Get Ready For February: Valentine’s Day Campaign Planning & Ideas for Nonprofits

Kerri Karvetski, in her new role as our Nonprofit Marketing Guide social media and online campaign adviser, helps you get ready for what could be your next big engagement campaign: Valentine’s Day! ~Kivi

Monterey Bay Aquarium Otter Valentine's Day CardThe all-consuming year-end season is behind us.

Breather’s over!

Your supporters are back in the swing of things and you should be, too. It’s time to think about your next opportunity to engage more deeply with your people.

Coming up next on the campaign trail: St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Are you ready?

Yes, You Can Raise Money on Valentine’s Day

For most nonprofits, Valentine’s Day is a small fundraising opportunity, but if you plan it right, you could raise some funds and endear yourself to fans.

[Fundraising isn’t the only option for engaging supporters. Keep reading!]

But I repeat: You need a plan. Don’t just mail it in with an email or a social media update that says, “Hey, we love you, it’s Valentine’s Day, now give us some money!”

Instead, honestly connect with the core sentiment of the holiday – love. Show love. Encourage love. Celebrate love. Let love rule.

Or turn love on its ear. Call for a breakup or for the end of something bad. Short on ideas? Check out my 2013 Nonprofit Valentine’s Day Campaigns Pinterest board for real-world examples.

My favorite Valentine’s Day fundraising campaign of all time is by the Children’s National Medical Center. They asked supporters to make a donation to send real Valentine’s Day cards to children spending the day in the hospital. Read the Children’s National Medical Center’s Valentine’s Day fundraising case study here.

Trust for Public Land's 7 Places to Steal A Kiss

Here’s Your Plan, Whether You’re Fundraising, Cultivating or Advocating

Ideally, you start this plan 4 weeks ahead of time. Cutting it close? Simplify. Do a blog post, an infographic on social media, or a “The 10 Ways We Love Supporters Like You” email.

Go simple this year, observe what others are doing and kick butt next year.

WEEK 1 (Mid January)
Set a Goal
If you’re running a fundraising campaign, set a financial goal. Haven’t a clue how to estimate? Don’t worry. Put your best guess down on paper and consider this your benchmarking year.

Tried a fundraising campaign last year? Add 10 percent to last year’s total. You should do better this just year just by having a concrete plan and executing it well. Feeling confident because of a much bigger list or a big media hit? Go big!

Non-fundraising goals include acquisition (increase subscribers/followers/fans), encouraging action (showing up at an event, sending a card, or uploading a photo) or raising awareness (take a quiz, watch a video, tell us your story).

Come Up With a Theme
Don’t fret over this, but do brainstorm, even if your very first choice is absolutely brilliant.

Plan Your Message Arc
One-and-done messaging isn’t a campaign. A proper fundraising or advocacy email campaign will have a minimum of 4 emails:

      1.  A launch message
      2. AT LEAST one inspirational second appeal/push
      3. A last-chance email
      4. [DO NOT SKIP THIS] A thank you/report back message

If you can’t swing a whole campaign, keep it simple: an email with a link to blog post.

Happy Valentine's Day from charity: water from charity: water on Vimeo.

WEEKS 2-3 (End of January/Beginning of February)
Coordinate Your Channels. Write and Design. 

      • Website – Add a banner or use one of your homepage slides to promote the campaign
      • Blog – Plan at least one blog post. Encourage folks to share their thoughts in comments.
      • Email – Make a nice banner and/or graphic for the holiday; plot your message and write them in advance
      • Facebook – Change your Timeline cover (can be similar to your new fancy email banner) and plan posts that coordinate with your email messages
      • Other channels - On YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ or Twitter? Plan campaign messages and graphics to complement your email arc

Begin to Deploy Your Campaign, Leading up to February 14

WEEKS 4-5 (Feb. 14 and beyond)
Analyze Results
How did you do? What did you learn? You won’t really know if you don’t measure!

Let These Core Valentine’s Day Themes Inspire Your Campaign

  • Earthworks Say No To Dirty Gold ValentineLove
  • Kisses
  • Hugs
  • Sex
  • Romance
  • Passion
  • Sweet
  • Girlfriends, Boyfriends, Husbands, Wives, Hearts
  • Breaking up
  • Angels
  • Cherubs

LOOK TO THE CANDY! Necco Sweathearts Sayings Over The Years

  • Be mine
  • LOL
  • First kissKaboom What Playground Do You Love? Valentine's Day Engagement
  • Kiss me
  • Hug me
  • Be good
  • Sweet talk
  • True love
  • Recipe 4 Love
  • Table 4 Two
  • Stir my heart
  • My treat
  • Sugar pie
  • Sweet love
  • Honey bun
  • Spice it up
  • Yum Yum
  • Melt my heart
  • Cloud nine
  • Nature lover
  • Puppy love
  • Bear hug
  • Love bird
  • Purr fect
  • Call home
  • Sweet home
  • Heart of gold
  • Charm me
  • Love letter
  • Love me tender
  • I got u babe

Do you have a favorite St. Valentine’s Day campaign? Share your sample in the comments section.

Author: Kerri Karvetski, Online Campaigns and Social Media Adviser

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