Shine the Light on Your Nonprofit Builds a Greater Good

Every day in Greenville County, I see the nonprofit community accomplishing amazing things—good people administering great programs that are not just changing lives, but saving lives.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to know we are doing good work. To make sure we’re more than a bandage, to do more than just keep our heads above water, and to truly make a difference, nonprofits need the infrastructure and capacity to build a solid plan for the future.

With a worthy cause, a committed staff, and some passionate volunteers and donors—we can do a lot of great things. But without a good plan (one that includes a clear vision for the future as well as concrete strategies and steps to reach our goal) we may not achieve all that we hope for. A good plan helps us go beyond the meal we provide today or the shelter we provide tonight and give us the chance to dream big.

Just like in the for-profit world, where a sound infrastructure and capacity is essential to the growth of almost any business, doing the same in the nonprofit world will help us serve more people, and serve them better. The reality of any plan is that there’s an infrastructure of organization that must be created and maintained. We must use all our resources efficiently, with our short-term and long-term goals always in mind. We must adapt and be ready to change when the community changes.

Many organizations are struggling to just to meet their daily demand for services, let alone take the time to plan for next year or create a vision for five years from now. They struggle to have enough staff—paid and volunteers. They struggle with resources—funding and materials. They struggle to communicate—to those in need and to donors.

DNA Creative Communications hosts low-cost Shine the Light on Your Nonprofit workshops that have offered training programs for our community for the past four years and have helped over 200 non-profits work better for the greater good. I urge you to attend their workshop “Investing in Nonprofit Infrastructure: An Engine to Effective Programming,” Sept. 18 at the Kroc Center. I will present with experts Carrie Scott, Find Great People HR Consulting; Gage Weekes, Hollingsworth Funds; Pat Michaels, Goodwill Industries of the Upstate/Midlands SC; Amy Bibby, Dixon Hughes Goodman; Phil Yanov, Tech After Five, Craig Tarkenton, EDTS; Brian Clark, OnPoint CFO & Controller Services; and JoKeitha Seabrook, United Way of Greenville County.

It’s a full toolbox of an agenda that will provide an informative day-long workshop. Topics will cover human resource recruitment and retention, financial management solutions and emerging information technology. Building the right infrastructure for the nonprofit community is critical if we are to make a lasting impact in Greenville County. If we only do good work for today, we are missing the opportunity to achieve our dream of a greater good for tomorrow.
To register for “Investing in Non-profit Infrastructure: An Engine to Effective Programming,” contact Katie Ward, 864-235-0959, ext. 0 or visit

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Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson is the president and founder of DNA Creative Communications, a woman-owned public relations and inspirational marketing firm for nonprofit organizations. Under Debbie’s leadership, in 2010 DNA founded Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, an annual training program for Greenville nonprofits in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville County, the United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Funds. To support other nonprofits across the state, she also manages education programs for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization. As an a advocate for the nonprofit community, each month Debbie shares nonprofit stories in her Shine the Light columns in the Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Monthly. In addition she teaches nonprofit marketing at Clemson University to inspire and develop future nonprofit leaders. Debbie is a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative. She currently serves on the boards of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the United Way of Greenville County and the United Way Association of South Carolina.

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