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How Henry Timms was inspired to create Giving Tuesday

Henry Timms is the creator of Giving Tuesday and co-author of the bestselling book “New Power,” which explores how people gather and galvanize today, often via social media. For this week’s That Moment When, Steve Goldbloom speaks with Timms, who explains why “we need to stop seeing people as donors and start seeing them as owners.”

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Finally tonight, this week's "That Moment When," "NewsHour"'s series on Facebook Watch, features Henry Timms, the creator of Giving Tuesday, which is today.

    Timms is the co-author of the bestseller "New Power" that explains how interconnected groups, often organized through social media, are changing the world.

  • Steve Goldbloom:

    Henry, can you tell me the moment you decided to apply new power tactics to an old challenge, fund-raising?

  • Henry Timms:

    We had this idea. You know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

    And so we were thinking, OK, what about adding Giving Tuesday? Could you add a day that reversed the trend, that, after all this consumerism, that people would give back, that they would engage with the world?

    So, the idea began at the 92nd Street Y, and it was a really simple idea. And we designed that from the start in a way that we hoped other people would grab this idea and take it somewhere new.

    And what was so interesting about Giving Tuesday, as we watched it grow, was, from the very first days, it was a story of other people stepping up and saying, I would like to make this idea better.

    One really supercharged Giving Tuesday was small communities, families, people all around the country who just said, you know what? I'm going to start making this part of my annual tradition. So, Giving Tuesday in the first year, we were lucky, because people like Bill Gates were tweeting about it.

    But underneath that was what was really changing was, people were sitting around with their kids around the table and they were saying, what are the charities we care about? What are the causes our family stands for? Why is philanthropy important to us?

    And that's been a joy to watch.

  • Steve Goldbloom:

    What are the dangers and challenges of the people who treat the Internet like it's a cash register?

  • Henry Timms:

    The danger with the Internet, of course, is, we have this scale of engagement now. And so people who are entering that space and just trying to get people's money and do nothing else with them aren't getting as far as they should, because the big shift in fund-raising, in particular, is, we need to stop seeing people as donors and start seeing them as owners.

    And what I mean by that is, we need to stop seeing people in this very old power way, that their job is simply to give us money, so we can solve problems. And we need to say to ourselves, how do we mobilize these people who want to help to do more than simply give their money, but to give their time, to give their voice, to give their ideas?

    And I think that's the big shift we're seeing with Giving Tuesday and across the sector.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    "That Moment When" debuts on Facebook Watch every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.

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