: My organization, the National Council of Nonprofits, will participate, and I serve on the national Leadership Council of Nonprofit VOTE.}

While many nonprofit leaders may think of this election as business as usual — and perhaps not essential to their day-to-day work — I hope they will focus on why this election is unusual and may define us as a people. What’s most disturbing about this election is that not everybody will be allowed to vote, especially because some organized efforts are underway to restrict voting by keeping ballots out of the hands of some Americans.

The very day after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted key aspects of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, state legislators began rushing to rewrite election laws to make it more difficult for certain Americans — generally, people of color and the poor — to exercise their constitutional rights to vote. That’s not just my take. That’s what judges have been declaring the last few weeks in blocking implementation of unconstitutional voting laws in Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and elsewhere from taking effect.

Federal judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike have been exposing the ugly motivation behind many of these new voting laws: racial discrimination to gain a partisan advantage. A three-judge panel unanimously blocked enforcement of North Carolina’s new law "that restricted voting and registration in five different ways," deliberately "target[ing] African Americans with almost surgical precision" in an effort to suppress black turnout at the polls. A federal judge found that new voting laws in North Dakota impose "a disproportionately negative impact on Native American voting-eligible citizens." And the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a trial judge’s findings that a Texas voter-ID law "burdens Texans living in poverty" and had a discriminatory effect against African-American and Hispanic voters.

New voting restrictions in at least 15 states, and confusion caused by incomplete media coverage of litigation in at least 10 more, could scare people away from voting booths. So might attempts by various cities and counties to silence the voices of certain groups of Americans.

But if nonprofits that serve the excluded, the marginalized, and the most vulnerable take an affirmative, visible, and nonpartisan stand promoting voting by all, we can reassure people that their dignity, voice, and vote matter. Trust in nonprofits is high, and when our leaders take a stand, people follow our lead.

As nonpartisan nonprofits, we have the opportunity to stand up for the Constitution, which guarantees through the 15th Amendment that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

That promise can be realized — but only if we, collectively, stand up for the rights of our fellow Americans to have a say in their own future.

Tim Delaney is chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofits. Early in his legal career, he successfully blocked implementation of an Arizona law that would have stripped the ability to vote from more than 500,000 individuals, especially African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

Tags:  Register to Vote  SCANPO  Vote 

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Beverage Laws - FAQ with Brook Bristow

Posted By Brook Bristow, Bristow Beverage Law, Saturday, August 6, 2016

Thank you everyone for attending the session on Wednesday. I enjoyed presenting to you. As promised, here are answers to many of the questions you asked during the webinar. These answers are designed to address multiple questions at once that were related to one another.

As a lawyer, I’m ethically required to tell you that the following answers to your questions should not be construed or treated as legal advice and that nothing herein is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The creation of the attorney-client relationship would require direct, personal contact between you and our firm and would also require an explicit agreement by the firm that confirms that an attorney-client relationship is established and the terms of that relationship. You should not act or rely upon information contained in these materials without seeking professional legal advice. Ok, end disclaimer. Thank you again!

FAQ

We have an event in the fall. In years past, we have always purchased the beer from the Budweiser distributor. Will we be allowed to continue to do this? Or, will we have to start purchasing the beer from a store?

You can continue to purchase the beer from the distributor. Just remember that you can also request that it be donated so long as your event meets the criteria of providing an economic benefit.

Is the law stating that church organizations charities with a 501c3 are defined as a retailer? 

Any nonprofit holding a special event is now classified as a retailer. It doesn’t matter if it is a church.

If we hold a fundraiser, where our volunteers serve and handle all products, are we retailers?

You’re retailers once you enter into the system. Once that special event permit is acquired, you’re a retailer. But simply having a fundraiser and having your volunteers serve doesn’t make you a de facto retailer. However, it is probably best to proceed like you are.

As long as we have someone else hired to pour the beer at our event, we are able to accept the donation of the alcohol?

Assuming you meet the requirements, you can accept the product regardless. Now, the pouring is another issue altogether. Hire a service or get volunteers. That is the best way to comply.

We have had a distributor serve as an event sponsor in the past. They would send us a check. We would then go purchase their product from a local store. Is this still allowed?

