Shawn Saunders, CFRE, MA, MA
Partner | Group Vice President
Shawn has more than 15 years experience in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership. In 2008, he transitioned from a sales career to the non-profit sector to serve as Director of Development at a local Rescue Mission where he had been volunteering and that actually helped one of his family members. From the outset of his transition, God gave him favor with major donors and he was able to close numerous six figure gifts within his first two years in development.
While working at the Rescue Mission, Shawn also founded a Christ-centered, recovery counseling network. In 2010 he merged with a rural halfway house ministry. As a result of this merger, Shawn left his position at the Mission to serve as CEO of this fledgling ministry, which in four short years he grew into a comprehensive, Christ-centered, innovative recovery organization serving hundreds of families from NC and the East Coast. Starting as a ground-level start-up, and hallmarked by founding a sustainable recovery farm, Shawn generated close to $2 million in under four years. Through building a strong annual fund and major gifts program, collaborating with other nonprofits, and by incorporating a robust educational program that partnered with several universities, seminaries and local churches, the organization established a distinctive brand and a sustainable footprint. The organization continues to minister to families and local churches primarily in Raleigh-Durham through its 12-bed recovery farm located in Wake Forest, NC.
Shawn is a strategic thinker and communicator gifted in building and overseeing development and fundraising campaigns for faith-based organizations. Shawn’s former partners describe him as “…a creative thinker, someone who thinks outside the box. Shawn has the ability to carry out the current mission and look ahead and plan for the future… He sees relationships on a molecular level and is able to connect people’s interests to meaningful opportunities that advance the mission and vision of the organization.”
After earning his Bachelor’s degree in 2004, Shawn went on to earn two Master of Arts degrees from Shepherds Theological Seminary in Cary, NC. He has been a certified biblical counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors since 2008, a certified fundraising executive through CFRE international since 2015, and earned Duke University’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management in 2019
In 2010, he helped to successfully launch a Christ-centered, residential recovery organization– hallmarked by a sustainable farm—by generating close to $2 million in total revenue over four years. He is now serving in his 5th year of professional consulting at DickersonBakker and has co-labored with clients to raise millions of dollars for their capital campaigns and major gift’s programs. Shawn’s former partners describe him as “…a creative thinker, someone who thinks outside the box. Shawn has the ability to carry out the current mission and look ahead and plan for the future… He sees relationships on a molecular level and is able to connect people’s interests to meaningful opportunities that advance the mission and vision of the organization.”
Read more about Shawn in Meet Our Team Monday.