Together SC Blog
Blog Home All Blogs

Public Trust in Nonprofits at Risk - Take 2 Minutes to Help Keep Politics Out of Nonprofits

Posted By Madeleine McGee Together SC, Friday, March 24, 2017

Last month, President Trump announced his plan to "get rid of and totally destroy" the federal tax law provision requiring 501(c)(3) nonprofits to be nonpartisan (which has been called the Johnson Amendment). Following up on the President's statement, Congress is seriously considering legislation that would politicize charitable nonprofits and foundations. The National Council of Nonprofits, Together SC and many other charitable nonprofits strongly oppose efforts to politicize charitable nonprofits. These proposals would harm nonprofits by:

  1. Subjecting charitable nonprofits and foundations to demands for campaign contributions (and thereby diverting donors' money away from mission-related work to benefit politicians); and 
  2. Damaging the public trust in the work of nonprofits. 

Furthermore, the repeal or revision of the Johnson Amendment isn't necessary to protect the free speech of nonprofits, foundations, and churches. Nonprofits - and their individual staff, board members, and volunteers - already have many legal avenues to freely express their views on a wide range of policy issues.

Together SC proudly joins the National Council of Nonprofits, our national network, and nonprofits and foundations across the country, in signing onto a special Nonprofit Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

Here's what you can do today: Join other South Carolina nonprofits in signing your organization onto the Nonprofit Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

Thank you if your nonprofit has already signed on to the letter.

Madeleine McGee | President

Tags:  Advocacy  National Council of Nonprofits 


Welcome Together SC Members (New & Renewing Members for Week of 3/20/17)

Posted By Together SC, Monday, March 20, 2017

We are pleased to announce that we are welcoming a brand new member to our growing Together SC family this week! Join us as we share some love on social for:

We are also excited to share that we have a womping 23 renewing members joining us for another year of networking, advocacy and fun! Be sure to share some love on social for:

Tags:  New Members  Renewing Members  Together SC 

PermalinkComments (0)

More than $20,000 in Unclaimed Property Found for SC Nonprofits

Posted By SCANPO, Friday, March 10, 2017

Together SC joined forces with SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis and the Unclaimed Property Program to help return unclaimed property to nonprofits across the state.

Staff found $24,219.71 for nonprofit organizations and individuals while working at the 2017 Nonprofit Summit conference Tuesday. The money found will go to 48 organizations. 

"I know that every dollar counts when it comes to nonprofits," said Treasurer Loftis. "I'm so grateful Together SC allowed us to come in and find money for the organizations. It's amazing to return money to people who strive to help others."

Examples of the type of property covered by the Unclaimed Property Program include bank accounts, stock certificates, checks, insurance policies and utility deposits. The Unclaimed Property Program does not include tangible property like land or vehicles.

Read the original article. 

Tags:  2017 Nonprofit Summit  Curtis Loftis  SC Treasurer's Office  Together SC 

PermalinkComments (0)


Posted By Dr. Katrina Spigner, Friday, March 10, 2017

(adapted from her 2017 Together SC Summit Keynote Speech)

For the past 20 years, Together SC has focused on being a resource in education, advocacy, networking, and leadership for nonprofit organizations in South Carolina. Created out of a collaborative effort, Together SC has had a rich history and many nonprofits represented at this 2017 Summit have been a part of that journey. Indeed, the nonprofit sector is an amazing entity. Nonprofit organizations have been Partners, Advocates, Ambassadors, and Champions in making a difference in South Carolina. This state has counted on nonprofits to deliver vital community services, advance solutions for challenges facing society, contribute to building and sustaining vibrantly healthy communities, and serve the marginalized and disenfranchised wherever and whoever they may be. 

Most importantly, when we look back over the history of the sector in South Carolina, we find people who have been committed to serving and giving their gifts, talents, and abilities to a cause greater than themselves; programs and projects that have been mission and purpose-driven; hearts that have desired to promote the greater good; and innovative minds that have focused on transformation and change. As we look back we recognize the impact, influence, and evolution of the sector and can readily identify lessons learned, best-practices established, and innovation at its finest.

However, while we can find tremendous value in looking back, we cannot afford to keep looking back. Why? When we look back for too long it keeps us stuck where we are; it causes us to become resistant to change; it causes us to miss opportunities in front of us; and it causes us to lose sight of what is ahead. So then, we look back to remember…But, there is GREATER POWER in looking FORWARD! 

