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Fundraising Essentials for Small Shops

Posted By Samantha Shirley, CharityProud, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

If you are a 1-, 2-, or 3-person shop, wearing multiple hats in your nonprofit office in addition to needing to fundraise: this post is for you. Nonprofit leaders are often brought in because of their passion for the cause and ability to run an amazing program for the community they serve--but did we also mention you need to fundraise to keep your doors open? Where do you start? What are the essentials when you would rather be spending your time saving the world? (Psst…it’s not planning a gala.)

Much of the success in a fundraising plan comes from forming good habits. When you figure out the percentage of time you can devote to your development work, divide that into thirds—acquiring annual donors, major gift relationships and stewardship.


Build Your Network

You may already have a constituent base and not even realize it. All of those volunteers, program participants, event attendees—those are future donors! They may not have given yet, but everyone that touches your organization should be a constituent in your donor management software. You may want to even try asking them to spread the word about your organization—one they are already engaged in and have their own story.

These days, social media is also going to play a big role in your community outreach. The great thing is you can come up with your content and schedule it in advance. Commit to posting at least once per week—whether it’s a link to an article, your donation page, a feature on your program, etc.



Keep in mind that donations will not roll in if they are not being asked for. Schedule one appeal per quarter—rather than just your typical “end of year appeal”. This can be an email, letter or postcard. Let it show the impact donations make on your program.


Major Gifts

Identify your major donors or business partners and schedule one lunch or coffee meeting per week so you can begin to build a relationship, learn their philanthropic priorities, how they would like to be involved with your organization, and eventually make an ask.



It will always cost more to acquire new donors than to retain those that you already have. One of the most effective ways to do this is to send timely acknowledgements—if not the day the gift is received, at least at the end of the week. You can set up a night once per quarter for volunteers or board members to make thank-you calls. Here are some other ways to say thank you!


When you are able to set up your strategy and create reminders for yourself, these tactics will become second-nature. Eventually you will be able to build on them for even more impact, but it’s important to create your sustainable foundation and internal process before trying to take on everything at once—or nothing at all!


Samantha Shirley, Lead Product Manager, CharityProud

Charityproud is a donor management software based in Charleston, SC. The user-friendly and robust platform is affordable, and provides access to free, unlimited customer support. Together SC members can enjoy 50% off their implementation fee and one month of free service—a $200+ savings! Click here to request a demo.

Tags:  donors  fundraising  nonprofits 


Quickbooks Made Easy!!!

Posted By Meagan Tarnow, Quickbooks Made Easy, Thursday, August 17, 2017

The first time I heard Gregg Bossen speak, at a conference for QuickBooks ProAdvisors where he was schooling a room full of accountants on how best to use QuickBooks with their nonprofit clients, I tweeted out on the conference app, “I’m going to give this man a megaphone!!!”

I may have used a few more exclamation points.

And I’m sure Gregg never knew, because the amount of time he seems to spend on social media is pretty close to zero.

The reason for my excitement was that Gregg was the first accountant on the national stage who used QuickBooks the way I thought it should be used. Other people focused on setting up the data file in a way that lined up directly with the 990 – resulting in account headings like Indirect Public Support (what?!?). Gregg was the only one who prioritized the needs of the people who were actually using the information on a daily basis – the management and Board.

(Later I found out that the reason Gregg “agreed with me” was that he was responsible for a lot of my opinions in the first place. When I first decided to specialize in nonprofits back in 2000, I purchased and studied a pair of CDs from Real World Training called “Using QuickBooks in Nonprofits.” Turns out that curriculum was written by none other than Gregg Bossen.)

When I learned that Gregg would be doing his live training near me (well, near-ish. The training was in Chicago, and I live in Saint Paul. But that counts as near for a girl raised in Montana), I signed right up. In part, I wanted to check it out – see if he knew what he was talking about, whether he was full of baloney, or giving solid advice.

Several entertaining, informative hours later, I had my answer. The training was time and money well-spent. Even though I had been using QuickBooks exclusively with nonprofits for more than fifteen years, I walked away with some great new ideas, as well as a renewed commitment to my initial impulse to “give this man a megaphone.” I started campaigning to bring his live training to Minnesota, and a year later, we filled the room.

With the live seminar in Columbia, SC coming up no matter where you live South Carolina, the drive is shorter than mine was to Chicago. And whether you are new to QuickBooks and want to do things right, trying to clean up an inherited “mess”, or an old dog like me who thinks she knows all the tricks, I’m convinced you’ll find the training worth your time.

