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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 

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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 

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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

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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 

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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 

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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.

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Tags:  Nonprofit Summit  Professionals in Philanthropy  Stacey Wedding 

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Your Round-Up for MLK Events Across the State

Posted By SCANPO, Monday, January 9, 2017

Next Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — a day for us to commemorate this man’s incredible legacy and remind ourselves that the fight for racial equality is far from over.

Make time to attend your local gathering to celebrate how far we have come and support the work that must be done to achieve true equality for all mankind.

Check out these opportunities to show your support and engage:

·      MLK Unity Week at Wofford College – Darrin Goss, Sr. is the speaker

·      Six-Day MLK Celebration hosted by the YWCA of Greater Charleston

·      MLK Breakfast hosted by Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston

·      MLK Celebration hosted by Clemson University

·      MLK Days of Service and Event Series hosted by University of South Carolina

·      2017 Aiken Community Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration – Bakari Sellers in keynote speaker

·      MLK Day Celebration hosted by Columbia College


Tags:  Events  MLK  SCANPO 

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Changes Coming for Nonprofits in the New Congress and Administration

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Thursday, January 5, 2017

With the likely change from government gridlock to fast and furious legislating in Washington this month, many nonprofit and foundation professionals are struggling to see how the pieces fit together and where their advocacy efforts can promote positive solutions. Our national network, the National Council of Nonprofits*, just published a look at six federal issues of sector-wide importance that will likely be taken up in the coming weeks and months, and lays out what they mean for your nonprofit. We encourage you to read the article Nonprofits Need to Stand Together to Push for Smart Public Policies,” share it with your board and other stakeholders, and be ready to stand up to defend nonprofit missions. Working with our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits, we will keep you informed on developments in our nation’s capital that affect the work of nonprofits in South Carolina.

*SCANPO member organizations are also members of the National Council of Nonprofits!

Tags:  Advocacy  Congress  National  National Council of Nonprofits  Public Policy  Trump 


How To Write A Foolproof Social Media Marketing Plan for You Nonprofit

Posted By John Haydon, Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What separates successful nonprofit marketing campaigns from unsuccessful ones isn’t ad budgets or audience size. And it certainly isn’t a viral video. It’s planning. 

All successful marketing campaigns start with a written plan that serves to:

Inspire action – A solid plan inspires action. Partners, sponsors, fundraisers, and supporters all need to feel a sense of mission about their involvement. Rather than emphasizing your nonprofits goal, you should connect all stakeholders to the bigger goal of feeding more families, providing more clean water, saving more cats and dogs, etc.

Measure success – Your plan should have specific metrics that you can track before, during, and after the campaign. The most important metrics follow the actions you expect people to take. For example, walk-a-thon metrics might include visits to the registration page, the number of people who register, and the number of donors each registrant recruits. 

Build relationships - Your plan should also serve to nurture the various relationships you’ve worked so hard to develop. Sponsors, major donors, and volunteers should play a meaningful role that makes sense over the long-term, and not just a one-off social media campaign. 

What does a social media strategy look like?

In my experience working with hundreds of nonprofits, simple gets it done. Complex social media strategies usually die in a 3-ring binder, never to be acted upon. 

The POST method (coined by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book, Groundswell) is a proven framework for developing a social media strategy. It outlines the “order of operations” for any marketing plan: People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology.   

P – People

You can’t achieve even a basic level of success on social media if you don’t understand your people. No one will like, retweet, or repin your blog post if you haven’t answered the only questions that really matter: What’s in it for them? What do they care about? What actions are they likely to take? 

O – Objectives

Clear objectives help you determine success during and after any campaign. Long-term success on social media requires a lot of trial and error. But you have to know what’s a trial and what’s an error. Clear objectives help you discover what you’re doing right.

S – Strategy

Your strategy is more than just a plan. It’s a plan that will meet your objectives based on what you know about your people.

A smart strategy focuses on a value exchange between you and your supporter. What are you going to give in exchange for their email, money, time, influence, and attention?

Whether it’s a meaningful pledge or a sweepstake, write down exactly how you will offer enough value to encourage them to help you achieve your objective.

T – Technology

Once you understand your people, objective, and strategy, you can confidently select the tools and tactics you’ll use for your campaign. For example, if your strategy is to engage Millennials on Instagram, crowdsourcing content around a hashtag would be a tactic.

-John Haydon is one of the most sought-after digital marketing experts for nonprofits and charities. He has helped hundreds of nonprofits realize their best marketing and fundraising results. John has spoken at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, New England Federation of Human Societies, New Media Expo, BBCon, Social Media 4 Nonprofits, AFP New Jersey, and various regional conferences. He is the author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies and Facebook Marketing All-In-One (Wiley), and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, and npEngage.

Tags:  John Haydon  Ready. Set. Fundraise!  SCANPO  Social Media 

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UPDATED 12/9/16: New DoL Overtime Rules Suspended.. For Now.

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Friday, December 9, 2016
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2016

UPDATE:From the National Council of Nonprofits:

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite its consideration of the Labor Department’s appeal of the nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the Overtime Final Rule, BUT not soon enough for the rule to go into effect before the new Congress convenes and President-Elect Trump is inaugurated. Under the expedited briefing schedule, the last brief will be due on January 31, 2017. See the full briefing schedule here. This means that Congress and the new administration have many options for blocking or altering the rule before it ever goes into effect. Here are some resources worth reading:

o   With DOL’s Overtime Rule in Limbo – Now What?, Nonprofit Knowledge Matters, December 7, 2016.

o   The Status (and Future) of the Overtime Rule, David Heinen, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, November 23, 2016.

o   Federal Judge Hits Pause Button on Overtime Rule, Nonprofit Knowledge Matters, November 23, 2016.

Original Post on 11/28/16:

Remember those new federal regulations that raised the salary requirement for the overtime exemption to $47,500?  The ones that had many nonprofit leaders excited and anxious at the same time? The ones for which many had already adjusted their policies, practices, and budgets, as they were to take effect on December 1st, 2016?

Well, hold your horses, because they just got thrown in the air. The National Council of Nonprofits reports (emphasis is ours)

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, a federal district judge in Texas  issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking – at least temporarily – the implementation and enforcement of the Overtime Final Rule that was slated to take effect December 1, 2016. ...The injunction only halts the new rule from becoming law; ... Nonprofit and other employers still must comply with existing federal and state laws regarding fair labor standards, including properly classifying employees as being exempt from or entitled to being paid overtime. 

At this moment, we're not sure what could happen to the new rules. They could be tied up in court until President Trump is inaugurated, in which case he could instruct federal lawyers to drop their challenge to it.

If the matter is settled in court before Jan. 22, and the rules survive, and if the new President wanted to reverse the new rules, then the process is not simple. He'd have to instruct the Department of Labor to issue new regulations, which would take just as long to do (the process for drafting regulations is governed by the federal Administrative Procedures Act, which requires a time-consuming process to be followed) as it took for the current new rules to be drafted and approved. That would mean the new rules could be in effect for at least a year.

And of course, the new Congress could decide to intervene and strike the rules down by disapproving the regulations or amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to forbid the Department of Labor from writing such regulations. Both of these scenarios would be time-consuming as well.

We'll keep you updated as we learn more. Our thanks to our partners at the National Council of Nonprofits for keeping on top of these pressing federal issues. 

Tags:  dol  overtime  Regulations  US Department of Labor 

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