Now, you may be asking, why. Well, I am glad you asked!

Looking forward is powerful because it positions us to see what hasn’t been seen (vision), to do what hasn’t been done (expectation), and to be all of what we have the potential to be (purpose). Consider this:

Vision – is the power to see it although you haven’t experienced it yet 

Expectation – is the power of anticipating the coming of what you’ve seen 

Purpose – is the power of keeping you grounded in what you’re doing, while you’re seeing what you see and while you’re waiting for it to come

Looking forward inspires you in the face of adverse circumstances. Looking forward encourages the heart as you work to heal those whose hearts have been broken by the vicissitudes of life. Looking forward opens the way for you to be a voice for those who are silent and have been silenced …even if yours is the voice crying out in the wilderness. Looking forward compels you to shift where necessary, change where needed, and refocus for greater impact.

So today, I am asking you to adopt a new mantra, and it is simply this…POWER FORWARD! 

There is great work and great opportunity ahead. But, we must POWER FORWARD!
Now, you may be asking, “What does she mean by POWER FORWARD?” I thought that was a position played in basketball. IT IS! But, here is what I mean when I say POWER FORWARD! Ask me what! I am glad you asked! To POWER FORWARD in this context means to:

1. Push through – even when it’s difficult

2. Not quit – when it’s the most challenging

3. Not give in – even if you are standing alone; keep standing

4. Not shrink back – even when there are adversaries all around you

5. Be courageous – in the face of fear; do it anyway

6. Be confident – recognizing your intrinsic strength

7. Be audacious – boldly proclaiming the truth

8. Show up – with the intention to make your presence matter

9. Speak up – with the intention to use your voice in a meaningful way

10. Step in faith – even when you don’t know where it may lead you

We are at a time in our state, in our country, and in our world, when you must POWER FORWARD! You must POWER FORWARD when:

1. When as of 2016 South Carolina ranked 16th highest in the nation in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty level 

2. When approximately 28% of children live in poverty in this state

3. When reports tell us that South Carolina is ranked 50th in the nation in education

4. South Carolina is ranked 8th highest in the nation for incarceration

5. When NEW HIV infections in South Carolina are on the rise, occurring more in Blacks than that of other races combined

6. When a woman is beaten by her husband or boyfriend every 12 seconds in the United States and South Carolina ranks #5 in deaths related to domestic violence

7. When South Carolina is a target rich environment for sex slavery and human trafficking 

You must POWER FORWARD to address issues of racism, sexism, and a host of other “isms”!

You must POWER FORWARD to address blatant injustice, deliberate inequities, and systemic barriers!

You must POWER FORWARD to unite, strengthen, and advance the critical work needed in this state!

You must POWER FORWARD with the intention to have a collective voice!

You must POWER FORWARD with the determination to be allies for good!

And how will we get there? Ask Me How? I am glad you asked!

We will get there TOGETHER South Carolina!!

We will get there TOGETHER!!

About the Author
Dr. Katrina Spigner, affectionately known as, “Dr. K”  is the founder and CEO of Re-Source Solutions LLC, a personal and professional growth and development company. She is also a Certified Personal & Executive Coach, Consultant, Speaker, Author, and Assistant Professor with over 15 years experience as a senior leader in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and higher education sectors.


Tags:  2017 Nonprofit Summit  Katrina Spigner  Re-Source Solutions LLC  Together SC 

PermalinkComments (0)

Mac Bennett receives Order of Palmetto

Posted By Together SC, Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mac Bennett receives Order of the Palmetto during 2017 Nonprofit Summit

Columbia, S.C.  – Mac Bennett, president and CEO of United Way of the Midlands, was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, during the 2017 South Carolina Nonprofit Summit held at the Columbia Marriott.

State Representative Beth Bernstein and Tom Keith, president of Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, presented the award to Bennett on behalf of Governor Henry McMaster.

Pictured (L to R): Rep. Beth Bernstein, Mac Bennett and State Senator Joel Lourie

Bennett’s career spans 37 years in the Midlands, spending the last 12 years as the head of United Way. Among his many accomplishments, he is a founding organizer of the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations (now known as Together SC), the state’s largest nonprofit association for nonprofit professionals. 

Bennett received the award in front of hundreds of nonprofit leaders from around the state gathering in Columbia for the statewide association’s annual three-day conference. He accepted the award during the organization's 20-year anniversary reception held at the Columbia Museum of Art.