Meagan Tarnow

Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor
Account Manager with QuickBooks Made Easy
Principal at The Mobius Group

Tags:  accoutning  financial mangement  quickbooks 


Together SC seeks proposals for Board Leadership Summit Keynote

Posted By Debbie Nelson, Together SC, Friday, July 14, 2017

Together SC is seeking a Keynote Partner to collaborate in the development and delivery of an inspiring and engaging curriculum for the 2017 – 2018 Board Leadership Summit (BLS) Program to be held across South Carolina. Together SC has held 5 successful BLS events over the past year with more than 400 nonprofit board leaders and CEOs in attendance. Given the positive feedback we have received from participants we are eager to expand this programming over the coming year.

In the past, each half-day BLS kicked off with an inspiring and engaging keynote address. Following this session, participants interacted with their colleagues at “Lead & Learn” table discussions facilitated by nonprofit experts. Info about past events can be found at

Please see the attached RFP, and contact Debbie Nelson by email at with any questions.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Board Leadership Summit  knowledge network 


Perspective on Senator Tim Scott's Opportunity Agenda

Posted By Naomi Torfin, Senior Director of Public Policy, United Way of SC, Monday, June 19, 2017

Senator Tim Scott’s Opportunity Agenda represents key conservative efforts to tackle difficult barriers many Americans and South Carolinian’s face while struggling to move out of poverty.

Through avenues of empowerment and investment for individuals, communities, and employment, the Senator’s Agenda is an important opportunity for nonprofits across SC to become “Allies for Good” in key areas.

Senator Scott’s visit with nonprofit leaders from across the state served to build understanding for both the intention of the Opportunity Agenda, and how nonprofit leadership can align their efforts with the Senator’s national efforts to forge pathways out of poverty for millions of Americans. The vital work of the Opportunity Agenda also needs those of us who work with individuals in the community every day to make it a success on the ground. 

As SC continues to see growth in skill manufacturing and similar jobs in the state, the opportunity for nonprofits from all areas to partner and utilize these avenues to lift individuals and communities out of poverty will only continue to grow. 

The Opportunity Agenda is precisely toward that end, as Senator Scott articulated to nonprofit leaders, to lift families and communities out of poverty through training, apprenticeship, and education. It has already seen success through the passage of the SKILLS Act and hopes to see even more success with the Investing in Opportunity Act, currently in the Senate.   

More and more, those of us working in education and job training see the gaps between employee skills and employer needs. The SKILLS Act focused on modernizing programs to ensure education and training focuses on today’s in-demand jobs, supports young job seekers by reducing the age limitation from 18 to 16. It recognizes that not all graduates will move on to college, and seeks to ensure that our youngest workers find opportunities through alternative skills and don’t fall into poverty because of it. Nonprofits working in K-12 education and workforce development are most closely aligned with the work of this bill. In short, the SKILLS Act works to assure opportunities for financial stability for all. 

The LEAP Act seeks to empower Apprenticeship programs to assure individuals can receive income while they work. Many of SC’s workforce and basic needs programs serve people every day for whom these programs could transform their lives.  

The Investing in Opportunity Act focuses on developing communities – a effort many nonprofits across the state are invested in. It is similar to a tax credit, but uses capital gains as investment rather than individual donations, SC nonprofits working in community development can look at ways to partner on this effort that guide and support investments reflect the needs of community members and expand upon the great efforts of existing development and community finance work. 

The Opportunity Agenda is part of a growing conservative effort to become a greater participant in the poverty solution. Senator Scott’s leadership is an important part of this effort, as he understands the difficult road many trudge to break out. It is now up to us to recognize and align where we can to inform and act in our neighborhoods and cities – with our neighbors, clients, and partners to see how we can truly become Allies for Good. 

Naomi Torfin

Senior Director of Public Policy

United Way of SC


Tags:  Opportunity Agenda  Public Policy  Senator Tim Scott  United Way of SC 

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Carolina Business Solutions Shares Top Five Actions For Protecting PCs

Posted By John Morelock, Carolina Business Equipment, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Six days a week, I manage an IT team that supports thousands of users and hundreds of servers. We see a lot and I read two to four articles a day trying to stay ahead of the curve. I’ve been asked to share the top things a nonprofit organization can do to protect its PCs from hackers, infections, and Malware.

There’s a lot to this question and most people are starting from different places, so this answer varies depending on where you are today. That said, here are the things I would tell most people who asked me.