This is a gray area right now. You’re probably better off having them donate product as opposed to cutting you a check if you have a special event permit.

Can we accept donations from liquor stores? Can liquor store employees act as bartenders?

I’d be careful with this. Retailers aren’t supposed to sell or donate to other retailers. You’re probably not prohibited from having those employees volunteer or work for you, though.

If our nonprofit gives away donated alcohol using a professional bartending service at an event -- does not sell it -- are we still considered a retailer?

If you have a special event permit, you’re a retailer. That’s what gets you - not that you have a bartending service. But as a retailer, having a bartending service is wise.

We are planning a spirit tasting at our upcoming benefit concert. Do we need to prove the economic impact in some way to qualify for the exception?

You might have to prove it to your wholesaler assuming you’re having the product donated.

Just to clarify, assuming the 3-prong test is met, and the donation is permitted -- only wholesalers may donate?  Producers themselves may never donate, correct?

Yes, only wholesalers may donate. Producers cannot donate product at all.

Can we accept a wine tasting donation from a South Carolina based winery or brewery?  What about out of state producers?

By tasting donation, I’m guessing you mean product in general for your event. From a brewery - no. From a distillery - no. From an in-state winery - possibly. SC Wineries have an ability to do various things within the tiers if their wine is made from 60% SC juice.

If we have an event at a venue (hotel) that has a bar and has a permit already, if we are paying for the alcohol to be provided by the hotel, will we (our organization) need to have a separate permit for the event?

If alcohol is being sold, it is always wise to get a permit. But, assuming you have purchased the alcohol and are having the venue serve it, then you might be able to not with certain circumstances.

Can a restaurant donate alcohol to our event?  In our case the restaurant has purchased the alcohol from their distributor and then donated the product they purchased to us.

You’ll probably be ok here, but tread carefully.

Can a producer donate to a nonprofits event or does it have to come from the wholesaler?

Product must come through the wholesaler without exception.

I am an independent contractor (LLC). I have one liquor client - it is a producer. I market and promote. Am I restricted as if I AM a producer, or is there wiggle room?

I’m unclear about the circumstances here. If the question is what can you do as a producer, then the answer is nothing. No donations at all.

If beer/wine is purchased retail for an event, not donated, can it be given away at the event and still be in compliance?

Nothing requires you to sell product at an event. Of course, you might still need a proper permit.

Would working with a wholesaler be more of a hassle for producers? Meaning...are they less likely to donate to us because of this process?

Producers cannot donate any longer, so they are completely out of the process. Most, of course, are happy to donate time to come to events and help. However, what they are allowed to do for events is now dramatically limited.

Can individuals (not wholesalers or producers) still donate alcohol (bottles of wine, keg, etc.)?

This is another area to be careful in.

If you are having an event at a brewery that produces the beer on site and serves on site, is it legal for the producer to serve the beer and donate a portion of the proceeds from sales to your nonprofit?

Most likely, this would be ok. Many nonprofits work with breweries to have events there where a portion of the proceeds goes to the organization. Such a practice is probably still ok.

What form(s) do we have to fill out for special events as "retailers" to be in compliance with SLED and SC DOR?

Use the ABL-900 form that you can download from the DOR website. It will be pretty easy to navigate. (Here is a link to the form: https://dor.sc.gov/forms-site/Forms/ABL900_10222014.pdf.)

What legislative action can we take regarding these beverage laws?

There will be legislation filed next year that will address the nonprofit donation issues. SCANPO will be working with our team to get you the information so that you can assist then. In the meantime, write or call your State Representative and Senator to alert them to the issue. Most will already be aware of it. (Here is a link to find your representative: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php.)

It is required for you to have a license if you are having an event at a brewery? Or is the liability on them in that case?

An event at a brewery is perfectly fine. Odds are that you wouldn’t need a special event permit for that.

Is there any effect on long-term, existing donation agreements: For example, if a wholesaler agreed to donate to an event for 5-year period, is that affected?

This situation would need to be reviewed with your wholesaler that the agreement is with. Again, a wholesaler can still donate; however, you might want to check with them to ensure that they still want to and can given the new requirements for donation.

