Tuesday, November 28

Finding Donors On The Internet

Interested in finding out how wealthy individuals and foundations decide where to donate their money? Once it has been donated, how does anyone really know if the donations are being used the way they were intended? And, finally, where in the world can non-profits hook up with those who are eager to make bequests?

As a part of its ongoing fall workshop series Partnership In Philanthropy (PIP) answers these questions when it presents “Data Mining: Internet-Based Prospect Research,” a hands-on training session on Tuesday, November 28, at 9:30 a.m. at Raritan Valley Community College. Cost: $90. Call 973-701-9810. The guest speaker is Maria Semple, owner of the Prospect Finder (www.theprospectfinder.com), a Bridgewater-based firm that provides extensive research on individuals, foundations, and corporations that are considered major donor prospects.

PIP is a self-described “partnership between New Jersey’s donor community and members of the New Jersey professional fundraising community.” It was organized in 1991 and exists to strengthen the fund raising capacity of New Jersey’s non-profit community.

Semple uses a computer lab for her presentations so that all participants can get some hands-on experience in using Internet resources to garner additional philanthropic dollars and to find information on people of wealth or influence for fundraising.

“It’s a donor-driven world we are in now,” says Semple, “so many good causes are knocking on the doors of philanthropically-minded people. They want to know their money is being used to their intent.” The goal of her company is to educate people on donor prospecting, which she defines as “the identification of potential donors, cultivation of these donors, the solicitation of funds, and the stewardship of donors and of their money.”

In addition, she emphasizes the care and feeding of contributors, learning how to keep them updated and informed on how their money is being used, and keeping them advised as to how their donations affect the community in which the organization takes place.

The Prospect Finder does the research for non-profits that do not have the staff to do so themselves. Semple provides the non-profit with the results such as lists of donors, foundations, and corporations to solicit for funds. While she does the research, each company must do its own fund-raising if it has the staff and, if it does not, Semple will refer it to fundraisers and grant writers.

Semple grew up in Raritan. Her father owned a barbershop in Bridgewater and her mother worked at Johnson & Johnson. Her parents were Italian immigrants, and she was the first generation to go to college, graduating from Douglass College, where she studied French and minored in international business. Her first job was working in the trading department of a French investment bank in New York, where she was a securities trader.

She says she got started in the philanthropy business in 1990 through her father-in-law’s company, Robert F. Semple Associates in Nutley. Her first project was working with him to raise money for the Salvation Army in New Brunswick.

Semple says that over the last 10 years the philanthropy field has changed a great deal. “People are much more cautious about writing checks,” she says. “They want to know where their money is going and they want to be sure that it is reaching the places of importance to them.” She emphasizes the importance of doing homework before approaching individuals for donations, and “trying to match a donor’s interests with where they can put their gifts.”

One good way to track down a foundation that would fit with a particular organization’s needs is to check documents called “Family Foundations 990,” because all non-profits are required to file an IRS 990. These are public documents and the information is easily accessible on the Internet. The documents indicate where a specific family foundation is giving money and the size of the gifts. Imbedded in the 990s are instructions on how to approach that foundation with proposals for donations.

There are also larger foundations, such as the Community Foundation of New Jersey and the Princeton Area Community Foundation, which manage funds. They enable smaller foundations to have separate funds within the larger foundation, which manages their assets and thus target their specific recipients.

— Jean Cervi

Wednesday, November 29

Entrepreneur Honored

Each year thousands of entrepreneurs suck it up, take the leap of faith, and open a new business. Statistics put the number at over half a million. And every year, those same statistics state, half of those businesses will fail, and nine out of ten of the remaining businesses will be shuttered by the end of the second year, effectively drowning the hopes of those who dared to dream.

Melissa Tenzer, owner of CareersUSA in Lawrence, has beaten the odds. She has been a business owner for five years and continues to grow her personnel franchise.

Tenzer will be honored as the recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year at the Princeton Chamber’s annual Business Leadership Awards Gala on Wednesday, November 29, at 5:30 p.m. Cost: $200. Call 609-924-1776. Her award is sponsored by the Bank of America, which will donate $500 to her favorite charity, Eden Services, a non-profit offering services for people with autism.

