What’s Wrong with Valentine’s Day Could Benefit Your Nonprofit

0

Warning: If you are a jeweler, candy maker, florist, or card company, you will probably want to stop here and use your time to prepare for the annual rush of last minute shoppers.

Well, here we are, one week out from Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air! We have all selected that perfect, personal gift that only a soulmate could procure…

Ha! Just kidding!

For many procrastinators reading this (myself included!) there are still several days before most of us will even actually think about what to purchase for the ones we love. And then (probably) decide on one of the typical, traditional, lame, generic gifts. You know, to show them how much we love them (or don’t want them to be mad that we didn’t get them anything!).

February 14 has been commercialized to such a degree that it has become one of the year’s ultimate celebrations of conspicuous consumption/obligation. And, strangely, its origin is rooted in sacrifice and even a matchmaking lottery.

A new report found that US Consumers will spend over $18 Billion this Valentine’s Day to demonstrate devotion to their beloved (or maybe just to stay out of hot water with someone who is expecting a gift!).  On average, guys will spend $190.53 and gals $96.58.  That’s a lot of cash that will go to jewelry, candy, cards, and flowers. But do any of these have a lasting effect?

Give your donors the best ideas on how to GIVE

Instead of buying “stuff,” maybe we could persuade consumers to express their dedication and love by gifting a donation (or better yet, a monthly donation!) to an organization doing work that’s really near and dear to their beloved’s heart?

What if you were to reach out to your donors, to your members, the people in your community, and those following you on social media and suggest some great ideas to save them the stress of getting the same old-same old? Or maybe you can spend a little marketing effort to encourage them to suggest they would prefer to have gifts directed to their favorite cause.

Easy ideas to help spread the word

Here are a few ideas that you can incorporate pretty quickly by sending out an email, a text, a Facebook or Instagram post, or a Tweet!

Instead of running out and dropping $50 or more on a dozen roses that will die in a week consider the following examples:

Check out Instagram: A quick search of hashtag “#ValentineGift” resulted in a roundup of more than 200,000 posts. Mostly the posts were of flowers, DIY gifts, and candy. I think that a smart marketer might want to capitalize on this opportunity to reach people searching for gift ideas!

Roses are red, violets are blue. A gift to protect adorable pups is a sweet thing to do!

Encourage people to think twice about dropping $50 or more on a dozen roses that will die in a week and, instead, make a pledge to your cause. An animal rescue in Arizona, HALO, includes a feature on their website showing what that $50 could do. According to the site, $50 “Buys 100 assorted toys, to keep homeless dogs and cats happy and having fun during the times of day they’re in their kennels at the shelter.”  AWWWWWW!

Examples from sites

Be sure to detail exactly what donations do. They are really helpful in giving the gift giver something to write in a card!

Safe Harbor Crisis Center provides an example:

Your $100 Donation Buys…

  • Electricity for five shelter rooms for one month, which impacts up to 50 people.
  • Safe Harbor Crisis Center Domestic Violence shelter provides comfort and safety for hundreds of women, children, and men each year who have no other safe place to go as they heal.
  • Three-months of educational materials for the domestic violence and sexual assault recovery education and support groups.
  • The educational support groups offered at Safe Harbor help domestic violence and sexual assault survivors rebuild their lives.

 

United Way National Capital Area

$1 per week ($52 a year) supplies:

  • Twenty weeks of lunches for a homeless person
  • Three hours of respite care for a cancer patient
  • Three flu shots for an uninsured senior citizen

 

BoneShaker, a nonprofit in Austin, TX dedicated to “…inspiring kids to lead healthy and active lifestyles” is already in on this! They have a landing page touting:

boneshaker valentines day

Inspiration for next year

Want some inspiration for a bigger push next year? The Children’s Tumor Foundation decided that a sexy, romp held around Valentine’s Day would be a win-win for romantics with their Cupid’s Undie Run.  It raised over $3.5 Million in 2016 and they hope to double it in 2017.  While this certainly requires much more planning than the other ideas shared above, it could be something to consider for next year.

Happy Friday! 📸: @socialmaddie #imwithcupid #cupidsundierun #cupids #february #neurofibromatosis

A photo posted by Cupid’s Undie Run (@cupidsundierun) on

 

About author

Amy DeVita

Amy DeVita is managing partner at Top Nonprofits. A publisher, entrepreneur, mother, wife, social media enthusiast and fan and avid supporter of the do-gooders in the nonprofit/ for-impact sector. She has written for Top Nonprofits and Third Sector Today; she has been quoted on pieces about social media and social impact on The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. She was named to the Leading Women Entrepreneurs in NJ Monthly and she is a member of Social Media for Nonprofits' Leadership Council. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, yoga, hiking, traveling, and playing Scrabble. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and three dogs. In 1984 she earned the "Most Improved Average" honor on her bowling league.

No comments