Engage - The SECF Blog


SECF's Blog

Engage, SECF’s blog, is a space for SECF members, staff and partners to share their thoughts on the latest trends and best practices in philanthropy. Engage is also used for important announcements about upcoming SECF events and programs.

Do you have a story or insight you’d like to share with our members on Engage? Contact David Miller, director of marketing and communications, at david@secf.org or at (404) 524-0911 to discuss your idea.

2019 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey Now Open

Author: Stephen Sherman


SECF is pleased to partner with the Council on Foundations and the United Philanthropy Forum to encourage participation in the 2019 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey.

The annual Grantmaker Salary and Benefits (GSB) Survey provides grantmakers with the most comprehensive data on foundation staff salary and compensation data. The 2019 survey also includes questions related to board compensation and demographics.

Your participation in the GSB survey is needed – the greater the participation, the greater the insights for the sector.

What’s the benefit for participating organizations?

All survey participants will receive a copy of the full GSB report, the board compensation report, and access to COF’s benchmarking platform to create custom salary reports. The full report and board compensation report retail for $538, but are offered free to participating organizations. Both reports will be released in October 2019.

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Spring 2019 Issue of Inspiration Now Available to SECF Members!

Tags: Inspiration 
Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


The latest issue of Inspiration, SECF's quarterly magazine, is now available for download by all SECF members! Our latest issue includes:

  • A cover story detailing how two SECF members, The Kendeda Fund and the Kresge Foundation, are supporting a project that brings together partners from multiple sectors to address shared concerns about the environment, the economy and equity.
  • The latest installment of our Then, Now & What's Next series on the history of SECF and Southern Philanthropy. In this installment, you'll learn how SECF has kept up with changing times and the evolving needs of Southern foundations as they've grown in number and complexity.
  • A preview of The Spartanburg County Foundation's Robert Hett Chapman III Center for Philanthropy - an ambitious development that will not only house some of the foundation's staff but also will serve as home base for a series of efforts that will engage the entire community.

This issue also includes reflections from President & CEO Janine Lee, an interview with new Arthur Vining Davis Foundations President Dr. Michael Murray, an introduction to the latest members of the SECF family and more!

Inspiration is mailed to each SECF member organization, as well as Hull Fellows alumni. A PDF is also available for download - members can login to access our Inspiration archives at any time!

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Program Archives Now Online at SECF.org

Tags: SECF Events 
Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: David Miller


SECF's events and programs are one of the top benefits of membership. However, we know that many of our members have busy calendars and can't always attend a program in person -- and for those who can, it's not always easy to keep track of everything you learned, especially months or years down the road.

That's why we've launched a new feature on SECF.org this week: program archives! Members who log in to SECF.org can find our archives under the Programs menu accessible from anywhere on the site -- just click Archived Programs to get started.

The archives currently contain materials from the past three years for the Annual Meeting, CEO Forum and Family Foundations Forum. Here you'll find presentations, handouts and more from each of these events. The archive also includes webinars going back to 2013.

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Winter 2018 Issue of Inspiration Now Available to SECF Members

Tags: Inspiration 
Author: David Miller


The final 2018 issue of Inspiration, SECF's quarterly magazine, is now online, with print copies on the way to foundations across the region.

This issue includes:

  • The final installment of our series, Fulfilling the Passing Gear Promise, looking at how foundations across the region are using the Passing Gear approach to address systemic issues in their communities. In this issue, we look at how the Danville Regional Foundation has used its Regional Report Card to spark change - in particular, the foundation has worked to put the Report Card's findings in the hands of community groups and leaders best poised to act on its findings.
  • The first installment of a new series, Then, Now & What's Next, marking SECF's 50th Anniversary! We open with a look at public policy - tax legislation in 1969 was the motivating force behind SECF's founding and has played a crucial role in our work ever since. This article not only looks at how SECF's public policy work has evolved into the robust program that exists today, but also previews a few things set to happen in the year ahead.
  • A look at the Family First Prevention Services Act from an expert who knows it best: Casey Family Programs President & CEO Dr. William C. Bell. Bell reviews how the legislation, which became law earlier this year, opens up new avenues for foundations to support children in their communities. He focuses strongly on cross-sector collaboration and looks at seven key areas foundations should consider as they work to capitalize on the new law.

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2018 Salary Data for Southeast Grantmakers Now Available on SECF.org!

Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: Stephen Sherman


Southern foundations appear to be in the middle of a hiring boom. In SECF’s 2018 membership survey, which will be released in full at the 49th Annual Meeting, more than half of responding organizations reported having added new staff within the past two years.

Community foundations were the most likely to have added staff, but health legacy and independent foundations were not far behind. Looking ahead, just about a third of member respondents anticipated hiring new staff within the coming year.

Just like grantmaking, hiring and salary decisions are done best when guided by thoughtful analysis and current data, and SECF members have access to both. Each year, SECF partners with the Council on Foundations (COF) to produce comparative analyses of salary data for foundation staff and CEOs in the Southeast. These reports include the average, median, minimum and maximum salaries for a range of 36 staff positions at all levels in foundations based in the 11 Southeast states.

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New NNCG Partnership Connects SECF Members to Knowledge and Expertise

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: Dwayne Marshall


SECF works every day to ensure our members are not only aware of the latest trends and emerging best practices in the field, but also are given the tools to integrate them into their own work.

That’s why I’m excited to announce a new partnership between SECF and the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG) to share an online resource that puts expert skills and knowledge at the fingertips of our members across the Southeast.

NNCG’s Directory of Consultants contains hundreds of highly qualified, carefully vetted consultants — all searchable by skill set, geography, foundation type or program area. The NNCG Directory of Consultants is the only directory of experienced, vetted philanthropy consultants serving all types and sizes of grantmakers.

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Annual Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey Opens Next Week

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: Stephen Sherman


SECF is pleased to be among 10 regional philanthropy-serving organizations from across the county to partner with the Council on Foundations (COF) on the 2018 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits (GSB) Survey.

Since 1980, the GSB Survey has provided the sector with the most comprehensive data on staff composition and compensation in the United States for grantmakers to use in planning budgets, benchmarking personnel policies and practices, determining salary levels for new and existing staff, and more.

We encourage all SECF members to participate in the 2018 GSB Survey – the greater the participation, the greater the insight.

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Exponent Philanthropy Resources for Small-Staff Foundations

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: Jaci Bertrand


Through a partnership between SECF, the United Philanthropy Forum and Exponent Philanthropy, members can take advantage of discounts on Exponent publications and programs. Keep reading to learn more about this SECF member benefit!

Exponent Philanthropy Publications

SECF members are eligible for a 20 percent discount on the following Exponent publications:

The Foundation Guidebook
This signature publication is written especially for newcomers to foundations or philanthropy. Gain the baseline knowledge to operate your foundation, including board responsibilities, tax and legal issues, administrative details, investment matters, grantmaking basics and more.

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2017 Salary Data for Southeast Grantmakers Now Available

Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: Stephen Sherman


In SECF’s 2016 market analysis, 43 percent of responding organizations stated that they anticipated adding new staff within the next 12 months and close to a third reported having replaced their executive director within the past three years.

With each new staff member, promotion, or position added, there are crucial decisions that have to be made regarding compensation. Not only do foundations want to remain competitive and attract the best talent, but they also have to show due diligence and demonstrate that staff and CEO compensation is, according to IRS guidelines, “reasonable and not excessive.” As a best practice, it is recommended that foundations and other charities review comparable salary and benefits data for other organizations with similar missions and of a similar budget or asset size.

Each year, SECF partners with the Council on Foundations (COF) to produce comparative analyses of salary data for foundation staff and CEOs in the Southeast. These reports are generated using COF’s Benchmarking Central tool that includes salary data for staff in multiple roles within foundations.

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Getting to Know SECF

Category: Member Benefits, 


If you’re new to the SECF family, or are considering applying for membership, we want to make sure you know everything that makes SECF a grantmaker network like no other.

Last week, we hosted “Getting to Know SECF,” a webinar highlighting the people, programs, events and benefits that have made us one of the strongest and most vibrant grantmaker networks in the country, one that has continued to attract new members all while hitting a 96 percent retention rate in the last year.

If you couldn’t make this webinar, or joined us but would like to review what makes SECF membership so valuable, you can view the entire presentation below. Our speakers included me, as well as SECF President & CEO Janine Lee, Senior Director of Programs & Partnerships Dwayne Marshall, Director of Marketing & Communications David Miller, and three members of the SECF Board of Trustees – Bob Fockler of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, Stephanie Cooper-Lewter of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, and Gilbert Miller of the Bradley-Turner Foundation.

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
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Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116

Mission: The Southeastern Council of Foundations serves, connects, strengthens and champions philanthropy and philanthropic infrastructure in the South.