How can we prove that we are benefiting state revenue with our event?

There isn’t a litmus test, and most likely, you won’t have to prove it. But you do need to comply with the request to provide an economic benefit. Generally, that can be done by just having people come to your event. It might not be a bad idea to track where the attendees are from. Showing tourism would be an easy way to make your case if it came down to it.

Can we include a bottle of wine or beer in a silent auction package?

It’s most likely that there isn’t a problem with that.

In the past we had Budweiser donate money to us, then we turned around and bought beer with it. So this is not allowed anymore?

Be careful with this if you have a special event permit. Have product donated, if possible.

Are manufacturers allowed to sell their products to nonprofits at deeply discounted rates?

No. Manufactures cannot sell their products to nonprofits at all. All products must come through a wholesaler whether that product is purchased or donated.

What about using alcohol (wine and beer) from last year at this year's benefit?

Well, just from a beer producer standpoint, I’d be careful using year old beer that isn’t a bigger ABV beer. That beer probably isn’t work serving. That problem doesn’t necessarily exist with wine. Now, using product that you already have in your possession is probably fine.

What are the implications of a ticketed event for a nonprofit fundraiser?

If you have a ticketed event, then you should get a special event permit.

If you have a free event for major donors and there is no fee to come to the event, can you have alcohol donated?

Probably so. Just remember the factors necessary to get a donation.

If a local producer is participating, they bring their own product, provide the sample tastings and then take the left over product back with them, is that still considered a donation?

The producer cannot bring the product. The only possible exception is an in-state winery that meets certain criteria.

AB L-900 permit...is it required if you have a ticketed or team event (dance, gala, golf tournament) and the beverages are purchased but given away at the event?

ABL will most likely consider alcohol to be included in the ticket price, so it would be best to get the permit.

Can you clarify difference between producers, manufacturers, and wholesalers?

Manufacturers and producers are the same thing. Just a different way of saying it. The same as saying wholesalers and distributors. It’s just a different way of saying the same thing. The difference between manufacturers/producers and wholesalers is that the manufacturer is the one that makes the product and the wholesaler is the one that purchases the product from the manufacturer to sell to a retailer.

If you purchase the alcohol for the event and charge a ticket price, will we be able to distribute to attendees?

By distribute, I am guessing you mean serve it to the attendees. Yes, of course. That would be included in the ticket price.

 

Thank you everyone for your questions. I hope my responses have been helpful to you, but remember you can always reach out to the SCANPO team with any additional concerns.

Brook Bristow

Owner, Bristow Beverage Law

Tags:  beverage law  Legal  Legislative  SCANPO 

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SCANPO Announces Series of Board Leadership Summits

Posted By Debbie Nelson, SCANPO, Friday, July 29, 2016
Updated: Friday, July 29, 2016

Hi SCANPO friends,

The hundreds of nonprofits we work with in South Carolina – including you – all have powerful missions, dedicated staff and an engaged Board. Our focus at SCANPO is not only to support the entire sector working together but also to connect and strengthen each individual organization’s relationship between Board and staff.

Later this year, we will roll out a series of Board Leadership Summits in all parts of South Carolina, which are designed to provide learning opportunities and a platform to share experiences to your organization’s leadership. These Summits, for SCANPO members only, are exclusively for Board members and CEOs. They are available in four areas of the state: 

  • Midlands Board Leadership Summit
    • Tuesday, October 11, 2016
    • Location: United Way of the Midlands, 1818 Blanding Street, Columbia, SC
    • Time: 8:00 am - Noon 
    • REGISTER NOW  
  • Kershaw County Board Leadership Summit (Tentative)
    • Wednesday, January 18, 2017
    • Location: Central Carolina Technical College, Kershaw County Campus (1125 Little Street, Camden, SC)
    • Time: 8:00 am - Noon 
    • REGISTER NOW
  • Lowcountry Board Leadership Summit
    • Tuesday, May 23, 2017
    • Location: The Citadel, Mark Clark Hall Buyer Auditorium, Charleston, SC
    • Time: 8:00 am - Noon
    • REGISTER NOW
  • Upstate Board Leadership Summit
    • Thursday, April 20, 2017
    • Location: Furman University, Melvin & Dollie Younts Conference Center
    • Time; 8:00 am - Noon
    • REGISTER NOW

Please visit our Board Leadership Summit page to find out more about each Summit, including a sample agenda and details on registration fees.