1) There could be several #1’s so here’s 1A, 1B, and 1C:

a. Keep you operating system and drivers up to date!
Companies like Microsoft and Apple work hard to release updates to protect your PC from vulnerabilities used to penetrate your system. The manufacturer of your hardware also has software to allow your PC to function, called drivers. Make sure your drivers are current, too.

b. Use firewalls.
Turn on the software firewall in the operating system and invest in a firewall router, rather than using the cheap router your ISP provides. Firewalls help control I/O traffic and help keep you safe from unauthorized access.

c. Keep your AV (AntiVirus) updated.
Most AV relies on updated lists to ID Malware. Some free AV is worth less than you pay for it, because it instills a false sense of safety. Get an AV package you know is good and keep it up to date.

2) Be vigilant about the emails you open and read.
Like the legend of the vampire, some evil wants to be invited in. Most email hacks are old and weak, but if you open that email and click that link, you’ve just become a victim. Do not open unexpected email, even from your mom or pastor. Someone you know may have an infected PC and that PC is accessing their list and emailing you to look just like it came from them; asking you to “Click this funny link,” but the joke is on you…and you may not even know it. Clicking a simple link could give the hacker access to your private data, allow them to use your PC as a software “bot,” to even encrypt your files and demand a ransom. Simple rule, “Don’t click it unless you know it.” Go old school and call to verify those emails. It’s a hassle but not as much as being a pawn in a worldwide hack scheme.

3) Don’t go to dicey websites
Thousands of websites are used to spread malware and the list is growing and changes. How are you to know what sites are safe? You can use a free tool called Open DNS.
You can learn how to use this tool by going to: This is the gold standard for safe sites. You can also block unwanted sites like terrorist sites etc.
Be wary of web based ads on the Internet offering free downloads.

4) Power off your PC when you are not using it.
Your PC can’t get infected when it is off. In today’s fast paced world, hackers are constantly looking for any vulnerable system. If the website you have up in your browser on gets infected your PC could get attacked too.

5) Get offsite automatic cloud-based backup.
Without a team of IT professionals to cover every issue, you may miss something. Don’t panic or grow paranoid, there is no need to be anxious if everything is backed up. Turn on Carbonite or a similar service and if your files get locked or lost or your system is hit or even lost, the real importance is your files. It’s a hassle, but in the worst case, you can wipe your system, set it to new and reinstall everything.

There’s a lot more to good IT and there are more things that you can do to be safe, like: close unused ports, use better passwords and don’t take candy from strangers. BUT the 5 points listed above are the big ones for protecting your PC from hackers, virus, malware and Kryptolocker attacks.

CBE does all this and much more for our clients. So, in closing if you’re the DIY type, this list will get you started. If you are ready to step up to the big leagues get an outsourced IT provider to make this happen for you.

John Morelock 
Director IT Solutions & Services 
Carolina Business Equipment

Tags:  Carolina Business Equipment  IT 

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Riggs Partners to host 2017 CreateAthon for SC Nonprofits

Posted By Together SC, Friday, June 2, 2017
CreateAthon season is upon us! 

For the past 20 years, Riggs Partners has hosted CreateAthon, a 24-hour marathon where marketing professionals provide services to nonprofit organizations on a pro bono basis. In total, Riggs Partners have served upwards of 200 nonprofits in South Carolina and have helped more than 100 marketing organizations across the country host in their communities. 

Riggs Partners will accept applications from nonprofit organizations in the Midlands and Upstate until July 15. Applications are available on the Riggs Partners website. Midlands and Upstate-area nonprofits selected for participation will be notified in August. 

Trio Solutions, a marketing firm located in Mount Pleasant, has helped host CreateAthon for several years in the Lowcountry. If you are a Lowcountry nonprofit interested in participating, Trio Solutions will be accepting applications starting July 10. 

CreateAthon began as Riggs Partners’ local community service program in 1998 and is now a national 501(c) 3 organization that recruits marketing and communications agencies, universities, professional organizations and corporate marketing teams as CreateAthon partners. In total, the program has served more than 1,300 nonprofit organizations in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, delivering pro bono marketing projects valued at more than $24 million. 

Tags:  CreateAthon  Riggs Partners  SC Nonprofits 

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Revisions to Beverage Law

Posted By Brook Bristow, Thursday, May 25, 2017
Hello, Together SC members!

As you’ll recall, since last summer, nonprofits across South Carolina have had to deal with the fallout from the new DOR and SLED crackdown on special events, which has included donated alcohol from breweries, wineries, and distilleries to your organizations. If you need a refresher, you can revisit a blog I wrote last year.

You can also go back to some of the discussion had on the Together SC blog about the issue. The bottom line was that after the crackdown, producers were not longer allowed to donate product to nonprofit organizations. The only donations that could occur were from wholesalers, and even then, nonprofit special events had to meet several criteria in order to receive such a donation.

