Case Study

Colorado State University
Coaching and Donor Strategy



Published: September 2018


Colorado State University (CSU) is one of the nation’s leading research universities with world-class research in infectious disease, atmospheric science, clean energy technologies, and environmental science. It was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, six years before the Colorado Territory became a state. CSU is the “university of choice” for Colorado residents – 30% of all of Colorado’s science, math, engineering and technology majors pursue degrees at CSU. It offers among the very best professional programs in the United States in veterinary medicine, occupational therapy, journalism, agriculture and construction management.

Kathy Drucquer Duff was hired as a transition advisor for a transition team when Colorado State University was hiring a new Vice President of Advancement. As part of her role, she worked as a coach to provide donor strategy to development executives. One of those individuals was Matt Carlyon, Executive Director of Development for the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

Process of Working with KDD Philanthropy

Matt began working with Kathy one year ago. Every month the two would meet via phone call. They discussed several issues, including donor strategy, and how to effectively lead and manage a team that raises $150 million. She also presented new ideas and techniques to ensure Matt was maximizing his teams’ performance.

Kathy shared articles and anecdotes that related to Matt’s personal goals and challenges, and the two of them would have an open dialogue about the ideas and strategies.

Their coaching sessions also included best practices, especially as it related to staffing his dean. Matt notes that Kathy’s experience in higher education and philanthropy made it easy for him to work with her and achieve success.

“Kathy is very smart and knowledgeable, and has a demonstrated track record of success. She’s approachable, engaging, and very genuine. There was never a question or challenge that I presented to her that she herself had not dealt with in some capacity.”


As a result of working with Kathy, Matt admits to having a renewed sense of self-confidence in his leadership and management abilities. He also credits Kathy’s donor strategy coaching as helping him advance a $10 million solicitation.

Matt recommends Kathy as an extremely effective coach not only for mid-career level major gift fundraisers, but also senior level advancement professionals looking to fine tune their skills.