February arrived with Punxsutawney Phil predicting more winter and store shelves drawing us to candy displays and Valentine’s Day cards. Perhaps the most popular non-holiday on the calendar, Valentine’s Day symbolizes feelings of affection, mostly between couples and children.
Little is known about Valentinus, martyred on February 14, 269, for helping Christians. Ancient stories tell us he restored sight to the child of one of his jailers. So, it seems to me that St. Valentine would approve of including nonprofit organizations among those we love.
We love them for their amazing work, every day and in every way. They make the world a better place in our local communities and across the world.
So, let’s add our favorite nonprofit to the St. Valentine’s tradition. But before I share my ideas, this is my favorite Valentine’s story.
School-age memories often run deep. For me, one such memory from elementary school came on February 14. Eleven years old, I was excited about the upcoming Father-Daughter Valentine’s Day Banquet and reading the cards stuffed in my artfully made Valentine’s box sitting on the windowsill in my fifth-grade classroom.
It was probably my first reckoning with the complicated matters of the heart. I went to school expecting a great day, and then it hit me.
By mid-morning, I was ill with a fever and, to my great disappointment, sent home. As soon as I was in the car with my mom, I asked if dad and I would still be going to the banquet. Near tears, clutching my box of unread Valentine’s cards, I heard the answer I already expected – “I’m sorry, honey, not this year.”
I crawled into bed with the carefully decorated box held close, still unopened.
Blessed with a creative mother who would not let her daughter miss such an important event, she got busy.
After satisfying herself that the fever was down, my mother woke me from a long afternoon nap and escorted me to our dining room, where a Valentine-themed dinner table was set for two, and my dad was waiting for me. I could not have imagined such a wonderful dinner. I do not remember one thing about what we ate. But all the moments leading up to it are crystal clear.
Valentine’s Day turned out more special than I could imagine. Dinner with just me and dad was unexpected, and today remains a fond memory of being loved.
Now it’s your turn. Lovers of Valentine’s Day, do something unexpected for your favorite nonprofit.
How to Say I Love You to a Nonprofit
- If you volunteer, take an extra shift or stay longer than expected
- If you’re a monthly donor, give a little more this month
- If you’re a year-end giver, give this month and again at the end of the year
- Buy a box of kid Valentine cards and send a Valentine’s thank you to the Executive Director, the program director, or maybe all the staff
- Give your fellow volunteers a Valentine’s thank you
- Be bold and creative, but do it your way
Remember how St. Valentine restored sight to the blind child? I’m sure that came as quite a surprise to the child and her dad.
Every donor can do the unexpected and can find creative ways to give.
Donations – large or small, thank yous and unexpected kindnesses will make Valentine’s Day fun, joyful and memorable. Don’t be bashful. Buy a box of kid Valentine cards and get started.
What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day story? How did you share a little Valentine’s love for your favorite charity?
Like it? Use it. Share it. Comment below.