Give52: A Giving Plan Making an Impact, Inspiring a New Generation
On 15 October 2019, YPO members Jenny and Anton Gaudry launched Give52 in Melbourne, Australia. The Gaudrys are on a mission to visit 52 charities in 52 weeks in 2020, donating AUD10, 000 to each of them. Their inspiration: Tristan Miller who, in 2010, ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks, documenting the experience in his book, Run Like Crazy.
Driving to set an example
In 2018, the Gaudrys sold their financial services business. “This was a large economic event for us and the proceeds from the sale were beyond our lifestyle or wealth aspirations,” Anton says. They decided that a family foundation would be the best way for them to achieve their mission of giving back, something they had been doing for years as they supported a wide range of charitable organizations.
Initially, he says, they decided to make donations to about 15 charities that they had previously supported. “We visited all of these charities and gave them AUD10,000 each to make it a worthwhile contribution,” adds Anton. “We really enjoyed the experience and met some wonderful people — including business, political, sporting and community leaders.”
One of the things the Gaudrys began noticing as they attended more philanthropic events is that most of the attendees were from “an older generation.” Recognizing that younger generations were increasingly socially minded, they decided that they wanted their giving message to reach them.
Give52 launched 1 January. The Gaudrys will visit one charity every week in 2020, giving away AUD10,000 a week – AUD520,000 in total.
Getting attention to fuel greater giving
In Australia, as in many countries, says Anton, people tend to be very good at “consumer giving”— supporting fundraising events like gala balls, running races or attending golf outings. But, he says, there’s an opportunity to do more in terms of “regular giving.”
“We wanted our message to be very clear,” he says. “The best outcome for the charity you support is to have a giving plan — make a regular monthly commitment to support the charity that is most dear to your heart.”
The Gaudrys wanted to make an impact in a big way to encourage others to follow in their footsteps, an impact that would create headlines. “We knew if we wanted to promote regular giving, we had to set the example,” Anton says. “And we had to raise the bar to capture peoples’ imaginations.” Give52 was born.
In addition to raising awareness among a younger demographic, Anton says another goal is to “democratize” philanthropy which, he says, “is often associated with wealth.”
Give52 offers an extreme example of giving, with the intention of capturing peoples’ imagination. Anton explains, “We want people to be comfortable setting their giving plan at AUD1, AUD2 or AUD10 a week — whatever works for them. The mere fact people start a ‘giving plan’ as a result of Give52 suggests we have met our objectives. If a few people decide to imitate our giving plan, at the same level or beyond, that is even a better outcome for our community. Starting the journey is often the hardest part, so we hope our story inspires many people.”
Coming up with the idea for Give52 was the easy part Anton says. The hard part was finding 52 charities to support. The challenge was eased to some degree because the Gaudrys’ financial services business had a client list that consisted of charities. They reached out to some former clients and invited other charities to join their giving program.
The planning process, Anton says, took about three to four months. It included creating the Give52 brand, a website, defining messaging and developing a professional offering. “We wanted each charity to highlight the Give52 message to their supporters; the ability to ‘use’ their brand and social media reach required us to invest in a quality offering,” he says. Because of their prior relationships with many of these charities, he says, securing their trust was “relatively easy, but never taken for granted.”
The Gaudrys are asking the charities they support to also do something for them. “We have asked each charity to think how they can use the Give52 story to gather more financial support,” Anton says. “In particular, how they can reach a younger generation and encourage them to start a giving plan. We have encouraged every charity to leverage off our story, promote the message and, hopefully, gain financially many times over from our donation. That’s the impact we would like.”
Having fun while doing good
Initially, Anton says that when he and Jenny started their philanthropy journey, they thought that the pleasure would come from choosing and supporting worthwhile causes. What they underestimated, though, he says, was meeting so many fantastic people, including charity employees, CEOs and board members, clients of the charities and community leaders. “It’s amazing that when you share a common interest with people, how quickly you become friends and enjoy each other’s company,” Anton says. “The ‘fun’ aspect of philanthropy was not something we had considered too much. So, it’s been a very pleasant surprise.”
For example, he says, “For the launch of Give52, we invited Australian tennis legend Paul McNamee to speak. Paul won five grand slam doubles titles in the 1980s and credits his start in charity work to U.S. tennis legend, Vitas Gerulaitis. During U.S. Opens, Gerulaitis would take McNamee down to the Bronx and engage with under-privileged kids by playing tennis. McNamee found this to be a very moving experience as he could see the power of sport, in particular tennis, in helping kids get off the street.”
During the campaign launch, the Gaudrys learned that McNamees’ donors had one common regret — they all wished that they had started their philanthropy journeys earlier. “We thought that was a powerful observation and one that really aligned with our objectives,” Anton says. “We hope Give52 creates an awareness of giving, but also we want to make sure the message that giving is fun and enjoyable is also heard. We think our branding will appeal to all ages and hopefully encourage the younger generation to create their own giving plan now.”
The impact of their efforts is already being seen. For example, the Gaudrys committed to building a school in India over a three-year period from 2016-2018. They decided to visit the school once it was completed. “For a fraction of the cost in Australia, we saw firsthand a completed school with over 300 lovely children now benefiting from a quality education,” Anton says.
During their visit, he says, they took some time for a game of cricket with some of the boys at the school, ranging in age from 12 to 15. All orphans, the boys live at the school, which, says Anton, “provides these boys a safe and loving environment, as opposed to a life destined in the slums.”
As far as plans for the future, the Gaudrys aren’t ones to rest on their laurels. “We thought Give52 was fairly impressive,” Anton says, “Then, when we launched our campaign, some people rather cheekily said, ‘what about Give365?’ I like a challenge, so maybe 2021 we will up the ante and go for Give365! It would be another great story.”