Corrections or additions?
These articles by Michele Alperin and Carole Price were prepared
for the January 24,
2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Non-Profits: Making the `Big Ask’
People feel that the worst part of starting or running
a nonprofit is asking for money," says Anne Seltzer, director
of development at the Peddie School. But without significant donors,
the existence of a nonprofit with even the most impeccable mission
will always be in peril. Based on her own experience, Seltzer offers
a straightforward process that she hopes will demystify the process
of cultivating donors for nonprofit organizations.
Seltzer speaks at Community Works’ Workshops for Volunteer Development
at the Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School on Thursday,
1, 5 to 9:15 p.m. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Princeton, the $25
cost includes a box supper and two workshops. DeForest B.
Soaries Jr., New Jersey secretary of state, is the keynote speaker.
Linda Meisel, executive director of Jewish Family Services,
will teach "Non-Profit Dynamics: Building the Team," and Karen
Woodbridge of Princeton University will moderate a press panel
on publicity. Dana George of ETTC will talk about using the
Internet as a tool. Marge Smith, who chairs this event, will
do a workshop on leadership for volunteers and staff, and Marty
Johnson, executive director of Isles, will discuss
Networking and Collaboration," with particular interest on trust
issues and turf issues. Claire Schiff-Kohn, Princeton’s new
superintendent of schools, will cover "Strategic Planning."
Other workshops will be on the basics of volunteering, making grant
requests, conflict resolution, and finance and budgeting.
An organization must build a strong constituency, using focus groups
and public talks, before it can start to fundraise. Focus groups can
provide a sense of how the organization is perceived, what may keep
people from supporting it, and what "hooks" can help get
involved. Public talks might focus on what the organization does to
fulfill a particular need, who it is serving, and how the listeners
Another necessary early step is to develop a board. Seltzer suggests,
"Start with people who have an interest in your mission and
what you’re doing." The board can be fine-tuned later, by either
broadening or narrowing its scope.
Later on, fundraising events-galas, tennis and golf outings, auctions
— become important in developing a base of potential donors. The
amount of money these events raise is not of primary importance.
it is how these events connect people to the organization and create
a sense of community. "For the amount of time and effort it takes
for the development office to run the event," says Seltzer,
could have cultivated one large donor. But," she continues,
those people get involved!"
Cultivating donors is not a one-time event, but a process that
over many years. In 1993 Walter Annenberg contributed $100 million
to the Peddie School, the largest donation ever given to a secondary
school. But he had given his first gift in 1927, when he graduated
from the school. "We’ve always had a special relationship with
the Ambassador," says Seltzer. The lesson of the gift, she
is that it was the result of "successful stewarding over many
years." When reaching out to an organization’s base of support,
she continues, "You must reach out often — imaginatively and
authentically. Make sure you think with some imagination about how
to get people involved."
Once the organization has a constituency of people who identify with
it and support its mission, the process of converting a supporter
into a donor is fairly straightforward:
about the organization, and invite the person to an event, such as
a performance or a discussion. By laying the groundwork, the request
for money "is not out of left field," explains Seltzer.
background work has gotten the person to the point where you can ask
for a gift."
warns Seltzer. Be clear that the appointment is for a meeting to talk
about the organization’s mission and the potential donor’s support
for it. "You don’t want people to feel you are coming under false
pretenses, and then ask for money," says Seltzer.
only to the person who has already been active in the organization,
remember that a donation comes out of family assets. If both spouses
are not present, one might say, "my husband [or, my wife] makes
all of the financial decisions."
the meeting at the office or wherever is most comfortable and
for the potential donor. Be aware that a restaurant can present
or uncomfortable situations. For example, what happens if the money
request is rejected even before the meal has been served? Or, if the
request is to be left until coffee, the whole meal may be spent
for the shoe to drop."
to have two people go to a meeting for a gift," suggests Seltzer.
Two people can more easily gauge donor reaction and pick up on things.