The awards gala is also honoring architect Robert Hillier, founder of the Hillier Group, as Innovator of the Year, and Mika Ryan, chair of the Mercer Sports Organization, as Committee Leader of the Year.

Tenzer signed a contract to open a CareersUSA franchise on September 11, 2001, and opened for business in January of 2002. While she had the option to back out of her contract at a time when other staffing agencies were cutting back due to a lack of business, Tenzer decided to preserve in spite of fears about economy after 9/11. “I knew I had what it took to make it in the business,” she says.

Her company places people on permanent, temporary, and temp-to-hire assignments in Mercer and Middlesex counties and north into New York. She attributes her success to a number of factors:

Public resources. Tenzer says that the support New Jersey gives to new entrepreneurs gave her the tools she needed to get started in business.

Staff. She also credits the people she has hired. “It’s important for your staff to know as much as possible about your business,” she says. “You need to inspire others by example. I knew everybody’s jobs in my company and aimed to accomplish small successes each day.”

New initiatives. Tenzer says that it is important to always have new things in the pipeline, and to have growth plan for your business. “Know your skill set and make sure it works in your business and be sure to align yourself with other strong business leaders in the community,” she says. “In this way you open up a whole different world and this enables you to learn from other business leaders and make the contacts necessary to help you grow your business.”

Networking. Tenzer mentors and writes resumes for people coming in to her agency looking for jobs. She shares what she learned through this experience by speaking to area groups. This exposure enabled her to meet many people in the business community.

Quality. It’s tempting to earn money by doing as much business as possible, but that strategy can backfire quickly in the staffing industry. Send one rude, slovenly, marginally-skilled secretary out on an assignment, and you will never get any more business from the company where she spent a week sulking and hanging up on clients.

Tenzer says that one of the keys to her success is that her clients can count on her because she has done the groundwork and checked candidates out thoroughly before sending them on job assignments. She says that sending a candidate with a high quality skill set plus a personality that fits into the corporate structure of a particular client is key.

She also offers guarantees with her executive level placements. If the executive she sends out is not a good fit, and the employer knows it within three months, she will replace him at no charge.

Capital. Tenzer says that the most important thing for a would-be entrepreneur to know is that the first year is always the hardest. This is true in so many ways — including financially. “It is imperative to have at least one year of finances to hold you over for the year while getting the business off the ground,” she says.

Tenzer grew up in Pennsylvania, where her father was a chemistry teacher and her mother was an assistant in a special education classroom. She worked her way through college and received an associate’s degree from Bucks County Community College. She then continued her education at Rider University with a concentration on business administration.

She is married and has a two-year-old daughter, Mina. She says, “I feel that having a healthy balance between family and career is vitally important. I feel the transition from career woman to mom helped me manage my time more wisely, and made every day just a little sweeter.”

When asked for the best piece of advice she could offer for people looking to start their own businesses, Tenzer said “choose a career path that is rewarding to you and fits with what you like.”

“In the end, perseverance is the biggest thing,” she says. “I just kept chiseling away at what I wanted to be.”

— Jean Cervi

Thursday, November 30

High Tech Exports

The worldwide web weaves its way seamlessly across all borders, but not so for its purveyors. In the real world, high tech companies seeking to expand into foreign lands face all the challenges of any business, plus a few more specifically their own. Despite the fact that every nation craves the latest technical advances, authorities can make it deliberately difficult for such innovations to enter.

The New Jersey Technology Council has gathered several of the top advisors and successful veterans of such foreign conquests to discuss “Fundamental Issues in Exporting for Technology Companies,” on Thursday, November 30, at 8 a.m. at the Waterfront Technology Center in Camden. Cost: $80. Visit www.njtc.org. Speakers in this panel discussion include Joanna Savvides, president of the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia; moderator Peter Gold, CEO of the Rutgers Camden Technology Campus; audit officer Richard Cleaveland and tax manager Keith Kube Sr., both from accounting firm Amper, Politziner & Mattia; and attorney John Donohue of Woodcock Washburn LLP in Philadelphia.