SCANPO is dedicated to helping leadership within every organization grow (see our other training opportunities here). We hope your Board and CEO will take the opportunity to strengthen their relationship and in turn, your organization.

Thank you,

Debbie Nelson

Knowledge Network Services

SCANPO


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Tags:  board  Board Governance  Board Leadership Summit  governance  SCANPO 

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New Entity Causes Concern With Spam Emails

Posted By Madeleine McGee, SCANPO, Monday, July 25, 2016
Updated: Monday, July 25, 2016

Unsolicited, yet flattering emails continue to be sent to thousands of nonprofit leaders across the country from a new entity created by a long-time for-profit consultant located in South Carolina.

This effort is in no way connected with SCANPO or the SC chapters of AFP, or any of the national organizations with whom we work, including National Council of Nonprofits and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

After receiving questions from hundreds of our members, we feel we must speak out on this issue.

Here's the scoop as explained in a terrific article from Nonprofit Quarterly.

They say that your name was submitted as a nominee for their Board of Governors. The email may have also mentioned your current or past work with SCANPO or your own organization. SCANPO is not affiliated with this group in any way, either in partnership or endorsement. 

We take the privacy of our members very seriously. We do not give out contact information or loan/sell our lists to any other entities. We did not submit any names to their organization for nomination. Nor did we knowingly give them member information of any kind.

Clearly they have assembled quite the list of “nominees,” as thousands have received their “exclusive invitation.”

Board Governance Practices

If your organization has used SCANPO’s Guiding Principles & Best Practices, you know the importance of a strong, well-informed and engaged Board of Directors. 

For almost 20 years, SCANPO has worked collaboratively with other statewide networks: United Ways, Community Foundations, and the National Council of Nonprofits to promote tested and effective best practices in nonprofit management and governance which represent the best thinking in our sector. SCANPO encourages healthy, balanced, and accountable relationships between nonprofit boards and staff.

This new entity seeks to entice you into a new way of thinking - by recommending that your board should practice limited engagement and responsibility. These are not board governance practices that you will learn in any SCANPO training sessions or ones that we would recommend. 

National Council of Nonprofits

If you are interested in becoming involved with a national network, we remind you of our affiliation with the National Council of Nonprofits. As SCANPO members, your organization automatically participates as an Affiliate Member of the National Council of Nonprofits. If you are not currently receiving updates from the National Council of Nonprofits, please feel free to sign-up for their e-newsletter.

Next Steps

Consider unsubscribing to their emails so they will know you don’t see the need for yet another national professional network that competes with existing entities. 

SCANPO will continue to reach out and work to better understand their intent.

Finally, if you have any questions, or want to know more about proven credentialing programs available for nonprofit leaders such as CFRE, or about SCANPO’s Guiding Principles & Best Practices and the Award for Nonprofit Excellence, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Madeleine McGee

President, SCANPO

Tags:  email  NANOE  Nonprofits 

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Brewery Beer Donations at Risk

Posted By Brook Bristow, Bristow Beverage Law, Friday, July 22, 2016

Hi SCANPO friends, 

As someone deeply involved in the alcoholic beverage industry, I'm concerned with SLED's (SC Law Enforcement Division) anticipated stepped-up enforcement of a 20-year-old state law prohibiting breweries from donating their products to nonprofits.

It's always been the policy, but it hasn't been wholly enforced until now; that's why everyone is getting upset.

I predict that the crackdown will ultimately affect manufacturers of wine and spirits, along with any charitable groups seeking alcohol donations for special events. You can learn more about how these laws will affect you (and whether there's a need to change these laws) by joining me on August 3 at 11 am for my Wednesday Webinar presentation.

This is huge - it's not just about beer. The new focus on upholding these laws will affect everybody.

You can find out more by reading my overview on the policy and how it will affect nonprofits.

I hope you can join me on August 3.