Well, we have good news! This year, the South Carolina General Assembly heard those concerns and passed S. 114, which will fix many of the issues experienced over the last year. The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor this week. So, what is being fixed and what will the procedure be going forward? Here is a quick rundown:

How will licensing work? 
In order to receive any donation, you’ll need to apply to DOR for a nonprofit special event permit. Most nonprofits have undoubtedly done this before and are aware of the process which is staying pretty much the same. You’ll be limited to four of these permits each year and each event cannot last more than 72 hours.

Who can donate? 
You can solicit and receive donations from both producers and wholesalers of alcohol. For whomever you’re approaching, they need to be licensed in South Carolina, even if you’re talking to an out-of-state entity. This means that breweries, wineries, importers, and distilleries may donate. It also means that for the first time, brewpubs may donate as well.

What can be donated? 
For alcohol, you can have beer, wine, and spirits. It would also include other malt beverages or fermented beverages. No matter what is being donated, it must be something registered with DOR. Unfortunately, products produced at home by non-professionals such as beer and wine are not allowed.

How will a donation work? 
No matter if a producer or wholesaler is donating to you, the donation will need to be transferred from a wholesaler. You can either pickup the donation at the wholesaler’s place of business or have it delivered to the event site, which you will need to be in control of - meaning, your license will need to have that date on it in addition to the event date if it is earlier. You'll need to have your license in hand from DOR under either circumstance. The wholesaler will also provide you with an invoice. You’ll need to have this along with your license at the event.

Can we get help at the event? 
Yes, a producer will be able to provide employees or agents to assist in pouring and may also provide equipment to pour. Whomever they provide will need to have received the appropriate alcohol training, of course. A wholesaler may not provide employees or agents to pour. However, it may provide you with equipment to pour.

So, that’s all of the good news. The bad news is that unfortunately, this new law won’t take place until 6 months from now - meaning, we’re looking at November for when things can get back to normal. In the meantime, you’ll have to continue to operate how you have been for the last year. 

If you need any assistance, feel free to reach out.

Brook Bristow

Owner, Bristow Beverage Law

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  beverage law  Legal  Legislative  Together SC 

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The President's Budget

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Thursday, May 25, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017

The National Council of Nonprofits released an detailed analysis of President Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. Together SC encourages members to take time to understand the breadth and scope of the proposals for cuts to important services, many delivered by nonprofits. While these cuts give an important view into what the Trump Administration believes is important for the U.S., we remind everyone that the proposals are only a part of the process and the final budget will come from the legislative branch. 

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) put yesterday's release in perspective: "I hope that people don't panic over the President's - any President's - budget. They're just suggestions.

We also suggest that SC nonprofits not panic, but be vigilant and reach out to your legislative representatives to express your thoughts on the importance of programs that have been suggested for cuts. Be sure to get your voices heard!

Tags:  Budget  DC  Federal Government  National Council of Nonprofits 


Leading Forward

Posted By Mike Riordan, Monday, May 1, 2017
I had the opportunity recently to attend the Together SC Upstate Board Leadership Summit and
 this event provided perspective for me as both a CEO and a board member. There are some great takeaways from Charles Weathers and the breakout sessions that I would like to share:


  • Charles Weathers reminded me there is a difference between a diverse board and an inclusive board. This is more than just optics; the opinions and experiences that an inclusive board brings allows an organization to provide better services to their community.
  •  “Take the best and leave the rest,” or as I think about it, taking 100% responsibility. While people like to be a hero, this requires there also be a victim and a villain. By being responsible only for yourself, you transform those roles from hero to coach, villains to challengers and victims to creators.
  • Similar to responsibility, Charles reminded us to serve on boards that we have the time and passion to commit to. Being able to say “No” is very powerful because it allows us to take responsibility for our lives and benefits the organizations we do decide to work with.  
  • A positive relationship between a CEO and board chair is crucial. Several years ago, I had a conversation with my board chair about a family matter. In a loving and supportive way, my board chair was able to ask about my personal needs while making sure the organization would continue to be successful. Having a comfort level that allows a good working relationship between CEO and board chair contributes to organizational success. 


About the Author

Michael Riordan serves as CEO of the Strategic Coordinating Organization (SCO) for Greenville Health System (GHS). GHS is one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in the Southeast with eight medical campuses, over 150 physician practice sites, more than 15,000 employees, including almost 2,000 physicians and providers, and operating revenues of approximately $2.2 billion.