“People don’t seem to realize that the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia is an organization, not a building,” says Savvides. An active force in its launching 10 years ago, Savvides has watched the Trade Center community grow to a 200-member team of businesses, advising institutions, government agencies, and lenders. With offices in Camden, it greases the wheels of commerce and provides invaluable contacts on both sides of the Delaware River. For further information call 856-968-2057 or visit www.wtcphila.org.

Savvides grew up in Cyprus with well educated, if not well off, parents, who ever encouraged her to travel. Gaining a full scholarship, Savvides attended the Agricultural University of Belgrade in Yugoslavia, studying technology and chemical engineering in relation to food. By graduation, she had mastered six languages and became a professional interpreter for several government agencies, fulfilling her parents’ advice to travel.

In l980 Savvides emigrated to the United States. Her strong education and language expertise instantly netted her a job in the food industry. “I was one of those people who stood in the supermarket and offered samples of sausage and cheese to the shoppers,” she says. Struggling up from this common immigrant fate, Savvides found more technical positions with a series of other firms, finally launching her own company, Transport Ventures. Based in Camden, this consulting firm guided companies through the labyrinth of foreign trade. Her locale and expertise made her a logical match for the burgeoning World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia.

Today, she is married, as she puts it, “to a long time IBMer,” who lives in Japan. This, she confesses, causes her to travel more than even her parents could ever have wished.

Just back from a trade conference with the Turkish General Assembly in Istanbul, Savvides says, “there I experienced one of the absolutely proverbial problems that comes with working in a different nation.”

Crossed cultures. Savvides had very carefully set up a trade mission meeting with several Turkish delegates at 3 p.m. on a specific day. When she arrived at the General Assembly meeting room she was told by a caretaker, “Oh they all drifted in about 11 a.m., so they had their meeting and they’ve gone now.”

Savvides was furious, but aware. She knew that in Turkey, like much of Latin America and Africa, promptness is not a primary value. In the Pacific Rim, however, it is frequently used as a negotiations’ lever. Knowing exactly what time means in each new culture, she says, can be as important as learning the language.

Recalling her maxim that the purpose is more important than any one meeting, Savvides took the initiative and rounded up all the individuals. The trick, she points out, is to be very firm, but in no way to let your ego get involved. “In the end, the group was gathered, and they all were wonderful,” she says. “Mission accomplished and there was nothing personal about my being at first excluded.”

It is incumbent on you, the foreign visitor, to get prepared, insists Savvides. In addition to learning the banking and import statutes, bone up on the rituals of entertainment, a bit of history, and current politics. Set a goal of learning not just greetings, but 100 basic phrases and the number system in the natives’ language. In every culture, except perhaps in Quebec, the attempt to speak the language is taken for the deed, and is the best way to solidify a partnership.

Matchmaking. Partners abroad are not difficult to find, and one needs not ever settle for the first at hand or the company most similar to one’s own firm. Many non-profit agencies freely offer long lists of international potential partners. These include the Small Business Development Administration, the New Jersey Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Service, the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania consulates, and various national trade missions. Also try one of the bilateral Chambers of Commerce, any embassy’s commerce attache or trade commissioner, and, of course, the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia.

Even before the first tentative feelers go out for a tentative agreement between two companies, the due diligence should begin in earnest, and should be ongoing. Savvides’ center has developed a question list of several pages, each one of which should be answered before anyone begins talking contract. Many of these include the obvious: financial stability, longevity, and employee and managerial turnover.

Interestingly, the one factor toward which many companies willingly turn a blind eye is the matter of other partners. “You can’t deal with a company that bottles both Coke and Pepsi,” says Savvides. The disadvantage of having one sales force sell your goods and your competitor’s should be obvious, but many dismiss it, seeking only that partner who has the best selling record.