In a big organization, the duo might include someone from the
office as well as the CEO, President, or head of the organization.
who will say, ‘Would you consider a gift of X?’ so that you are not
falling all over yourself," Seltzer warns. Spend no more than
10 minutes welcoming and getting to know the people. Then discuss
the organization’s needs and why the gift being requested is so
Finally, pop the question. "If you’re looking for a specific
suggests Seltzer, "say, `would you consider a gift of X?’ If
not sure about the person’s finances or interest, you can bring a
sheet with several levels of gifts and ask, `Where would you see
on this sheet?’ or `Which seems most appealing?’"
at this point to jump in and back track before giving the person a
chance to respond. But don’t do it! Be quiet and wait a minute.
donor probably have questions. Talk about them. Specify how quickly
the money is needed and whether cash or stocks is preferable.
the person, repeat exactly what they’ve said so there is no
advises Seltzer. If the person requests time to think, maintain
by stating when and where you will get back to the person. Do not
say, "Please call when you have made a decision." Thank the
person again, and write a thank-you note immediately after the
director. Her undergraduate degree from the College of Wooster in
Ohio in 1964 was in Latin and Greek Classics, as was her master’s.
She taught classics at Northwestern University, but when she moved
to Princeton, she needed a job and took "a one year position"
teaching English at The Peddie School. As things turned out, one year
stretched into many, and she served as head of Peddie’s English
for 10 years. At that time the Head of School, a good friend of hers,
died, and she became Acting Head of School. In this role, Seltzer
did fundraising, and, she says, "it became second nature to think
about what the school needed and who could help us to fill the
After taking a year off from Peddie to work as Adult Program Director
at the Princeton YWCA, she returned to Peddie as director of
in 1993 — at about the time of the large Annenberg gift. During
her tenure, Peddie’s endowment has increased from $16 to $212 million.
Seltzer enjoys the process of bringing people together with a worthy
cause. "By and large, people like to help people," muses
"If you’ve created a strong need for the organization, you are
allowing the person to make a wonderful gift. It is a chance to enrich
their lives. If you have done your job, you’re not asking people who
don’t want to support and help you; you’re just making that
— Michele Alperin
Senior citizens have attracted recent publicity for
crossing the border by bus to Canada for prescription medicine
produced here, but available in Canada at a lower cost. Randall
Sunberg, of Morgan Lewis & Bockius at the Carnegie Center, will
discuss the complex interplay of factors affecting pharmaceutical
pricing in the United States in a talk for Equity Research Group’s
Private Healthcare Company Conference on Thursday, January 25, at
the Nassau Club.
An alumnus of Yale (Class of 1977) and New York University Law School,
Sunberg was a partner at Shook Hardy & Bacon before joining Morgan
Lewis & Bockius last year. "Upcoming Regulatory Issues Likely
to Affect Life Science Companies," is the title of his workshop.
"Financing Outlook for Private and Public Biotechnology
by Samuel D. Isaly of OrbiMed Advisors will be the keynote topic
at this conference for venture capitalists and accredited investors.
Other presenters are Steven M. Cohen of Morgan Lewis & Bockius
and Thomas Nagle of Valuation Counselors. Conference admission:
$150. Reservations are required; call 609-737-0267. Equity Research
Group (www.equityresearchgroup.com) raises money for early stage
companies and does convertible preferred equity placements dealing
with the institutional market or accredited qualified investors.
Though senior citizens are now legal purveyors of drugs across
that may change. An enormous amount of pharmaceutical legislation
and litigation is still undecided. Re-importation is just one of the
issues waiting for President George W. Bush, Congress, and the
state legislatures. Also watching closely: drug purchasing officials
in managed care facilities. Government entities like the Veterans
Administration and private anti-trust litigants are also concerned
with drug pricing.
