Becoming a fundraiser was inevitable for Eddie, having grown up learning from the greatest, his dad, Robert “Bob” Thompson. Experiencing hardships from an early age, Bob’s dream of going to college and becoming a dentist quickly faded away with the responsibility of having to raise his younger siblings. These circumstances that limited Bob’s opportunities ignited a fiery determination in him to not allow that same thing to happen to any high school graduate he knew, as long as he had the ability to do anything about. There began Bob’s mission to raise money for local individuals to attend college. All throughout Eddie’s childhood, his father would often bring him along on these fundraising crusades, allowing Eddie to learn, firsthand, many meaningful lessons about giving. That’s how, as a young boy, Eddie learned what it meant to be a fundraiser, in the true sense.
Fast forward to graduate school at Vanderbilt University, where as a young student at Vanderbilt University, Eddie served as a graduate assistant. Vanderbilt was hosting a meeting of University Presidents to discuss funding issues. At the time, during the late 70s and early 80s, the country was experiencing hyper-inflation. Inflation was rising faster than universities could raise tuition. The meeting was focused on cutting expenses, resulting in an atmosphere of gloom and doom amongst the meeting participants. One speaker stood up and voiced a different approach that was working well for his university – fundraising. Eddie leaned over to his major professor and asked if he could write his dissertation on fundraising. After a long discussion about the value of research on fundraising in higher education, the committee granted Eddie permission to do his dissertation on this very topic. The resulting dissertation was an analysis of thirteen very successful universities compared to thirteen average universities. The differences Eddie discovered between the techniques of average and successful universities are what founded his lifelong passion for equipping and empowering nonprofit organizations to foster meaningful relationships with their champion supporters.
Eddie founded Thompson & Associates in 1996 to pioneer his donor-focused approach to nonprofit organizations. By partnering with nonprofits as an outside, confidential charitable estate planning consultant to the organization’s donors, Thompson & Associates is able to help donors achieve their planning objectives while creating phenomenal results for nonprofit organizations.
A native of Florida, Eddie and his wife, Sheryl, have made Nashville their home. Eddie and his family are involved in many community organizations, as well as their church. He is a very active pilot with both Land and Seaplane ratings.