Back in the day at St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School, one of my favorite holidays was Valentine’s Day. The nuns happily allowed us a half hour break from classes to distribute our miniature missives – I suspect they thought it was a novel way to utilize our Palmer Method skills. I still remember the excitement of all those envelopes neatly stacked on my desk: somebody loved me!

Later in life, I was always grateful for that anonymous office colleague (we all had one, right?) who took it upon her/himself to distribute candy hearts or some other treat on this annual celebration of all things “loverly.”

Now that I work out of my home, Valentine’s Day can feel a little lonely. Thankfully, I work (remotely) with some great folks who have shared the L-O-V-E they’ve gotten today in their inboxes, rekindling those warm Elementary School fuzzies.

We thought we’d share a few of our favorite Valentines with you – a great reminder that Cultivation messages are a key strategy in donor retention (and just the right thing to do every once in a while!)

1.“Head over Hooves” with a A Personal Message

Our UX and Creative Director, Brenda Miele gushed over this effort from Heifer International: “Can you feel the love? Man, I just love their emails, especially when they make me feel so brilliant! Head over hooves!” Sent with the Subject line “We wrote 179,545 love poems. Here’s yours:” Heifer used personalization (and the initials of Brenda’s first name) to create a special moment for her. Nick Barbieri, one of our most creative consultants, also fell in love with Heifer, even though he received the ‘No First Name’ version of the poem, which was sent with a “It’s true love.” Subject line.

Brenda and Nick’s Poem:


2. Put your Cell Phone Where Your Heart Is

The American Heart Association reached out to me on Valentine’s Day to ask me to advocate on behalf of an estimated 131 million Americans who will have some form of cardiovascular disease by 2035. While not technically a ‘Valentine’s Day” message, leveraging the day to urge me to film a short video encouraging enhanced funding for National Institutes of Health – combined with the subject line “Breaking: Over 131 million” made this effort stand out in my inbox. When I clicked through, I was taken to the “I am the #HeartOfMyState campaigns with a video providing “How-to” instructions on how to create my video.


3. Valentine’s Day Discount for Event Registration

Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day Event, celebrated love by highlighting their ‘early-bird’ registration offer in an email that featured a couple who participate together and offered a like to “Valentine’s Day Selfies” to see why other “LOVE” the event.


4. Sharing Love on Valentine’s Day

Children’s Cancer Research Fund ®, in its Valentine’s Day mail, harkens directly back to those Elementary School days by urging us to share a message with young patient battling a rare type of t-cell ALL leukemia. Upon clicking through, it was “heart”-ening to read the 566 comments left by well-wishers.


5. Everybody Loves a Romance

One of my personal favorite efforts was from my alma mater, Brown University. Brown’s Annual Fund knocks my socks off each and every time they target me with video and today’s effort – a Sponsored Post on Facebook – was no exception. The short video featured snapshots of a variety of couples who met and fell in love while at Brown. While I myself didn’t meet my spouse on campus, the effort still brought back warm memories of my time in College. At the same time, the vignettes featuring a wide array of alums – young, old, straight, gay, and a host of different races, subtly reinforced Brown’s “brand” as a diverse community of interesting and smart people.


What was YOUR favorite message this Valentine’s Day??? Forward your efforts (or others that you loved) to info@charitydynamics.com. We’d love to see them!