Valentine's Day is one of my favorite days of the year as a donor relations professional. Why? Because it gives us the perfect opportunity to shower the generous souls who support our organizations with #donorlove. While I hope you show your donors love and gratitude year-round, sending a Valentine's Day message to donors should be included in every nonprofits communications plan. Here are some of our favorites from this year (and a few that missed the mark):
You already know that Charity Water is one of my unicorn organizations. They never disappoint when it comes to donor communications. This beautifully designed email includes a witty poem that highlights the amazing things they see their donors doing every day, and they included a fun video showing their team creating hand-crafted cards for donors. Can you imagine receiving a handmade, personalized Valentine from your favorite nonprofit? 😍
University of Tennessee Knoxville We've said it 1,000 times and we'll continue to shout it from the rooftops—ThankView is one of the best and simplest ways to send donors personalized videos without breaking the bank. This video was short and sweet, connected me to a current student, and made me feel all the love on Valentine's Day.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
I loved this stunning email from Maine Coast Heritage Trust. They even included a link to their online impact report that is beautifully designed and includes gorgeous imagery, infographics highlighting impact, and a thank you video.
Okanagan College Foundation
Sometimes the best way to show a donor the impact of their generosity is to share stories directly from those they're helping. In this case, it's the students at Okanagan College—and their stories are beautiful! Videos like this can be recorded on smart phones and edited with free software like iMovie. Don't be fooled into thinking videos have to be expensive to be meaningful—it's simply not true!
Cornell SC Johnson School of Business
This email from Cornell was personalized and eye catching with a simple design and animated graphic, but what really won me over was all the "you" language and the focus on what I am making possible.
Columbus School for Girls
This was one of my absolutely favorite Valentine's messages I've ever received. I mean, just look at this language, "On this day of love, we wanted to say thank you for making sure that our girls are surrounded by love every day!" SWOON! Read that again. It's so much more meaningful than, "Thank you for supporting Columbus School for Girls." Amiright? The icing on the cake was the video they included filled with adorable kiddos that are benefiting from my gift.
Want an idea for great Valentine's Day mailer? We love a good postcard and this one from Bancroft didn't disappoint. I love that while they didn't include handcrafted valentines, they used them to create the graphics for the postcard and included photos of them being created. Cute, simple, and feels much more personal than a stock photo.
Now that we've highlighted some of the great messages we've received, let's have a look at a few that missed the mark, and all for the same reason—they sent a Valentine with an ASK. I understand and appreciate the importance of a well-timed solicitation, but you wouldn't send a card to your favorite Valentine and then include, "But can you show me that you love me even more?" On the Day of Love, let's keep the focus on why we love our donors, and not why they should love us!
Did you receive any donor valentines this year? What were your favorites? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below.
The DRG Team