Leslie came our way by a wonderful 2nd degree of connection… her husband is a Roadrunner, earning a Masters from UTSA in computer science some years ago. She could not have been introduced to us at a more opportune time!
Coming on the heels of our first-ever campaign in our nearly 50-year history as an institution, we “exhausted” all likely donor sources and need to refill our pipeline. As also happens post-campaign, we have gone through some staff transition and reorganization so find ourselves with a new team to engage our relatively shallow donor base. From the very beginning, Leslie was eager to meet us where we were, learn our institution, and offer a tailored program that addressed our specific needs. I was impressed by the customization she delivered and her willingness to be available to us as an ongoing resource.
As we work again to broaden our base of donors, we are launching new discovery officer and regional development programs. With Leslie’s know-how and infectious enthusiasm, our new team is well-positioned to begin their efforts in earnest. Leslie’s facilitated training session created a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among junior officers and seasoned members of the time alike. No team-building retreat has ever yielded such results. I look forward to seeing the results of our collective efforts come together as a direct result of the firm foundation in tactics and proper attitude that Leslie’s training brought.
I knew Leslie when I served as the Senior Director for Regional Advancement at the University of Rochester and became a fan of her process in scheduling discovery visits for my staff. Subsequently I became the Associate Vice President for Major Gifts and the Campaign at Georgia Southern University. In my new role one of my primary responsibilities is the establishment of gift officer performance metrics which includes tracking monthly progress against annual prospect visit goals, solicitations and asks. As I was tracking the monthly visits I identified a member of the team who appeared to have some real issues in securing discovery calls. After speaking with Leslie, we devised a program for her to come to campus to deliver an intensive and supportive multi step coaching process for this staff member. The end result was that this major gift officer went from the lowest number of completed visits over two quarters to second highest in the fiscal year. Leslie's results with this one gift officer were so positive that I brought her back to campus two additional times to work with the entire team and to also provide one on one coaching for those gift officers who desired that level of individual support.
Needless to say I have been very pleased with the results of her programmatic approach to coaching and training gift officers in discovery calling. I will be bringing her back to campus for annual tune-ups with the major gift and leadership annual giving staff.
Leslie Chambers is engaging, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about fundraising and creating a scheduling office. Her years of experience is helpful in getting this new innovative practice up to speed in your office in short order. Leslie is one who truly knows and adores her craft and the enthusiasm she shows while presenting her material or coaching major gift officers on cold calling cannot be outdone. This is a job that most of your staff dread doing and Leslie will show you how to be more successful at it or create an environment that you can rest easy that your gift officers have full travel schedules and their focus is on finding new prospects and closing gifts. I highly recommend Leslie.
-Mary Ann Kiely, Chief Development Officer and VP for Development/Associate Vice President for Development at the University of Florida Health Science Center
Leslie is an outstanding advancement professional. I had the pleasure of working with her, as she led the development of the University of Rochester's first professional scheduling office. These were not simply people who made appointments. They were professionals who employed a variety of skills and techniques to initiate meaningful engagement with our alumni, parents and friends. Her team, through her management and knowledge, connected with thousands of individuals and helped set them on a course for a close relationship with the University.
-Matthew P. Haag, Associate Vice President of Institutional Initiatives at the University of Rochester
Working with Leslie Chambers and Degrees of Connection has been an awe-inspiring experience. Leslie’s passion for “cold calling” and helping Development Officers secure visits is contagious. Her innovative Scheduling Office program has set new heights in our development shop and has reinforced the “good prospecting habits” amongst the development officers. Our number of visits has increased and the development officers feel motivated that they have a program that helps complement their current prospecting efforts. At the end of the day, we know that more calls mean more visits. This leads to more gifts. I highly recommend this program to any development shop that is looking for new ways to increase productivity and re-energize staff.
Thanks Leslie Chambers for bringing this program to the development world!
-Harvey Green, CFRE, Senior Director of Development at Johns Hopkins University (Former Executive Director of Development at the University of Florida Health Science Center)
I worked with Leslie Chambers for a number of years when I was a Regional Director of Advancement at University of Rochester. I worked in a complex region with many other major gift officers and Leslie consistently helped me to identify and schedule meetings with top prospects in the region. Leslie's dedication and professionalism extended to her team as well. She trained them all to be as effective as she was. Now that I am in charge of a smaller advancement shop, I frequently reference tips Leslie provided to me when she and I worked together. Leslie Chambers embodies all that is good about the development trade and can add significant value to any organization with which she is associated.
-Amy Storey, Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs at Keuka College
I have been a major gift officer at the University of Rochester for eight years and have relied on the Scheduling Office, founded and formerly-managed by Leslie, for many of these years. This resource is every gift officer’s and every Advancement Office’s dream! And now that I know what it’s like to have a scheduling office and how beneficial it can be to fundraising success, I cannot imagine it any other way. The schedulers not only boost visit numbers, get you in the door to see high-wealth but hard-to reach prospects, but they also free up your time as a gift officer so that you can focus on cultivating qualified prospects and don’t have to worry about spending a significant amount of time on scheduling discovery appointments. Additionally, I don’t think just anyone can create a successful scheduling office immediately, but Leslie can and will because she has done it before and has learned a great deal along the way. I also want to say that on a personal level, Leslie is a fun, energetic, and very supportive colleague, which is a tremendous asset as well. She is one of those “go-to” people in the office, which makes it no surprise that she left a successful career at an elite private University that is in the middle of a $1.2 billion campaign to start a new venture on her own.
-Felicia Garcia-Hartstein, Executive Director of Presidential Advancement at the University of Rochester
As a result of Leslie’s expert training in the appointment system at the University of Rochester, I had amazing results and was far more effective at booking and scheduling appointments. Leslie is encouraging, easy going and has a very systematic approach to helping her “trainees” learn to be more effective, confident and resourceful on the telephone.
After having worked with her only one day, I went from not being able to schedule any appointments to booking the calendar out months in advance. In addition, she helped me organize the details to scheduling the appointment so that when I was traveling it was easy to move from one appointment to the next and even have back-ups in the event of cancellations. She is patient and enthusiastic and has a way of motivating you to challenge yourself and make the job of scheduling appointments fun.
I would highly recommend working with her and would be glad to talk more in detail about my training with her.
-Linda Howland, Regional Director, Office of Regional Advancement at the University of Rochester