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March 23, 2011
by Joe Brown

The Cal Alumni Association’s fundraising team tried just about every technique this past year—Facebook, telemarketing, email, direct mail….

At the same time, the reorganized and reinvigorated development staff took the novel approach of returning to the earliest method: going out and talking with people.

The combination saw strong results, even in financially troubled times. The totals are just now being tallied and early reports indicate success.

“We had an ambitious goal for The CAA Fund in 2010. We wanted to double the amount we raised in 2009,” says Donna Duhe, Chief Development Officer for CAA. “That’s been our focus, and we are on track for hitting it.”

Duhe came to CAA last February from United Way of the Bay Area, where she was vice president for five years. Her to-do list for the year included raising corporate and foundation dollars, strengthening direct marketing efforts, focusing on online marketing, and creating more “cultivation opportunities.”

In her first five months, she met more than 100 donors. Along with asking for financial support, Duhe and her team wanted to communicate what CAA was achieving, including The CAA Fund and The Equity Scholarship—a relatively new program providing financial aid to underrepresented minority students.

But Duhe and her team members, who include Project Manager Jennifer Hernandez, Director of Annual Giving Marlene Penny, and Director of Stewardship Joani Carpenter, found themselves “mostly listening,” she says.

“For me, the best part of the job is meeting with the donors, thanking them, and sharing stories. We want to hear about their experiences at Cal and find out how CAA can help them stay connected. And we’re hearing that they like the communication,” she says with a smile. “They’re thanking us for thanking them!”

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