"A lot of groups not likely to give up are focusing on the
New Jersey has cases pending before the Department of Justice where
soon there will be settlements regarding health care fraud and
says Sunberg. "The decisions will affect pricing, promotion and
reimbursement. What if citizens can get drugs from other countries
which are the same product that we have here?" He cites these
that would affect the ability of the generics to get their competing
products on the market. Companies with lawsuits pending in this area
against the Department of Health are Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, Glaxo-Smith
Kline, and Wyeth Ayerst. They seek to differentiate the generics from
their own products from the standpoint that they may not be exactly
alike (the official term is "sameness") and that there may
not be the same quality control in the generic version. They claim
that the methodology and formulation for producing these drugs are
protected by patents even when the active ingredient is no longer
protected by patenting and is available in the public domain.
that there may be differences in how the branded product and the
work in the body due to patented methods of production. They may also
be absorbed differently in the body. There may be differences in
— one product may need to be taken just once a day because of
patented breakdown and adsorbability, and the other may need to be
taken several times a day.
now have to demonstrate sameness to the Food and Drug Administration,
and the pharmaceuticals are challenging it to try to get them to
bioequivalence. This is of major concern to companies doing R&D,
drug production and outsourcing, and those who provide clinical trial
work and manufacturing.
"This political atmosphere and environment affects biotech
that are essentially innovators working on research projects affected
by these legislative, regulatory and pricing environments," says
Sunberg. "This is what makes Big Pharm say yes or no to them."
in science are heralded and accuracy and precision lauded, but
and pricing also affect production. "Some products may come out
more easily than others — where generics can’t duplicate them
or where pricing regulation is easier. All kinds of issues play a
big role in this political soup."
particular interest here and there — lobbyists, special interest
groups like the cancer movement,or an aging population who may be
interested in drugs for osteoporosis and this is added to the mix,
too," says Sunberg. In the meantime, let’s hope your granny
get arrested in Morocco because someone misread her prescription!
— Carole Price
A two-day land use planning seminar, "Preserving
This Place Called Home," is set for Monday and Tuesday, January
29 and 30 at Princeton University, Robertson Hall. The Stony
Watershed Association has planned this seminar for town officials,
planners, and citizen groups. For information, call 609-818-9211.
More than 30 nationally and regionally recognized experts address
topics that include sound planning, zoning measures, and ordinances
to plan future landscapes, preserve open space and natural resources,
revitalize cities, and fight sprawl. Materials are available at
The Capitol Steps, the troupe of Congressional staffers
turned comedians, will entertain at the New Jersey Chamber of
annual Congressional dinner on Thursday, February 1, at 6 p.m. at
the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in the District of Columbia. It is
part of the annual walk to Washington, so-named because the Amtrak
train to D.C. — which leaves Newark at 11:27 a.m. and stops at
New Brunswick and Trenton — is so packed with networkers that
travelers literally "walk," shaking hands and handing out
business cards, most of the way.
For those who prefer a less rambunctious ride, the chamber is running
a second train, called the "Chamberliner." Reservations may
still be available for the trip; those who are not members pay $575
for the train, reception, and dinner. Go to www.njchamber.com or call
About 1,900 people are expected to travel those chartered trains that
day, and the return trip leaves Union Station late the following
Call 202-328-2900 for hotel reservations with the Omni Shoreham as
a second possibility (202-234-0700).
The new edition of the New Jersey Legislative District
Data Book is available on disk for $50, in hard copy for $45, or
for $85. It has the most recent election returns for state and federal
races, tables of regional school district data, state totals in
demographic categories, and equalized property tax rates. New
construction, net school budget per pupil, retail sales per capita
in 1997, and a new measure of per capital income — all are
in these statistics.
The data can also be obtained on two different disks, organized by
district, that can be sorted by municipality or county. One disk has
the demographic and election information, and the other has contacts
and addresses. With two disks and one book, the package is $125. Call
Joan Buck 732-932-3640, extension 628.
Architects, accountants, financial analysts, investors,
asset managers, bank officers, and developers — those who must
deal with real estate problems in their daily work — Monmouth
University has a program for you. The university, based in West Long
Branch, offers a five-course Real Estate Certificate program using
the case study method to stress practical applications.
