On this month’s Social Good podcast, Henry Timms, the deputy executive director of the Jewish community center 92nd Street Y in Manhattan and the originator of the idea for #Giving Tuesday, shares his reflections on the phenomenally successful first year of the event.
Here are a few of my takeaways from our conversation:
- There was a lot of planning for the event. It was not a spontaneous hashtag “movement” but a carefully organized fundraising day that began to take shape last spring. Henry recruited venerable institutions like the UN Foundation and the United Way, and I daresay the notion of an open effort powered by Twitter and a hashtag would have been unthinkable by groups like this just a year or two ago. And that’s a large part of what is so exciting, I think, about A#Giving Tuesday, it was started by large, well-funded groups but it was open for participation by any organization, any donor, any free agent. I quibbled about hashtag vs. trademark for the event, but, clearly Henry’s heart and intentions are wide open.
- The day took on a life of its own, as any effort powered by a hashtag should. Organizations broadened the original concept to include volunteerism as part of the “donations” for the day and it became a larger conversation about creating what Henry called Opening Day for the giving season. I hadn’t thought about a “Giving Season” before and like the idea very much (probably because it has such a baseball feel to it!)
- The idea was very sticky and this year was just a beginning. Instead of a few hundred organizations participating, there were a few thousands. There was something very sticky about having a day for generosity as the last leg in after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, dedicated national shopping days. Henry made it clear, though, that this year was just the beginning and they are going to reflect on the event and make changes for next year.