Brook Bristow

Beverage Law Attorney and Owner of Bristow Beverage Law

P.S. Read more about SLED's plans in a recent Post and Courier article.

Below is a picture of Brook in front of the Cloud Gate in Chicago, IL.

Tags:  Advocacy  beer donations  fundraising  Legal  nonprofits  rules  SLED 

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New & Retiring SCANPO Board Members

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Friday, July 8, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to share that we recently welcomed seven new members to our Board of Directors! Each of these new members will serve a three-year term and be responsible for helping SCANPO strengthen our state’s nonprofit community through learning opportunities, advocacy and collaboration.

Join us in welcoming:

Thank you to everyone who applied or submitted nominations to help us fill these seats. We are confident that these new members will prove to be invaluable assets to our organization in the following years.  

We would also like to extend a special thank you to the seven board members who will be retiring this year. Your contributions over the years have helped established SCANPO as a trusted and well-respected organization, and for that, we thank you.

Join us in thanking:

See our full list of current board members.

* Ms. Kirby was appointed by the Board on June 28, 2016, to fill the remainder of Scott Graves’ term pursuant to Article III, Section 7 of the Bylaws.

Tags:  Board of Directors  SCANPO 

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Open Letter from SCANPO Board Chair Member Ted Hendry

Posted By SCANPO, Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hello, 

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” South Carolina is fortunate to have so many extraordinary nonprofit leaders doing extraordinary work every day. It is work worth doing, and it changes the lives of people and the life of our great state in measurable ways.

On July 1 we began a new fiscal and program year at SCANPO. Our commitment to you this year is to continue growing our ability to serve, support and strengthen you, the nonprofits and nonprofit leaders of South Carolina. I encourage you to take full advantage of the many services, learning opportunities, and networking events offered by SCANPO during the year. You will learn and grow, and, you’ll have a little (maybe even a lot) of fun along the way.

We ask that you fully engage with SCANPO in 2016-17 because we firmly believe that well-managed and responsibly governed nonprofits result in stronger and healthier South Carolina communities. When we all join together to participate in opportunities to build the knowledge, promote collaboration, and strengthen our collective voice, we become better leaders, our nonprofits become stronger, our communities are changed for the better and our state is transformed.  

That’s the prize for working hard at work worth doing.

I am honored to serve as chair of SCANPO for a second year.  As we enter a new year, I want you to help me in thanking our retiring board members who ably served for many years, and in welcoming our new board members and committee chairs.  I appreciate their leadership and their commitment to SCANPO and to you!

Thank you for working hard at work worth doing. Thank you for working together. Together for good.

Thank you,
Ted Hendry
Board Chair
SCANPO

 

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Tags:  Board of Directors  SCANPO  Ted Hendry 

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Calling all SCANPO business partners - Share your expertise!

Posted By Margaret Kramer, SCANPO, Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Calling all SCANPO business partners!

A huge part of SCANPO’s mission is to provide comprehensive, innovative learning opportunities to our members. You—our business partners—are our main resource of expertise on a variety of topics to help the SC nonprofit sector thrive.

We want to remind you that now is the perfect time to share your knowledge and connect with hundreds of nonprofit leaders by running a Weekly Wednesday Webinar or presenting at theNonprofit Summit in Columbia from March 6-8, 2017. Below are a few topics our members let us know they would love to learn more about:

  • Governance / law
  • Development / donor relations
  • Leadership / collaboration
  • Marketing
    • Social media
    • Digital media campaigns
  • Operations

These are only a few suggestions—if you have others, we would love to hear them! Apply to present a Weekly Wednesday Webinar by downloading the application attached to this blog and emailing your completed form to Margaret at margaret@scanpo.org. To apply for a Summit presentation, click here to access the RFPSummit proposals are due by July 15!

We can’t wait to hear what you have to share with our state’s nonprofit community!

The SCANPO Team

P.S. Has your SCANPO business partner membership lapsed? Take the time to renew today on our website. We want to continue working with you, “Together. For Good.”

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Planning for the 2017 Nonprofit Summit has Begun

Posted By SCANPO, Monday, June 20, 2016

It's that time of year again! We are excited to share that things are starting to come together for the 2017 South Carolina Nonprofit Summit in Columbia on March 6-8.

