Courtney Henry from Charidy Australia sits down with Peretz Schapiro, the Director responsible for bringing Charidy from New York to Australia. We hear what makes him tick and discover new insights into the inside workings of a Giving Day.
CH. Charidy came out of America, which has a very different philanthropic culture to Australia. What made you believe that the Charidy Giving Day model would take off here?
PS. I just hoped it would! At the end of the day we all give in different ways because it makes us feel good and it’s human nature. Philanthropy is empowering from that perspective, because regardless of language and culture humans still crave that desire to feel good and make an impact.
CH. Being at the coalface of so many campaigns you must have seen some big gifts come in on the Giving Day. What’s the best reaction that you’ve seen to an unexpectedly large gift?
PS. There was one campaign where $100,000 USD came through the platform, and our first reaction was ‘this must be a mistake’. There must be a bug, a mistake, something’s gone wrong. We had the charity call to check with the donor that they intended to make the gift, and the donor’s response was that he couldn’t not give… it was going to be multiplied by four! It was amazing, but it also meant that we had to restrategise the entire campaign day as essentially 50% of the target had been wiped out with one donation early in the piece. A good problem to have.
CH. You’re a director of Charidy Australia so I think I know the answer to this one, but if you didn’t have to sleep what would you do with your spare time?
PS. Work! That’s a bad answer, but I would be doing something constructive, I wouldn’t just be relaxing. I would look to achieve something, be it investing more time into Charidy or furthering my religious studies.
CH. What gets you fired up?
PS. When people tell me it’s not possible I take it as a challenge. In a Charidy context often it’s an organisation that thinks it’s not possible, or they question their own abilities to reach the target we set for them. People are capable, more than they realise, and their biggest obstacle to achieving amazing things is the words ‘I can’t’.
CH. What’s one piece of advice that you’re glad you ignored?
PS. It wasn’t just one, but when I was bringing Charidy into Australia so many people were saying it wouldn’t work here. Really smart, savvy people in philanthropy and business, and people that I really admired. It was all ‘it won’t take off because the culture is different, it won’t be scalable to make a living, Australia isn’t a big enough market’. I think we’ve proved them all wrong, and done a lot of good in the process.
CH. Last question before I let you get back to it. If you had a million dollars to give to a charity which one would you give it to?
PS. This is tough, I work closely with so many amazing not for profits I can’t play favourites! But if I had to choose only one, it would be the not for profit my parents run in Sydney called Chabad North Shore. They’re involved in outreach with the community.
CH. That’s untied right!
PS. Yes, of course!