Duke University

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duke-campusEngagement Highlights

  • A $5+ million fundraising return on the initial investment by end of the 10-month engagement realized through collaboration with Plus Delta
  • More detailed prospect strategy development based on a common methodology and language
  • Better integration, camaraderie, and collaboration among fundraisers across schools and units


Duke University engaged Plus Delta six months prior to the public launch of its $3.25 billion campaign. Following the launch were a series of regional launches in 18 cities over a 12-18 month period of time. Duke’s fundraising leadership was looking for a professional development program that could help their team to be running at full speed by the time of the public launch and as they moved into the regionalphase of the campaign.

The partnership with Plus Delta created a way to bring new gift officers up-to-speed faster. It also helped front-line fundraisers stay focused on the blocking and tackling of fundraising during a time of significant organizational change, created a way to build and reinforce targeted interdisciplinary campaign content and offered a skill revitalizer for very experienced and successful fundraisers.


Duke engaged Plus Delta to work with an initial cohort of 15 front line fundraisers from June 2012 through April 2013. This group of fundraisers represented a wide spectrum of skills and experience, ranging from rising stars to development professionals with 20+ years of experience. The group also represented both regional and unit-based fundraisers across the University.

Participants reported using Plus Delta tools and coaching in closing $5+ million in gifts during the calendar year, generating an impressive return on investment in just 10 months from the start of the program. The program’s support for a common methodology, language, and behaviors among the participants resulted in more detailed prospect strategy development. Participants reported that the program helped them become more thoughtful about the fundraising process and many used the tools and methods in the training to accelerate donor conversations. It also fostered camaraderie, collaboration and communication among the participants, encouraging a more integrated approach across regional, school and unit fundraising at Duke.

“An initial skeptic, I have become an enthusiastic participant in Plus Delta. The model of monthly group and monthly individual work – spread over 10 months – has been effective in learning, then implementing, our new set of organizational and fundraising tools. I have used my time with [Plus Delta consultant] to apply [Plus Delta] scenarios to my portfolio and work through individual cases. I perceive Plus Delta to have been of terrific value to my development colleagues, and I can attest to the professional improvements I have mastered as a result of this training.”

Senior Major Gifts Director