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Success Story

Gonzaga University

Catholic university with a 134-year track record of educational and fundraising success seeks counsel for an unprecedented nine-figure campaign.

The Situation

Founded in 1887, Spokane-based Gonzaga University has maintained a tradition of excellence in educating the whole student, integrating science and art, faith and reason, action and contemplation. Through exemplary development efforts, they recently completed a successful campaign. Ever forward-looking, they set an ambitious and unprecedented nine-figure fundraising goal and called on Graham-Pelton to ensure they had the necessary staffing, structures, and strategy to reach this unprecedented goal.


The Solution

Building on established metrics, a recently concluded Advancement strategic plan, and Gonzaga’s culture and history of success, we turned our focus toward helping the university reach the next level. We identified several paths forward, including engaging a new cohort of academic deans and an untapped alumni base, and helping an already strong brand achieve its fullest potential.

Because Gonzaga was in the midst of a staffing transition, including several leadership positions, we advised and created documented department strategies, plus the structures and teams that could thrive without reliance on a single individual. Gonzaga also tapped Graham-Pelton for benchmarking, to compare development outcomes, staffing, productivity, and resourcing with peer and aspirant organization. And we provided guidance on shifting to an academic unit fundraising model.

Graham-Pelton’s expertise in benchmarking and analysis allowed us to discover that Gonzaga’s total University Advancement staff size was much smaller than similar universities. As a result, we helped them make the case that greater resources and growth would mean tangible positive outcomes among major gifts, alumni relations, and annual giving. We recommended those positions to create and fill, including optimized timing and priority, departmental mapping and structures, and accompanying formal strategy, goals, and objectives documentation.


The Success

Graham-Pelton’s analysis of historical giving, current activity, and departmental operations, including discussions with leadership and staff, resulted in staffing recommendations around raising expectations for a culture of major gifts. Gonzaga raised their sights on stretch giving, enhancing focus on major gift prospect pipeline management, while creating departmental strategies that are synchronized and aligned with one another


You can raise more money. We can show you how.