Prior to joining GHS he served as president and CEO of the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System and as senior associate hospital administrator for Emory University Hospital and Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He also served three years in the United States Marine Corps as a lieutenant.


Riordan currently serves on the governing boards of the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems, and Health Sciences South Carolina. He is Chairman of the Furman University Board of Trustees and serves on the board of Liberty Fellowship, an incubator for leadership in South Carolina.


Riordan earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts/English and a master’s degree in education/psychology from Columbia University in New York, as well as a master’s degree in health systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Tags:  Leading Forward  Together SC 

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Together SC issues RFP for Accounting Services

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Friday, April 28, 2017

Request for Proposals

Date: April 28, 2017

To: All Interested Parties

From: Benjamin D. Bullock, Director of Operations, Together SC

Subject: RFP for Accounting/Bookkeeping Services


Together SC is currently seeking proposals from external accounting / bookkeeping organizations to provide such services to Together SC. 


Together SC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership association (with over 800 members) based in Columbia, South Carolina, whose purpose is “to unite, strengthen, and advance our state’s nonprofit community, so we may enrich the quality of life for all.” Its annual budget is approximately $600,000, with a staff of 3 employees and 7+ contractors. Its revenue is earned through member dues, training fees, contracts, sponsorships, and grants. Together SC operates on a Fiscal Year ending June 30.



We are looking for a detail-oriented, highly-knowledgeable, and reliable firm with an excellent reputation in nonprofit accounting, that is committed to serving South Carolina’s Nonprofit sector, to provide:


1) Bookkeeping Services

  • Record semi-monthly payroll, benefits, and PTO information received from Together SC’s contracted Professional Employer Organization (PEO), as well as year-end functional expense allocations.
  • Record vendor invoices and pay bills. A cloud-based, mobile-friendly system for reviewing and approving bills is preferred.
  • Record A/R, payments, and bank deposits.
  • Reconcile bank statements.
  • Record deferred revenue on an annual basis.
  • Maintain the chart of accounts and an orderly accounting filing system.


2) Financial Reporting

  • Prepare quarterly statements of Income & Expense, Balance Sheet, and other reports as necessary for Finance Committee meetings.
  • Provide other financial reports as necessary.

3) Audit

  • Develop and post end-of-year journal entries.
  • Prepare year-end balance sheet and revenue and expenditure reports for auditor.
  • Provide audit process and 990 support. Audits are typically conducted from July through August.


4) Information Technology

  • Provide accurate and up-to-date online access through a secure web portal to financial information.
  • Ability to synch with Together SC’s YourMembership database through Quickbooks plug-in is preferred. 


5) Support  

  • Provide assistance, guidance, and reccomendations to improve internal control procedures and efficiency.
  • Provide as-needed consultation on financial policies and procedures.
  • Provide timely assistance on an as-needed basis.


Together SC currently uses Quickbooks, and would prefer to stay on that platform but will entertain other options. The chosen firm would be working closely with Together SC’s Director of Operations, and we expect clear and timely communication and a team effort to complete the work needed. We would need this firm in place at the start of our next fiscal year, July 1, 2017.



Please use the following format when preparing your response. Please limit the proposal to five pages (excluding attachments).


Section 1: Proposer Information: Company name, primary contact, email, phone, etc.

Section 2: Scope of work/description of services and approach to bookkeeping, accounting, and reporting services, particularly as it relates nonprofits and membership organizations.

 Section 3: Firm’s qualifications: Summary of previous similar work for nonprofit organizations; proficiency with Quickbooks and YourMembership or similar Customer Relations Management software. Please include at least three nonprofit or association clients for which proposer has performed similar work as references, with current contact information for each.

 Section 4: Description of cost structure that include rates for bookkeeping and CPA services, as well as a description of how fees will be charged for questions on technical matters that may arise throughout the engagement.

 Attachments: Resumes and bios for the firm’s principal(s), as well as the account manager who would be assigned to this engagement. Any other materials to demonstrate capabilities and/or commitment to nonprofit organizations in South Carolina, and summary of prior involvement with Together SC.



Complete proposals are due by 5:00 pm EDT on Monday, May 15, 2017. Completed proposals should be submitted via email to Benjamin Bullock, Director of Operations at



Proposals will be reviewed for completeness, experience with previous similar work, quality of references, and reasonableness of cost structure, and a strength of support of South Carolina’s Nonprofit sector, generally, and Together SC in particular. Interviews may be requested with select proposers. Selected bidder will be notified in writing by May 29, 2017. Transition work will begin on June 19, 2017.

Tags:  accounting  bookkeeping  RFP 

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