Higher Education

Recruitment Case Study

Recognizing Talent Acquisition Initiatives is the First Step

Colorado State University’s fundraising efforts were a big priority, but high turnover in a vital position left its Department of Development lagging others in the university. While CSU was on the hunt to find an Executive Director of Development, they acknowledged that attracting the best talent in a competitive environment was becoming more and more difficult. The university had not placed a high priority on developing a talent acquisition strategy. Attracting people outside of Colorado to positions in Fort Collins had been a tall hurdle. To address high turnover in the position, improving the culture became increasingly more important. Access to “passive” candidates did not exist in previous searches. An inability to advertise beyond traditional means was impossible without using a third-party executive recruiting agency.

What CSU had been doing to recruit previously

Traditionally, CSU used job postings to attract talent for a role at this level. Typically, candidate pools were small. But, the university was leery using traditional higher education recruiting agencies without accountability and expected results given tight timelines.

Transition to Duffy

Fortunately, the university was referred to Duffy Group. This partnership was successful given Duffy’s non-traditional, transparent, and unique business model; one that seeks qualified candidates using multiple recruiting techniques, providing detailed recruiting reports and proven results.

Duffy’s Strategy

Duffy Group strategy was to quickly implement an innovative multi-faceted approach leveraging several recruiting tools, industry networks, research of regional targets and targeted sourcing techniques. By developing integrated solutions to serve CSU’s needs, Duffy successfully identified qualified fundraising professionals who displayed the experience and cultural fit for the challenged environment.


Just two weeks into the search, Duffy identified 166 higher education fundraising professionals. Duffy personalized the message to each contact by promoting the inherent value of the opportunity. Subsequently, Duffy successfully encouraged “passive candidates” to consider the opportunity increasing the competitive nature within the pool. Best of all, the research conducted during the process provided a ready pipeline of future candidates, compensation figures and market data all previously unavailable to CSU.

It was a whole new ballgame in fundraising at CSU. All this, without paying high fees for recruiting services that often do not bare fruit. The ROI proved to be both quantifiable and qualitatively successful – improving the organization’s bottom line.

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