Shadchanim - Ounce of Prevention - Moshe Pogrow, NASI Project

Over the last few weeks I have been contacted by no fewer than six shadchanim who have expressed their plans to either quit or significantly cut back on the time they currently invest working on shidduchim. Normally this wouldn’t be to concerning, as there are in general plenty of people happy to redd shidduchim to their friends relatives and neighbors. What was and is alarming is that these six shadchanim are from the very few who are dedicated bilev v’nefesh to spending the vast majority of their waking hours working on behalf of the singles in our communities who find themselves with few shidduch opportunities coming their way. In fact I’d be hard pressed to name another six such shadchanim in the country like them. It would truly be a very sad day for the community if we lost the dedication and expertise of these shadchanim.

Anyone even slightly familiar with the shidduch scene with readily acknowledge that some singles are easy to get “yesses” for, others aren’t, and of course there is a broad range. This is an assessment that experienced shadchanim with know very quickly after meeting or hearing about a single. With regards to the singles whom the shadchanim perceive as not so easy to get yesses for, the shadchanim understand the degree of concerted effort it will take to get a shidduch for them off the ground.

To think that overwhelmed shadchanim should do this full time as a chesed unrealistic. It wouldn’t be realistic to hope/expect any other busy service provider (plumber/electrician/Lawyer etc) would devote tens of hours for a particular issue that I need assistance with, and it is equally unrealistic to expect that of shadchanim who are spending hours upon hours each day working on shidduchim and who are pulled in all directions.

The very few shadchanim -tzadikim and tzidkanios- who do focus on the under the radar singles on a consistent basis, inevitably quit, significantly cut back their hours, or simply shift their attention to the singles for whom it is far easier to get a shidduch off the ground. This is due to a combination of frustration with the lack of perceived success since most of their efforts on behalf of these singles don’t even end up with a shidduch getting off the ground to a first date! Coupled with the almost non-existent compensation for all their super human investment of time and energy. This happens time and again with large numbers of ex-shadchanim now in the real estate, mortgage or other fields where their expertise and perseverance enables them to help bring home a parnsassah for their families, something that full time shadchanus on behalf of the under the radar singles clearly doesn’t- this includes taking into account the “shadchanus gelt” they receive for each of the difficult shidduchim that they make. This hit me with a thud with these recent phone calls.

It is clear, that we as a community desperately need an army of such shadchanim who will spend the vast majority of their time on behalf of the singles who have no one looking out for them. The following two suggestion would go a long way towards making this happen.

  1. If a professional shadchan makes a shidduch for a single who has been in shidduchim more than 24 months, then shadchanus should be set at 2k minimum. Depending on the specifics of the shidduch the shadchanus should go up accordingly. The (current) notion of shadchanus being the same for a shidduch where the single has been in shidduchim for three months or ten years, straightforward family situation or complicated situation, a family that will make a takanos wedding or if they will make a gala, no-holds- barred top of the line affair, is simply unfair and unrealistic. This current unacceptable state of shadchanus compensation is a primary cause why there are so few professional shadchanim who can afford to invest their time in singles who have been dating four/six/eight/ten years. The compensation adjustment needs to be standardized and openly discussed in our communities. Widespread implementation of this idea will be extremely beneficial, it will help those who need the help the most.
  2. If you know of a particular single who has been in shidduchim for 2-6 years and you are aware that this particular single is currently getting barely -if- any attention from shadchanim, there is an effective tactic that I have seen work many times. Friends/relatives/acquaintances should put together funds and reach out to a number of active shadchanim who are likely to know the kinds of boys/girls who would be appropriate for that particular single. Let those shadchanim know that you understand that for whatever reason it isn’t easy to get shidduch interest from boys/girls on behalf of this particular single. You are asking them to go the extra mile, to put in the extra time and work to find a quality shidduch idea for this particular single. In recognition of their time and effort that is entailed, you are offering them fair compensation should they set up a date and it reaches date #2. I personally would recommend the offers be anywhere between 500-2000 for a date #2 (depending on the specifics of the situation/level challenge for that particular single to be set up), and another 500-1000 should it reach a date #4. This approach of offering fair and appropriate compensation as per the effort that it takes to help the singles whom don’t have an easy time getting “yesses” has proven to accomplish just that. (for various reasons it is best if the parents and single themselves are completely unaware of these efforts).
    As a community we are quite familiar with the cost of wedding related expenses like the caterer, hall, flowers, clothing, apartment etc, but we have been in the dark vis-a- vis the fair and realistic cost to generate sustained shadchan attention for the singles that are struggling from a lack of shidduch opportunities coming their way. Perhaps the readers would agree with me that of all the wedding expenses, the cost to generate quality shidduch opportunities for such a single is by far the most important wedding expense. What I have seen from extensive involvement in this kind of model and after much research coupled with unending trial and tweaking, is that it costs approximately 7500, - invested wisely as per the above model - to generate the requisite sustained shadchan attention to bring these singles to the chuppah.

