All posts by Eric Howell

The Coming of Age of Collaborative Fundraising

I recently gave a presentation on The Coming of Age of Collaborative Fundraising at the AFP Central Carolina chapter in Columbia, SC which got a great response.  In this competitive era of fundraising, with more non-profits angling for available charitable dollars from individuals, businesses and foundations, it is critical to stand out among the crowd.

Collaborative fundraising allows groups, especially smaller groups and organizations, to join together with the desired outcome of raising more than they could alone.  By joining together, these groups can target a bolder vision and more significant fundraising projects, attract major donors, and through their lead and challenge gifts leverage a much wider giving constituency.

Collaborative fundraising can be effective at other junctures throughout the campaign- always with the understood consent and trust of the aligning groups, making the net gain greater than the individual groups could achieve alone. It’s not for every organization, but in the right situations it is powerful, creative and allows for successful capital fundraising.

The presentation addresses strategy and tactics, and specifically:

  • Collaborative fundraising success and where success is not achieved
  • Perspective of major donors
  • Perspective of collaborative organizations
  • 21 Steps for Seamless Collaborative Fundraising

If you are planning a meeting or conference of non-profit leaders or funders who are thinking about big visions and how to fund them, you can contact us at or828-254-9004.



Wilson Sims, Jr.  MBA,  Sims & Steele Consulting   

Wilson serves as convener for the French Broad River Greenway, enjoys a six year match through Big Brother Big Sister, and is president of The Webb School Alumni Board, Bell Buckle Tennessee.


“Under Developed: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising”

From the introduction:

For years now, there has been widespread concern in the nonprofit sector about premature turnover of development directors, lengthy vacancies in the role, and the seemingly thin pool of qualified candidates from which organizations can choose. The development director is commonly labeled a “revolving door” position, and “the hardest to fill and retain” by executives, board members, funders, and capacity builders alike. Moreover, the challenge of assessing development director performance when so many factors influence an organization’s fundraising success can leave executives and board members suspecting—but uncertain—that they could raise more money with someone else in the role. At the same time, development directors frequently lament the lack of consistent attention to fund development from executives, staff, and board members, rendering their job a frustrating set-up.

To better understand these dynamics and to uncover potential solutions to the fundraising challenges nonprofits face, CompassPoint surveyed more than 2,700 executive directors and development directors across the country. Our sample includes a great diversity of organizations—a wide range of budget and staff sizes, a multitude of mission types, and diverse geographic representation—but the organizations have a critical commonality: a senior-level development staff person on their organizational chart, whether in place or currently vacant. We included both development directors and executive directors in this research because of their potentially distinct perceptions of the “revolving door” and its causes.

Our bottom-line finding: Yes, there are considerable problems in the development director role across the sector, but there are also deeper challenges that undermine the ability of nonprofits to raise the money they need to succeed.