Lookin' for love: Organizations, valentines, and social media

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Example of an NPR Valentine. (Image: npr.org/valentine/2012)

All over my Facebook feed I’m seeing examples of people and organizations highjacking (lovejacking?) Valentine’s Day “for good.” Whether you abhor the “romantic industrial complex” or you adore the chocolates and flowers, the day is hard to ignore. So it poses both a challenge and an opportunity to organizations: if we play our cards right, we can find fresh, easy ways to show love to our fans and to engage our communities around issues we also want to promote every other day of the year. But these can also easily be lost in the pink-and-red deluge, or strike the wrong note with people who hate the holiday.

Here are some examples I’ve seen today.

  • NPR Valentines: Easy-to-download, simple graphics featuring inside jokes for loyal listeners.
  • Generosity Day: Cooked up by folks from Acumen Fund, Network for Good, Malaria No More, and Fast Company, this campaign encourages everyone to “reboot Valentine’s Day” by saying yes for 24 hours to anyone who asks for help. Get the rundown on Beth Kanter’s blog.
  • Amnesty International, Love is a Right: To push their Facebook friends toward an ongoing fight against homophobia in Cameroon, their status reads “Happy valentine’s day! Take action for those who don’t have the freedom to love without discrimination. http://bit.ly/loveisaright LIKE & SHARE!”

So what can you do if you didn’t focus your energy on a whole Valentine’s campaign?

  • Find a quote about love or kindness that ties to your organizations mission and share it through whatever channels make sense for your audience. Kiva‘s Facebook status this morning was “‘Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.’ — Mother Teresa.”
  • Simply show some love for your community. Google for Nonprofits posted to Facebook: “Today we want to share our love for you! Thank you for your continued engagement, your support, and your insights. Happy Valentine’s Day from the Google for Nonprofits Team.”

Seen other examples? Leave your favorites in the comments. I’ll love you for it.

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