Work on awareness of Giving Tuesday this year, reap rewards in 2015, says founder

Henry Timms, who launched the annual fundraising event in the US two years ago, says organisers should spend time getting the UK version on the public radar

Henry Timms
Henry Timms

Charities should work hard to spread awareness about Giving Tuesday this year with a view to reaping the rewards in 2015, according to the founder of the annual giving initiative in the US.

Giving Tuesday, established to encourage the public and businesses to do something charitable on the Tuesday after the US holiday of Thanksgiving, was started two years ago by the New York-based community organisation 92nd Street Y.

Henry Timms, who launched Giving Tuesday and is also deputy executive director of 92nd Street Y, spoke in London yesterday at the launch of the UK version of the event, which will be organised by the Charities Aid Foundation on 2 December.

Timms declined to put a figure on how much it could be worth to UK charities, but said: "If you could get this on the public radar this year, that would be a very good start. Creating something that was a national day of giving every year would be an amazing achievement for the sector. After that, give yourself another 12-month cycle to build for year two."

Timms said that the biggest challenge facing Giving Tuesday – and the charity sector as a whole – was how to deal with fundraising movements that were propelled by supporters rather than charities themselves, such as the #nomakeupselfie campaign, which raised millions for Cancer Research UK earlier this year.

"None of us are used to this idea of being on the periphery," he said. "Like with #nomakeupselfie – it was created by the crowd and you find a way to fit yourself into the narrative. That is the opposite of what usually happens."

Timms said that Giving Tuesday was successful last year in Australia, Canada, Israel, Latin America (especially Mexico and Brazil) and Singapore, as well as in the US.

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