I have never spent more than $10,000 on any particular single without them getting engaged. Sometimes despite very fair offers, the shadchanim were unable to get these singles dates-but they surely tried. For the singles who did get set up as a result of the shadchanims focus on them, they are Baruch Hashem engaged without having to go out with too many different suggestions.

Generally speaking, for singles who have been in shidduchim 2-6 years and barely go out, all they need is a few date 2’s, one or two date 4’s and Bezraas Hashems they will be standing under the chuppah. All these singles need is a few good shidduch opportunities. This is a model that has been proven to be an effective and reasonable histadlus on behalf of these singles. As such, it would be extremely beneficial for this tactic to be adopted by friends, family (other than parents) to help individual singles. The more widespread this becomes the more people we will have who are enabled to really invest themselves on behalf of the singles who need it most.

Od Yeshamah Biarey Yehuda Uvichuztos Yerushalayim
Moshe Pogrow NASI Project

I’ve been (or trying to!) redting shidduchim for a number of years, not as a professional, but as a friend/neighbor/relative/community member, and think the numbers are quite unrealistic. I have a hard enough time getting a yes for a first - let alone second date - how much more cautious would the singles be if they need to pay to agree to go on a date! I think we should be encouraging singles to be open-minded, more willing to go out even if not everything on their “wish list” checks out - not adding another reason for them to say no. (And doing away with pictures should be the first change!)
Perhaps because I am not a “professional” and not looking to make money off shidduchim, but simply truly want my friends, neighbors, etc to find their Zivug, we have a very different outlook.
Additionally, the amounts quoted are grossly unaffordable to many (most?) singles I’m acquainted with.
It was enlightening to read though and thank you for all your hard work!

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please read the article. It clearly addresses your point. The model that has proven to work is when the single and their immediate family is not involved at all and totally unaware, and thus it dos not impact the decision process.

and yes, this is strictly about enabling the professionals to be able to spend hours upon hours on singles for whom they find it quite challenging to get appropriate yesses for.

At the end of the day, though, there are TWO singles who need to give a yes, not a Shadchan. I don’t see how offering a Shadchan money is going to convince the 46 year old male to date a woman over 37. Maybe offer it to him (I’m kidding!) From my (unprofessional) experience, there are many ideas being suggested; the single (or parents) need to “say yes”.

as the article states

“If you know of a particular single who has been in shidduchim for 2-6 years”

male 46 female 37 doesn’t fit that.

Isn’t this the idea of one gets what he pays for? It sounds like the shadchan will be motivated to work harder at finding suitable couples if s/he knows that more money is involved.

NASI HAD THIS IDEA (see below) A WHILE BACK …Many of the girl are in the workforce and making (and saving) very nice money . why shouldnt the parents and the girl know out it, if its done this way? there is nothing to be embarrassed about .Its a professional service. Anybody have a any info why NASI stopped this initiative?

The project then moved to encouraging single women ages 22 and up to put a specified amount of money into an account managed by The NASI Project that would be paid out to the Shadchan that made her shidduch. This money would be an incentive to Shadchanim who would otherwise focus on younger girls.
AGE AMOUNT
22 $5,000
23 $6,000
24 $7,000
25 $8,000
26 $9,000 etc.

There would still need to be some cap - a person who is single at 50 would owe $33,000

there could be a cap…but the concept really make sense.Most of the older guys out there are professionals and or working as well.

Yes,

That program showed that even very large amounts of money when promised only if the single got engaged was very ineffective at generaing significant added shidduch attention for singles who previously were not getting any quality dating opportunities.

Four singles in the program did get engaged which was amazing. But more than half the singles in the program didn’t get set up even ONCE.

so after 12 months time and when the activity on behalf of the singles in the program seemed to die down… all the money was returned to the ppl who had deposited it (aside for the four who had gotten engaged) and the program was ended.

Moshe Pogrow
NASI

Your are correct that in a perfect world the people being serviced should pay for the service like any other service provider relationship.

however, the reason why in this model it is crucial that the singels/families shouldn’t be aware, is (among other reasons) that the cost of a date 2 or date 4 will inevitably cause the decision makers (single/parent) to end a shidduch which is so/so instead of continuing to date 2/4 and having to pay. Yet in reality had money not a factor they would have and should have continued.