“In grateful recognition of contributions and friendship to the state of South Carolina and her people, I do hereby confer upon James McCauley Bennett the Order of the Palmetto,” read Rep. Bernstein from framed award presented by the Governor's Office.

South Carolina Governor John West created the Order of the Palmetto in 1971 as a formal way to recognize individuals for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national and statewide significance. In order to receive the award someone must nominate the individual and multiple letters of recommendation must be sent to the Governor’s nomination committee. The award is an once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

Mac has been not only a leader in our nonprofit sector, state and local community, he has been a loyal and generous friend,” said Keith. “His leadership spans so many levels and runs deep in the Midlands and beyond.”

Bennett announced his retirement last October. In a press release, Holt Chetwood, board chair of United Way said, “Mac is a humble, servant leader who is always eager to share credit for his accomplishments with staff and volunteers.”


Under Bennett’s leadership, United Way has experienced continued growth in improving the lives of Midlands residents through the organization’s education, financial stability and health initiatives in Richland, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Calhoun and Fairfield counties.

Tags:  2017 SC Nonprofit Summit  Beth Bernstein  Columbia Museum of Art  Joel Lourie  Mac Bennett  Order of Palmetto  Tom Keith  United Way of the Midlands 

PermalinkComments (0)

Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired Charleston wins South Carolina Award for Nonprofit Excellence

Posted By Together SC, Thursday, March 9, 2017

Columbia, S.C. – During South Carolina’s 2017 Nonprofit Summit held at the Columbia Marriott this week, the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired Charleston was recognized with South Carolina’s Award for Nonprofit Excellence., sponsored by Blackbaud, and presented by Together SC, formerly SC Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

Courtney Plotner, executive director of the Charleston-based nonprofit, was presented the award by Janet Martini, executive director of Keystone Substance Abuse in Rock Hill, last year's recipient.

Pictured: Center with award is Courtney Plotner with members of the Together SC Awards Committee during the 2017 Nonprofit Summit in Columbia.

"We could not be more excited and honored to win this award," said Plotner when informed about being selected. "The mentors were amazing and the process itself was so rewarding."

"It is so incredible to be honored for doing the work we love."

The Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired Charleston is celebrating its 80th year as an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people who are visually impaired by providing services, programs and advocacy to promote independence and self-sufficiency as well as help individuals’ participate fully in their communities. Their programs provide vision clinics for children in Title-I schools and vision clinics for uninsured or underinsured adults in the Charleston Tri-County area.

“We had several very strong candidates, but what stood out to the committee was the understanding that excellence is a continuous process with the Association for the Blind,” said Derek Lewis, Together SC board member. Lewis serves as the award committee chair and is the executive director of Greenville First Steps whose organization received the award in 2014.

“There were so many places where the Association for the Blind excels — governance, clearly defining the roles of staff and board, responsible fundraising best practices — but their commitment to consistently seek ways to continually improve stood out to our team.”

Together SC goes through an intensive selection process to identify a member who demonstrates nonprofit excellence within the state. The recipient is selected by a committee and announced during the annual gathering each year in front of hundreds of nonprofit peers.

Tags:  Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired  Blackbaud  Courtney Plotner  Derek Lewis  Greenville First Steps  Janet Martini  Keystone Substance Abuse  Nonprofit Excellence Award 

PermalinkComments (0)

Gotta Love a Good Thank You Note from a Board Chair!

Posted By Madeleine McGee, Monday, February 20, 2017

Hello Nonprofit Board Leaders, 

Jamie Tozzi, Board Chair for Darkness 2 Light, is showing us all how to welcome new staff. She and her husband threw a wonderful party in their home for D2L’s new executive - Katelyn Brewer. 

What’s more, I got a terrific follow-up email. With their permission I am sharing her note below, hoping you may find it inspiring. 

Gotta love a board that sees its role as nurturing and supporting the Executive and showing their appreciation for donors and others supporting the organization.   Keep up the great work.  


Dear Madeleine

I know I speak for the Board when I express how inspired we remain by the energy you brought to our event on Thursday evening.

It was an honor for Jeff and I to host such a phenomenal crowd for such a worthy cause at our home. 

Thank you for welcoming Katelyn so graciously, and more importantly, dedicating time to learn more about Darkness to Light’s ambitious goals in the Charleston community.

