Case Study

University of Nevada, Reno
Fundraising Essentials Bootcamp


Published: November 2017


The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) is a high-impact research university focused on learning, discovery, and engagement that improves communities and business throughout the Silver State and the world. UNR is ranked in the top tier by both U.S. News & World Report and the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and is home to nearly 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students in fall 2017.

Lynda Buhlig, Associate Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations, was looking for a way to provide professional development opportunities to the UNR fundraising staff. The challenge she faced was how to train a large team of development officers, all with varying years of experience and skill level. To solve this problem, she hired KDD Philanthropy to provide a customized, on-site Fundraising Essentials Bootcamp training.

Process of Working with KDD Philanthropy

Lynda began working with Kathy Drucquer Duff in the spring of 2017 to plan the Bootcamp that took place in September. They worked together to create a training plan that focused on the areas in which UNR staff faced challenges: cold calling, pipeline creation, probing questions, and solicitation and “making the ask” in an initial donor meeting.

Kathy presented the Bootcamp for approximately 20 development staff, all of whom participated in table exercises and role play activities that helped the officers understand how to put what they were learning into practice.

Lynda had this to say about working with Kathy:

She was so easy to work with, and she has so many tools that were customized exactly to what we needed. She was exceptional!


Lynda said the employee feedback from the Bootcamp was phenomenal. Every attendee picked three areas of practice they committed to focusing on once Bootcamp ended. The individuals are reporting their progress back to the team during monthly meetings, and she is planning to weave those three goals into employee evaluations.

Lynda also plans to hire Kathy to present a new Bootcamp in 2018. She said:

People still send me emails about the Bootcamp and continue to share praise. That, coupled with the fact that I want to bring Kathy back next year, speaks to how beneficial this experience was for our development officers.