The University of San Diego first engaged CCS Fundraising to run a feasibility study to test capacity for a new campaign. Then, our data analytics solutions uncovered $44M in untapped prospect potential. With our help, USD embarked on the campaign, now in its quiet phase.

Aerial view of the University of San Diego.

Based in: San Diego, CA, Western US, United States

Sector: Higher Education

Reach: Local

Key Elements

  • USD initially engaged CCS Fundraising for a feasibility study that became multiple partnerships over two years.
  • CCS helped USD determine its campaign readiness, including infrastructure support and increased capacity through the hiring of 14 new employees.
  • CCS’s Data Analytics team uncovered $44M in untapped prospect potential for USD’s new campaign.

CCS’s Data Analytics team identified untapped philanthropic potential that made our ambitious campaign goal possible and provided the necessary insights to help us deploy campaign budget resources for maximum impact. This enabled a data driven decision-making process resulting in an actionable roadmap to campaign success and inspiring confidence and consensus among our staff, leadership, and board of trustees.

richard p. virgin, ph.d., vice president for university advancement, university of san diego


The University of San Diego (USD) sought to embark on a new comprehensive campaign but first needed to ensure its infrastructure could support one. In a previous campaign, USD was challenged by long hours, stress, and organizational challenges. USD enlisted CCS Fundraising to assess the capacity and feasibility of running another campaign.


CCS began with a feasibility study with full predictive modeling and opportunity analysis engagement, also employing a Monte Carlo simulation to help establish an attainable campaign goal and an electronic survey to solicit feedback from a larger group of alumni and friends.

CCS’s data analytics work output allowed USD to optimize major gift portfolios and build a pipeline of new potential major gift prospects. The opportunity analysis work identified $44 million in untapped opportunities in both the assigned portfolio and from unassigned prospects with high affinity and capacity. Overall, CCS uncovered 601 new major gift prospects and 269 new legacy gift prospects.

Due to USD’s large and complex advancement operation, CCS also recommended hiring 14 new advancement professionals to take advantage of the new emerging major gift prospects we identified. In addition to new frontline fundraisers, support staff was added to perform the research and prospect management work required to move prospects through the pipeline efficiently.

USD has an established legacy giving department, but CCS’s insights added new prospects to its gift planning portfolios, after which we worked with the legacy giving team to research the new prospects and helped create strategies for soliciting blended campaign gifts. 


With CCS’s help, USD confirmed it had the infrastructure support necessary to embark on a new campaign. In addition to updating portfolios, CCS implemented a new moves management system, helped draft job descriptions, and partnered in hiring. The university is now more effective in stewardship, with a more consistent approach to donor gift acknowledgments, a team dedicated to principal gift cultivation strategy, and a bolstered writing department that can prepare custom pieces for campaign solicitations.

CCS has transitioned into campaign management as USD’s campaign enters its quiet phase and is planning more feasibility studies for the university. Meanwhile, we are helping activate volunteer leadership as they pursue their goal of raising funds for the USD faculty endowment, capital enhancements, student centers and programs, and scholarships.

Featured Team Member

University of San Diego is a premier organization with a robust and growing advancement department. It has been a priviledge to come alongside its operation to help continue its growth trajectory and unlock new levels of excellence and impact on the journey to campaign success.

Andrew Alesso, senior director, CCS Fundraising
A profile picture of Andrew Alesso.

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