Knowledge, action, awareness, bravery. 

These aren’t just words – these are the very things standing between a child and those who might harm them. 

Darkness to Light’s programs empower us all, and we look forward to continuing to engage the local community as we roll out our strengthened model for child sexual abuse prevention nationwide.

As we continue to partner, please do not hesitate to contact me or Katelyn.

Best regards,
Jamie Tozzi, Chair
D2L Board of Directors

This post has not been tagged.


BlueCross BlueShield of SC Foundation Awards Grant to SCANPO

Posted By SCANPO, Friday, February 10, 2017

The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation ( has recently awarded a $120,000 grant to SCANPO to support SCANPO’s efforts to expand awareness among South Carolina’s nonprofits on the influence of the non-health factors that influence health, including education, community safety and family and social support.

“BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has been a strong advocate for SCANPO’s mission and work for many years, joining as a Business Partner, sponsoring the Nonprofit Summit, providing strategic board leadership and so much more,” said Madeleine McGee, president of SCANPO. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to now begin working with the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation.”

“To improve our state’s health, we must improve people’s opportunities to be healthier in the places where they live, learn, work and play,” explained Madeleine. “This is the everyday work of the entire nonprofit sector. They just may not realize the connection.”

The Foundation’s investment will allow SCANPO to assess the need and opportunity to educate nonprofits on the role they could have in improving the overall health of their communities, making health a shared value across organizations and ultimately creating a culture of health across the state.

“We aim to expand awareness of the factors that influence health among the 80 percent of nonprofits whose missions are centered outside of the health arena,” continued Madeleine. “By making this a conversation in which all nonprofits participate, we seek to increase collaboration and engagement needed to advance community health in South Carolina.”

Next month’s 2017 SC Nonprofit Summit will offer participants the chance to address the topic of health within their communities through these thought-provoking sessions:

·      SC’s Culture of Health: Our Sector’s Responsibility with Monica Hobbs Vinluan and Terri Theisen

·      Understanding the Social Determinants of Health (And Why They Should Matter to Every Nonprofit) with Maya Pack

·      Midlands Healthcare Collaborative with Cheryl Johnson Benjamin

·      Collaborating: Welcoming All to the Table with Pam Toney and Lisa Hayes

·      Healthy Insights: Public Data and the Social Determinants of Health with Lowell Atkinson and Sarah Pinson

·      Building Capacity for Community Integrated Health with Amanda Metzger and MJ Pierce

To learn more about the Summit and register your team, visit the Summit site today!

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross®  BlueShield®  of South Carolina and the BlueCross®  BlueShield®  of South Carolina Foundation are both independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Tags:  BlueCross BlueShield of SC Foundation  Grants  SCANPO 

PermalinkComments (0)

The Power of Nonprofit Storytelling

Posted By Bobby Rettew, Monday, January 30, 2017

A few years ago, I was working with a large health care system in the early stages of developing a content strategy. The initial meetings with the organization outlined the need to find content creators inside the organization, specifically to help the marketing/communications team find rich stories to share. I visited one of their hospitals in Georgia during the on-boarding process with the goal to find storytellers inside a clinical setting.

As I walked through the halls, I met some amazing people. From physicians, nurses, patients, and staff; all had powerful stories to tell. But the one person that stood out the most was this one person in a patient room. As I walked in to visit with the patient, I heard a larger conversation taking place. The lady cleaning the room was having a wonderful conversation with the patient. She was a talker; sharing, laughing, listening, and engaging with the patient. 

I walked out of the patient room, looked at the division president and said she needs to be on the list as content creators. He looked at me like I was speaking three languages at one time. His follow-up response was the hospital needed to focus solely on physician content creators. I somewhat agreed with his assessment, but said that it does not take a medical degree to tell rich stories from inside the organization, it takes passion, commitment, and execution. 

It starts with learning to listen. No hear, but listen. There are people across the organization that are powerful storytellers, content creators, graphic designers, writers, people who have a passion to share. Nonprofits experience the need to leverage internal human capital because the financial resources sometimes do not support a robust marketing/communications staff. 

Even if you have a grasp on capturing great content from within the organization, sometimes it is even harder to operationalize how to share content within the framework of the nonprofits growth goals. Specifically, what do we do with all this great stuff and how do we measure success?

