My dream is for every university advancement/development program and every non-profit team to have a Scheduling Office calling program with a staff of highly-trained specialists who can secure visits with prospects that aren’t easy to connect with. This will allow development officers to focus on their portfolios. I want to help development officers secure visits efficiently and in less time, allowing them to focus more on the trip planning and ensure that the goals of the organization are met successfully. I also believe that this program can grow and groom entry level development professionals into confident, secure development officers. After years of calling experience and the confidence that comes with securing visits, entry-level team members are more prepared for an advanced career in development.
My reason for leaving a career at the University I loved so very much was to make a difference in what is often perceived as the big, scary world of calling. I want to share my knowledge, skills and passion with anyone who has to pick up a phone or send an email to alumni, parents, or friends of an organization. It's really not that scary and it can actually be fun and rewarding! Most often, these are the people that the staff has not been able to secure a visit with in the past. In most non-profits, those reaching out to prospects can include development officers, student callers, volunteers, administrative assistants, and development managers. Their responsibility is to secure face-to-face visits with the organization's valued alumni, parents and friends . “Visits, visits, visits” requires skill and a systemized approach. My techniques have been proven to be successful. I produce results by training, coaching, and mentoring staff through what can be an anxiety-producing part of their job~calls that often result in objections or rejection. Very few people are naturally comfortable with these two words and all that comes with that. Improving your skills and tools such as efficient call lists, time management, calling knowledge, practice and maintaining consistent habits is critical. These skills along with a positive attitude and the ability to manage objections and overcome rejection are a key to securing visits and ensuring success for your organizations overall strategic plan and the individual goals set.
Leslie A. Chambers is President and Chief Executive Officer at Degrees of Connection, LLC-a consulting firm that specializes in staff skill development for outreach and engagement of constituents. She creates customized call training and start up visit scheduling offices. She is formerly Director of Alumni & Advancement at the University of Rochester, where she launched and managed a Scheduling Office that secured nearly 7,000 visits. In addition to managing this program, she was a Development Officer in the Greater Rochester region. Leslie coached development officers to assess and improve their ability to secure visits through personalized one-on-one training. Before her employment at the University, Leslie was one of the first female Vice Presidents of a Dollar Rent a Car franchise located in Rochester, New York.
She has presented at the Association of Fundraising Professionals-GV in Rochester, NY (March 2019), CASE DIII Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA (February 2018), 50th annual AHP (Association for Healthcare Philanthropy) International Conference in New Orleans, LA (October 2017), GEAC (Georgia Education Advancement Council) in Savannah, GA (November 2016), AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) National Professional Development Conference for Institutional Advancement in Atlanta, GA (April 2015); CASE DIII District Conference in Orlando, FL (February 2015), CASE DII District Conference in Baltimore, MD (February 2014). Her presentations were centered on best practices to secure face-to-face prospect visits. Leslie was awarded the designation of “Stellar Speaker” at both CASE conference presentations.
She co-authored a featured article in the fall 2015 Healthcare Philanthropy Journal, titled “A fresh way to secure discovery visits: Turn cold calls over to trained professionals to increase development productivity.”
Her clients include the University of Florida Health Office of Development to establish an Outreach Center/Scheduling Office and additionally, trained their development staff on making discovery calls; Children’s National Health System (Washington, DC); Tufts University (Boston, MA); Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, GA); University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, TX); State University College at Brockport Foundation (Brockport, NY); Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation, (San Diego, CA); NorthShore University HealthSystem Foundation (Chicago, IL), Providence Health & Services (Greater Los Angeles, area), Roberts Wesleyan College (Rochester, New York ), University of Memphis Foundation (Memphis, TN) and Rutgers University Foundation (New Brunswick, NJ).
Leslie is excited to share tools and skills that will help you secure more face-to-face visits and feel more comfortable when picking up the phone to successfully engage your constituents!