If you are interested in being a presenter or speaker at the Summit, you must submit your proposal by July 15 in order to be considered. 

Summit speakers are able to attend the day of their session for free, and they can attend the entire Summit for $125. 

The rates for the Summit are:

  • One Day - $120 for Members, $220 for Non-Members
  • Two Days - $200 for Members, $300 for Non-Members
  • Three Days - $275 for Members, $375 for Non-Members

Exhibit booth rates are:

  • $350 for Nonprofit Members
  • $650 for Business Partner Members
  • $950 for all Non-Members

If you are as excited about this event as we are, we invite you to mark your calendar and book a room today.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to our 2017 Summit Steering Committee for making this all possible:

  • Tom Keith, co-chair - Sisters of Charity Foundation of SC
  • Rhett Mabry, co-chair - The Duke Endowment
  • Graham Adams - SC Office of Rural Health
  • Beth Franco - Eat Smart Move More SC
  • Katherine Swartz-Hilton - Columbia College
  • Erika Kirby - BlueCross BlueShield of SC
  • Casey Pash - Junior Achievement of Greater SC
  • Heather Sherwin - Central Carolina Community Foundation
  • Katrina Spigner - Re-Source Solutions
  • Naomi Torfin Lett - United Way Association of SC
  • Charles C. Weathers Sr. - The Weathers Group

We hope to see you all in Columbia on March 6-8 for three full days of leadership, learning and networking!

Tags:  Nonprofit Summit  SCANPO 

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Strategies for Effective Board Governance

Posted By Rachel Hutchisson, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy, Blackbaud, Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hello, SCANPO friends!

Thanks to those of you who joined Madeleine and me during SCANPO’s Wednesday Webinar as we discussed the role and responsibilities of a Governance Committee and how you can create a great experience for all of your Board members. As Governance Chair of the Coastal Community Foundation (CCF) for the last three years and a former SCANPO Board member, I’ve spent a lot of time learning just what makes a successful committee. Below are a few key points from our podcast (which you can listen to here), as well as some helpful CCF and SCANPO resources for your reference.

First of all, what are the primary responsibilities of a Governance Committee? It’s not just about recruitment...

  • Determine how the Board operates – define and frequently review your by-laws.
  • Facilitate Board nominations and orientation – have a written and tested process.
  • Define Board policies – make sure your by-laws are keeping up with the growth of your organization.
  • Outline Committee roles and responsibilities – each Committee needs to know how it helps your organization’s mission, as well as the scope of its power.

Still, recruitment is a very important part of the Governance Committee. How can you make it a successful process?

  • Allocate sufficient time – this can be a year long process.
  • Have prerequisites / requirements for service – and be sure to write them down.
  • Pay attention to recruitment for committees – it’s not just about the overall Board.
  • Have agreed-upon written criteria each year to guide the diversity of your Board.
  • Bring in new members as a “class” once a year – have a well thought-out orientation.

My last big point is crucial for an effective Committee. How can you make the overall Board experience worthwhile?

  • Provide Board mentors – help new members feel welcomed, and utilize the experience of returning ones.
  • Continually check in with new members to see how they’re enjoying the experience.
  • Let Board members sit in on different Committees before deciding which to join.
  • Keep up Board education at every meeting – education should never stop!
  • Have conversations with members before they serve a second term – make it a peer-to-peer experience.
  • Interview members leaving the Board – what did they think of the experience, and how can you improve it for the future?

For some real word examples, check out the Coastal Community Foundation’s Board Member and Governance Committee Responsibilities documents:

You can also view SCANPO’s Board Member Agreement document here. Don’t forget that SCANPO offers its members a free hour of consultation with your Board Chair and CEO/ED.

And finally, your Governance Committee is the backbone to your Board and plays a huge role in successfully reaching your mission. I encourage any one of you interested in being a part of a Governance Committee to take on the challenge! I can tell you it’s a rewarding experience.

Thank you,

Rachel Hutchisson

Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy

Blackbaud, Inc.

Tags:  Blackbaud  board  Board Governance  coastal community foundation of sc  SCANPO 

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