During my webinar on Feb. 8, we are going to discuss the following:

  • Culture of Listening
  • Culture of Sharing
  • Culture of Integration
  • Culture of Measurement

We are going to think through how nonprofits can find the storytellers, capture their stories in bite size chunks, create a robust content calendar, and how to leverage digital platforms within an integrated media mindset. I will share examples of what we have learned over the past ten years, with a few case studies laying the foundation for strategic goal setting. 

About the Author:

Bobby Rettew is a multiple Emmy award-winning multimedia producer known for his creative talents, interpersonal communication skills, and new media experience. His background includes corporate marketing communications, PR, social media, new media, television news and expertise in producing compelling visual stories on all digital platforms.

Bobby works with hospitals, higher education institutions, healthcare advocacy groups and small businesses to identify compelling messages and communicate these messages at the right place and the right time.

Bobby is an Adjunct Instructor at the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Clemson University where he teaches Hybrid Entrepreneurship. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor in the Advanced Writing Program at Clemson.

Bobby has been trained by the Poynter Institute in Storytelling and Visual Communication and by the National Press Photographers Association in Visual Storytelling. He has also been awarded the International Best of Show for Online Communication by the Society of Technical Communication.


Tags:  Giving Day  Nonprofit Storytelling 

PermalinkComments (0)

Board Members Really Want to Help….or Do They?

Posted By Stacey Wedding, Friday, January 20, 2017

For those who work with Boards, you may be smirking to yourself when you read this title or enjoying your own internal dialogue filled with sarcastic, witty banter. All too often many of us feel just the opposite — that board members can be a headache, bringing more hassle than value.

When you peel back the layers of the onion, though, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not that simple. The majority of people who are attracted to board service have the best of intentions. They want to be part of furthering a cause greater than themselves and simply need clarity and support to engage in a meaningful way.

Each Board has its own unique culture, personality and interpersonal dynamics. It takes time for new board members — just like new employees — to observe this, assimilate and figure out how best they fit in to the bigger picture.

To expedite this process, often the first step is providing a proper orientation to the Board with important documents available — like the strategic plan, budget, bylaws, and key policies — for the board member to reference.

Ideally, the orientation will also include interaction with a couple of other board members and key staff, so the board member can ask questions that are often intimidating to address in the board room.

This gives board members the chance to better understand all facets of the organization and hopefully see some programs in action, which will only further their passion. If possible, consider pairing the new board member with a peer on the Board who has more institutional history with the organization and can who can serve as their “board buddy” or mentor.

One final note is to clarify board members’ roles both individually and as a governing body, and to constantly remind them of this. Often, it is lack of clarity on roles that is the root of many board problems.

Once your board members have a clear understanding of your organization and the role they can play to move the mission forward, then you get to move into matchmaking gear! Chat with new (and even existing) board members about their strengths and interests, so you can find the best way to engage them.

Recently, my investment advisor shared that she was going to cringe if she was asked to serve on one more nonprofit Investment Committee. As she put it, “I do this all day long and am tired of it. I would prefer to develop a skill in another area.” While not everyone feels like she does, the key is asking what your board members would prefer.

If there are certain committees or projects they would be more interested in, then do your best to connect them to those opportunities. Engaging board members is a two-way street, hopefully designed to be mutually beneficial to both parties.

Board engagement is not fixed, nor is it simple or quick. Fortunately, it is achievable with the right investment of time and thoughtfulness. Here’s wishing you and your Board a year of healthy engagement!


About the Author

Stacey Wedding is the Founder, CEO, and Chief Strategist at Professionals in Philanthropy. A national speaker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, she has worn many hats in her 20 years leading and serving the philanthropy sector.

She is one of only 150 Board Certified Governance Trainers in the world, and her firm, Professionals in Philanthropy, specializes in nonprofit board governance, grant readiness, strategic planning, and storytelling.

Stacey has received numerous awards, including the Athena Leadership Award, Top 40 Under 40, and Women to Watch. She walks the talk through her own company’s generosity. Her firm gives 10 percent of their gross revenues to charitable organizations each year and her team of eight volunteer more than 1,500 hours annually.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Nonprofit Summit  Professionals in Philanthropy  Stacey Wedding 

PermalinkComments (0)
Page 5 of 10
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10
Contact Us

Phone: (803) 929-0399
Email Us 
PO Box 12903
Columbia, SC 29211

Subscribe to our e-newsletter