Daly, an orphan, is a graduate of California State University, San Bernardino, earning a B.S. in Business Administration in 1984. During his senior year of study, he attended Waseda University in Tokyo. He worked in business and in 1997, completed his MBA in International Business at Regis University in Denver. In 2009, he received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Colorado Christian University, in Denver.
He started his work at Focus on the Family in 1989 as an assistant to president James Dobson. When the International Department was created in 1992, Daly was appointed field director for Asia, Africa and Australia. In 1997, he was promoted to vice president of the International Division. In 2003 he became group vice president, charged with directing the strategic path of the organization. In 2004, he was appointed chief operating officer, the role he held until he was hand-picked by Focus on the Family founder Dr. Dobson to be the ministry's president in 2005.
Focus on the Family, like most nonprofit groups, has been hit by the Recession of 2008. In 2008 it had to eliminate 200 positions, leaving 700 employed, and cut its budget from $154 million to $138 million.