Helmer, Matthew_2019.jpg

​Assistant Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for University Advancement

Colorado State University


  • Event Strategy, Production, & Assessment

  • Event Metrics - Design & Evaluation

  • Campaign Events Strategy & Production

  • Events Protocol & Etiquette

  • Consolidated Event Management, Staffing, & Training (for large organizations)

  • Experience Design

  • Donor Communications

  • Donor Recognition

  • Marketing/Communications Strategy

  • Program Ideation & Innovation

  • Student Philanthropy Programming

Matthew became a founding member of the Donor Relations Guru Group in 2015. With an extensive background in event production, fundraising, constituent engagement, and team development, Matthew S. Helmer is committed to elevating the way people experience organizations. Currently, Matthew serves as Assistant Vice President of University Advancement at Colorado State University, where he provides creative and strategic leadership for a talented team of event, communications, and donor engagement professionals.


Matthew’s philosophy is that every experience should be designed from a meaningful, well-articulated purpose – without it, the moment becomes just something that happens. Known for a love of novel ideas, Matthew led an innovative reorganization at Colorado State in 2010, consolidating responsibility for donor, alumni, and university events under the CSU Events umbrella. This organizational shift opened the door for a candid conversation about the power of purposeful events, resulting in a more strategic approach to engagement and significantly contributing to more than seven consecutive years of record-breaking fundraising results. 


Matthew’s experience includes a wide range of collaborative productions, from managing campus visits for U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, to spearheading the launch of multiple comprehensive campaigns and the development of academic ceremonies including convocation and presidential investitures. Matthew’s background also includes the development of engagement, cultivation, and stewardship strategy for major donors, and he regularly masterminds bespoke experiences for intimate audiences. 


As a trainer, consultant and frequent speaker for Academic Impressions, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Matthew utilizes an artful blend of humor and authentic joy for the profession in his work with others. His writing has been featured in CASE Currents magazine and other national and regional publications.


A Louisiana native, Matthew is a proud alumnus of the University of Arkansas and remains an avid Razorbacks fan. He currently lives in Colorado with his partner, their son, and two fur babies.


Strengthsfinder Top 5: Input • Significance • Strategic • Communication • Ideation