Unique IP woes. Frequently the high tech firm finds itself attempting to negotiate knowledge across an ocean. Its unique currency of high value and minimal tangibility means that the standard relationships of manufacturer, supplier, vendor, wholesaler, and retailer don’t readily apply. The most successful technology transfers are coming out of the most creative partnerings. Licensing or sharing agreements, joint ventures, and technology swaps may all be blended into the final customized agreement.

To establish this fit, Savvides suggests getting a top notch attorney and tax accountant in one’s home port and a corresponding pair in the foreign port. The fees may seem daunting, but invariably they deliver a very quick payback.

Money matters. The very best intentions may lead to bankruptcy when currency is to be transferred oceans apart. Savvides always advises clients to stipulate that all payments must to go through an in-nation bank, rather than make direct transfers between partners overseas. Moving money across borders can often prove tricky and in some circumstances is illegal.

One bonding tip overseas is to offer a list of accountants, lawyers, and professional personnel to your partner abroad, and then ask for a similar one from him. Naturally, you each will want to warily scrutinize this list of suggestions. But it is invaluable to have an agent on your side who not only knows the laws, but knows the networks.

“The real keys to trading abroad are diligent preparation and getting the right people on your side,” says Savvides. Getting started requires substantial investment, but there is a strong advantage for tech companies with their eyes on new markets — everyone loves American technology. It’s what we’ve done best for 200 years.

— Bart Jackson

A Business Campus For A Transit Village

Now that Johnson & Johnson has sold its campus at 2300 Route 1 North, off Aaron Road in North Brunswick, plans are underway for a transit village.

The new owner, North Brunswick TOD Associates, is exploring opportunities for developing the 212-acre campus into a mixed-use community aligned with New Jersey’s Smart Growth principles. It began holding open public workshops last spring and the series continues this fall.

Robert Hillier of Hillier Architecture will speak at workshops scheduled for Thursdays, November 30 and December 7, 6:30 to 9 p.m., at the Yellowbird Reception Center (enter on Aaron Road). On November 30 Hillier will moderate a forum with team members Chester Chellman, principal of TND Engineering, and Paul Levy, CEO of Center City District, Philadelphia. On December 7 he joins David Listokin of Rutgers’ Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy to review conceptual plan models and show a new informational video. For information call 732-398-9700 or check the website (http:OurTownCenter).

TOD is an industry term for “transit-oriented development.” Currently the campus, which J&J opened this in 1955 to make baby products and adhesive tape, has warehouse, office and laboratory buildings, but under consideration are a rail station, a mix of office, retail, and residential space, a hotel, restaurants, extensive parking facilities, a youth center, a new township library, an amphitheater, a police sub-station, and/or open space or “green plazas.”

North Brunswick TOD Associates is based on Route 27 in Kendall Park and John Taikina is the director of planning and development (732-398-9700; fax, 732-398-9711).

It is affiliated with Garden Commercial Properties, a subsidiary of Garden Homes and a privately-held development company managed by the Wilf family. It has more than 50 years of varied development experience.

Based in Short Hills it owns and manages more than 25 million square feet of retail and commercial space in six states and ranks among the top 20 in “retail property owners and mangers” in the United States (www.gardencommercial.com).

Anticipating a mixed-use development, the owner has signed only short-term leases. J&J is retaining 213,000 square feet of office and laboratory space. After two additional leases, only 700,000 square feet of the total 1.2 million square feet remain to be leased.

The property, being marketed by Chuck Fern of Lee & Klatskin for about $4 per foot of warehouse space, is served by rail access and features 45 interior loading docks and 10 acres of fully fenced and secure parking facilities for trailers. North Brunswick TOD Associates will subdivide the remaining space into parcels as small as 15,000 square feet.

Church & Dwight has leased 133,098 square feet of warehouse space and 1,600 feet of office space. The maker of Arm & Hammer products already had warehouse and manufacturing space in North Brunswick, and it was represented by Scott Belfer of CB Richard Ellis.

Furniture X-Change, a reseller of corporate office furniture, took 67,639 square feet of warehouse space, and it was represented by Newmark Knight & Frank.

If a new commuter station were to be built, it would be in the middle of a 14-mile stretch between Princeton Junction and New Brunswick, the longest span on New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor line that does not have a station stop. The potential train stop would be near a 1,900-unit development, Renaissance homes, and it could also be accessed from Route 130.

