Be my Valentine? Oops! Am I too late?

As I wade through my inbox stuffed with heart, double-heart and twirling-heart emoji subject-lines, I’m left to wonder why do we send emails centered around second-tier holidays? Solicitations, stewardship, cultivation, thank-yous—what do they have to do with Hallmark and Russel Stover? Sorry, I’m more of a Godiva girl, sorry peeps!

I’ve certainly been part of very creative, and quite successful, Valentine’s Day campaigns. But pouring through the dozens of emails, targeted display ads and paid Facebook posts, I’m wondering if organizations aren’t going a bit too far trying to connect cupid to their mission.

Why thank me and send me love only on Valentine’s Day? Why not today? Or two days ago? Do we really need a Hallmark holiday to get us to share the love?

Our communities are exploding with people wanting to do more, give more, engage more. As direct response fundraisers, we have to make sure we are harnessing this energy.

But, we also have to care for our community. There are many pieces written about showing donors and constituents “impact”. But right now, I want to focus on love—caring, nurturing, cultivating the community.

Samantha Brown, now at The Engage Group, preaches “Random Acts of Stewardship”. (How cool is that? I think she coined the term!)

What are Random Acts of Stewardship or RAOSs?

A few days ago (not on Valentine’s Day, by the way!), I received a message from Illustrio, a new image library service, with cool customizable icons (one of the hottest trends in digital design, if you haven’t seen a web redesign lately).

Apparently, it was my one-month anniversary with them – not something on my calendar, but a celebration nonetheless! It was an unexpected, RAOS:

A mighty fine example of a Samantha Brown ROAS....

A mighty fine example of a Samantha Brown ROAS....

So you don’t have 30% off to give away? Remember why your constituents signed-up, took action or donated.

One of our most successful stewardship emails, which we now run consistently is giving constituents the opportunity to download a photo for their desktop, tablet or mobile background. Click-through rates range from 3% up to 6% depending on the different user cohorts and which photo we offer. The ROAS is a part of our welcome series and dropped into months when our email file needs an extra bit of love….

Have you done a ROAR? Let us know by emailing us here!