Cayci Banks

Be a Problem Solver...Not an Order Taker

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the IABC/SC Mini Conference. As someone who is a big believer in life-long learning and professional development, I was thrilled to step away from my computer for the day. In addition to winning a door prize (free registration to the fall conference - YAY!), the content was on point.

One presenter who really stood out to me was Tim Floyd from Palmetto Health who spoke to all of us “creatives” in the room. Here are some of the key take-a-ways:

·      There’s no such thing as boring projects, only boring people.

·      Are you an order taker OR a problem solver?

·      How can a client already know what they want when they can’t even really state the problem?

·      Don’t be afraid of bad ideas. They represent creativity in process.

·      Be the creative. Don’t wait for others to ask for it.

As communicators, especially those of you who may work within a nonprofit, we often get bogged down in our to-do lists and don’t take enough time to think creatively, to reframe a current project we are working on, or to simply get ourselves away from the computer and out into the community, which can oftentimes be the best creativity juice booster there is.

So next time someone asks for a simple flyer for an event, think bigger. Tim talked about the time a staff person came to him wanting to encourage people to take the stairs because he didn’t feel like other employees even knew where the stairs were located. The person wanted a flyer. After figuring out the employees did, in fact, know where the stairs were, they just needed some coaxing to use them, Tim gave them a complete marketing campaign centered around being healthy. He added funny quotes and fun facts to the actual stairs, made infomercials about the importance of taking the stairs, and created contests that gave employees monetary incentives if they were "caught in the act" of taking the stairs. Employees loved it! People were taking the stairs just to see the signs and read the quotes. If Tim had simply created the flyer as asked, would the same results have ensued? Absolutely not. So his message is an important one…


By: Cayci Banks, Communications Specialist

Look for the Helpers

We are barely three weeks into 2017 and what a year it has been already. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when Heather and I launched our consulting firm late in 2016, but it has, so far, been a journey like no other I’ve ever been on.

In a short time, our work has taken us across South Carolina and across the country.

  • On one of our projects, we’ve spent time reading, listening to residents, asking questions of the experts, and trying to better understand the challenges and barriers that exist to health and well-being in rural South Carolina. The challenges are real, significant, and deep-rooted.

  • Our team is back and forth weekly to Charlotte, NC working with a group of funders and philanthropists to develop a system of change that presents greater opportunity for the citizens of Mecklenburg County. Certainly not rural America, but the metro has its own challenges.

  • We are preparing to lead a board/staff retreat next week for a statewide nonprofit who is poised and ready to tackle the significant challenge of affordable, reliable housing in South Carolina.

  • Our travels have also taken us to Waco, TX, Tulsa, OK, and Washington, DC. All unique communities with their own challenges centered around race, poverty, and access to health, education, and financial resources.

What’s striking to me is that despite differences in size, region of the country, and demographics, the challenges in these communities are all very similar. From rural South Carolina, to metro-Charlotte, to the “heart of Texas;” all different communities with familiar challenges.

What’s even more striking is the massive number of helpers we have come into contact with. Without exception, one of the first things I notice when visiting a new community is that the helpers are already in place! So many kind and caring souls giving their all, dedicating financial resources and human capital to the causes that matter.

It was Mr. Rogers who reminded us that “when (you) see scary things… look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”


Having recently celebrated a “day of service” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s fitting to point out how many helpers there are among us. It’s also not lost on me that we are mere hours away from the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. To be sure, with so much uncertainty in front of us, those helpers will be more important than ever. So, my message to you today and in the days ahead is two-fold:

If you need help, whatever that means to you, please don’t be ashamed to reach out. If you are a helper, please don’t be afraid to stand up and make yourself available!