— Barbara Fox

Holiday Job Hunting

The Five O’Clock Club, the venerable New York City career coaching company, has some advice for anyone who is out of a job — or looking for a better job — during the holidays. In a nutshell, it’s “Get out there! Fast! While the competition is lying around, watching football, decking the halls, and throwing back egg nog.”

Those aren’t the exact words of advice that Kate Wendleton, president of the organization, has. This is her exact advice, in detail, as written in her organization’s November/December newsletter, which is available online at www.FiveOClockClub.com.

In the old days, when I had a day job and ran the club on the side, I sometimes had to job search just like the other club members. But I knew the club’s statistics, so I only searched between Thanksgiving and New Year’s and during the summer. That’s when the competition lays back, thinking that nothing is going on. The number of job seekers drops precipitously but companies are still hiring. So I pushed harder.

Our members have gotten offers on Christmas Eve and even on New Year’s Eve. The Five O’Clock Club tells our members to keep up the holiday job hunt — while everyone else is shopping!

Looking for a job between Thanksgiving and Christmas actually increases your chances of getting hired. First of all, managers are more relaxed during this time of year because of the prevailing good cheer.

Managers who usually travel are often in their offices now. Once you get in they will spend more time with you — and there will be few other job hunters asking for meetings.

Second, hiring managers know that you are serious about finding a job if you are searching during the holidays. They will take you more seriously and respect you for your perseverance.

Third, budgeting and hiring decisions are being finalized for the new year. If you are available to be hired during this time they won’t have to worry about who to put in that new position. January is a high hiring month for our members, and those who get hired in January have been searching in November and December.

Remember also that this is a party time of year. Get out there and meet people. Let everyone you meet hear your 30-second pitch and what you are looking for. If appropriate, ask for more formal meetings later so you can learn more about companies and tell your story in greater detail.

Remember that your goal is to get in to see the manager and others when there is no job opening. The Five O’Clock Club measure of a good search is meeting with six to ten people on an ongoing basis, that is, the right people at the right level in the right organizations — and have them say to you ‘Gee, I wish we had on opening right now. I’d like to have someone like you on board.’

If your target market is giving you that kind of positive feedback, you have a good search. Now you simply need to get in to see more people who say the same thing to you. Then it’s only a matter of time.

Five O’Clock Clubbers are like the Energizer Bunny: they keep going and going when everyone else is slowing down. And they assess their searches so they can tell what is working and what is not. They think hard about how to turn those interviews into offers.

So keep going — while making sure that you are doing the right things. The holiday season is more than just a time to be thankful and of good cheer. how about adding this to your holiday shopping list: a new job — in just your size.

More Commuter Parking On Tap

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is adding new parking spaces for commuters at the Park-N-Ride lot at Interchange 8A as part of an accelerated construction program to meet the needs of commuters.

The Park-N-Ride lot on Route 130 in South Brunswick currently offers 499 spaces to motorists, and, as part of the new $2.2 million expansion project, an additional 415 spaces will be added over a 3.5 wide parcel adjacent to the current lot. Construction on the new spaces began during the third week of November and when completed in February of 2007 a total of 914 spaces will be available on the new 7.5 acre location.

“With a heavily congested state like New Jersey that encourages its residents to use mass transit, it’s only reasonable to provide them with incentives,” executive director Michael Lapolla said in a prepared statement. “As part of that incentive we are expediting this expansion project to ensure that the maximum number of spaces is available in the shortest amount of time.”

Corporate Angels

Emack & Bolio’s ice cream shop in West Windsor is donating a percentage of its holiday sales — from the week before Thanksgiving right through January 3 —- to HomeFront.

“It seems especially appropriate that we partner with HomeFront because the shop’s namesakes were homeless. Emack and Bolio are the names of two homeless people owner Bob Rook did pro bono work for,” says Kevin McLaughlin, a partner in the business.

For more information visit www.homefrontnj.org. Or call 609-989-9417.

Facebook Comments