Thanks for this insight.just curious how many families actually signed up?

around 90 different singles were included

Although I disagree with your premise and proposal, I applaud you for suggesting possible solutions to help people in Shidduchim. Any and all ideas should be considered and tried. Different ideas will work for different people.

Your suggestion boils down to pay a nice amount of money as an incentive to shadchanim to find shidduch for “harder” shidduchim. And, to secretly collect money on behalf of singles to pay these shadchanim to find a shidduch for your tzedakah recipients.

  1. There are some Shadchanim who charge a large sum to work on behalf of a single. Wealthier people pay these Shadchanim to find a shidduch for their kids. I’d be curious to find out if wealthier people succeed in marrying off their children easier and earlier than less wealthy people and if there are fewer older singles from wealthy homes. (These statistics would prove/disprove the validity or your premise.)

  2. People should try and invest in different methods for finding a shidduch, including paying someone to help their kids and paying for online dating and shadchan services if they can afford it or using free services.

  3. Instead of paying people only if they’re successful, many organizations pay shadchanim a regular salary to make shidduchim during business hours. As an added incentive, these shadchanim also keep any shadchanus. These people should take some time to redt shidduchim for all types (if they don’t already do this).

  4. If professional shadchanim can make easier money with certain types of clients, it’s understandable for them to redt those “easy types” (or go into real estate) for the bulk of their “business hours” to feed their family. However, all of us can do some chessed by taking some time each day to help people who are having a more difficult time with shidduchim - whether professional shadchanim, real estate agents, friends, neighbors and coworkers.

  5. Trying to give a price to different categories of people is quite arbitrary. Plenty of people whom you would guess would have a hard time get married quickly, and many people who seem to “have it all” remain in shidduchim for longer.

  6. Singles who have been in shidduchim for a long time may benefit from a dating coach or other mentor to help them figure out what might be the impediment to their getting dates or getting married, etc. Finding dates is similar to finding a job. You need a good resume (or profile) and need to know where and how to network and interview.

Thank you for your work on behalf of singles and Klal Yisroel. Hatzlacha.

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Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

The point of the proposals was to address a specific point. To generate quality shidduch opportunities from shadchanim for singles dating 2-6 years who find themselves with few if any opportunities coming their way. The proposal was not an attempt to alleviate all issues related to shidduchim.

  1. The kids of wealthier people tend to find themselves with more shidduch opportunist. (if you find some some kids still single after a few years, it is not for lack of shidduch opportunities coming their way.) The primary reason for this is simply that their are many singes who are happy to gives “yesses” to kids from wealthy families and thus it is easy to set up kids form wealthier families. there is no need for the wealthy to pay shadchanim o find shidduchim for their kids, they will have plenty of shidduch opportunities coming their way both from professional shadchanim as well as other people (friends relatives etc) making suggestions… . A secondary, less critical factor is that shadchanim think they will receive larger shadchanus from wealthy families.

  2. Agree, I have simply presented what I have found via extensive reserech to be a very effective method of accomplishing this goal.

  3. Those organizations you reference close down one after another because the model you present (which they have attempted) has been shown to be not sustainable- time and again. An additonal point: the notion of doing shidduchim “during business hours” is by defination not applicable to a “proffesional” full time shadchan. To consistently make even 7 shidduchim a year requires full time full day weekends shabbosos, yomim tovim. There is no such thing as working 9-5 and making seven shidduchim a year, year after year.

  4. All shadchanim do… some chesed… and the sum total of the “some chesed” isn’t sufficient to cover the tremendous communal need. The numbers of singles who have difficulty getting dates far out numbers the available chesed efforts of the shadhcnaim. Hence the need for it to be financially viable to invest oneself as opposed to relying on chesed.

  5. This is not a guessing game. This on behalf of real singles who in real time (after 24 months in shidduchim) find themselves with no one to turn to, no one investing serious effort on their behalf.

  6. mentoring/coaching often comes into play in singles who do get dates but don’t seem to be getting anywhere. This is why I specifically identified the target of the proposal as singles who don’t get dates. They types of singles, that if only they had a few dates, they’d likely be married.

As for coaching/mentoring, that too absolutely must be a paid for serviced. Unfortunately, it is quite widespread where singles spend many many hours receiving guidance/mentoring/coaching from very dedicated and capable individual, and the provider doesn’t receive proper compensation. I wish that would change.