Three courses in the program start in February. "Regulation and
the Real Estate Development Process" begins Monday, February 5,
at 6 p.m., and it will be held in West Long Branch. The instructors
are John Giunco, of the law firm of Giordano Halleran & Ciesla,
and Peter S. Reinhart of K. Hovnanian Enterprises. Students
will examine the phases of a real estate project, step by step, from
concept to sale or lease-up.
Also offered in West Long Branch on Monday, February 5, is "Real
Estate Appraisal, Valuation, and Income Analysis, taught by Donald
M. Moliver, who also directs the institute. He will present
analysis, appraisal problems and solutions, and valuation of
properties. He will also give an in-depth review of capitalization
methods and mortgage equity concepts.
At Two Tower Center in East Brunswick, William T. Kitley, vice
president of GMAC Commercial Mortgage, will teach "Real Estate
Finance, Investment, and Taxation." Using actual deals, he will
analyze finance issues from both the developers’ and lenders’
The course starts Tuesday, February 6, at 6 p.m. Also at Two Tower
Center, Steven J. Brodman of Scarinci & Hollenbeck will teach
real estate law starting Thursday, February 8.
Qualified applicants will have a minimum of three years of experience
in a real estate-related activity, have the support of their current
employer, and be approved by Moliver. To apply, send a non-refundable
fee of $35. Each course costs $725 including course materials and
refreshments. To be taught in the fall is "Lease Negotiations
and Analysis." Call 732-571-3660.
Cutting costs is a short term route to success, says
Alok Mittra, CEO of a new management consulting and training
firm. The way to grow your business is to develop your customers and
market, market, market.
Last fall Mittra left a corporate job to start a management consulting
and training firm, Asna Worldwide Group LLC, based at Box 358,
Junction 08550. He offers training sessions to show business owners
and corporate managers ways to grow sales faster than their
The next one-day workshops are Wednesday, February 28, March 7, and
March 14, from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Cost: $295. Call 609-897-9227
A graduate of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan (Class of
1979), he has an MBA in marketing and international business from
Central Michigan. His 21-year corporate career has included stints
at General Motors, Searle Pharmaceuticals, Unisys, and Bristol-Myers
Squibb. His workshop includes eight steps to increase and exceed sales
or budget revenue, innovative techniques to win customers, and ways
to develop loyalty programs for keeping customers.
The son of an electrical engineer, Mittra says he has always been
interested in how to motivate people to buy. "I entered the sales
field to understand how people behave; I really wanted to have the
first hand experience." His "first first-hand experience"
as a boy was with a newspaper route. "I did extremely well; I
developed a vacant territory and convinced people to get the
I was marketing. I showed them the value they would derive from buying
the newspaper I was selling and the information they would get."
His customers switched from a regional newspaper and even from the
statewide Detroit Free Press to get the local newspaper, the Rochester
Developing customer loyalty is much more cost-effective than staging
expensive promotions, he maintains. "It is five times more costly
to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one," he says.
"The costs of attracting a new customer easily exceed the gross
margin of the initial order, which means that the company is typically
out of pocket at the time of the first purchase."
"The reason I started this company," he says, "is that
a lot of businesses, even though they have been running for many
have been unable to grow their business. I wanted to show the owners
and corporate executives how to look at a business, what steps you
have to go through to grow a business. Often, they focus on finances.
But if you don’t sell the products effectively and focus on marketing,
you will never have to worry about finances, because you will not
bring in revenues."
Commercializing technology, managing customer
and how to hire consultants are several of the two dozen topics that
speakers from the Institute of Management Consultants can present
for corporations, clubs, and trade associations. The institute, which
has its Princeton chapter based in Lawrenceville, certifies
and has just announced its Speaker’s Bureau service. All topics and
speakers are available at no charge. The list can be found at
or call John McCrea at 732-571-1621. For chapter information
call Paul Gondek at 609-896-4457.
Corrections or additions?
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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.