One of my favorite writers, the 19th-century American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, set an almost impossibly high standard for gift givers. “Rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me.” (Just imagine spending Christmas at the Emerson house!)
But do-gooders – whether they be individuals or companies – should strive to meet Emerson’s standards, both as givers and as receivers.
According to Emerson, “The poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture.”
And what should the do-gooder bring? Her pledge for a better world. No gift is more needed or appreciated!
Here are three ways that socially conscious companies gave a portion of themselves for Valentine’s Day.
BUILD-A-BEAR ASKS CUSTOMERS TO SHARE THEIR HEARTS FOR MAKE-A-WISH
From January 9 through March 31, 2015, Build-A-Bear Workshop stores around the world are inviting customers to Share Your Heart and Donate to Make-A-Wish by giving $1 at checkout in-store or online, with a minimum guaranteed contribution of $250,000. Last year, Build-A-Bear raised over $440,000 for Make-A-Wish.
A key component of every Build-A-Bear fundraiser is an in-store or social media program that asks customers to communicate directly with the constituents of the charity. For example, when the chain organized a fundraiser for the USO last year, Build-A-Bear encouraged customers to use the hashtag #babwUSOthanks to thank members of the armed forces for their service.
For February’s program with Make-A-Wish, customers can sign a valentine greeting for a child that’s fighting a serious medical condition. As Tanya Coventry-Strader, Managing Director of Bear Marketing Communications at Build-A-Bear Workshop explained on a recent episode of CauseTalk Radio, “By asking customers to sign a card that will go to a child in the hospital, Build-A-Bear is literally asking customers to “Share Your Heart,” which is the slogan for our campaign. It’s a bear hug that sick children will not soon forget!
FRIENDLY’S ICE CREAM HOSTS 34TH ANNUAL ‘CONE FOR KIDS’ TO BENEFIT EASTER SEALS
Beginning in January and ending on February 13th, customers at Friendly’s Ice Cream gave $1 to Easter Seals in exchange for five Valentine’s Day cards, redeemable for a free Friendly’s kids cones or a coupon booklet with money saving offers.
The fundraiser supports Easter Seals Camp Friendly’s programs, which allows kids with disabilities to be included in regular camp activities like boating and canoeing, swimming, archery, ropes courses, horseback riding, hiking, basketball and fishing.
The program raised over $300,000 in 2014 and an impressive $28.5 million since inception 30+ years ago.
MACY’S PUTS A PIN IN BEATING HEART DISEASE WITH GO RED FOR WOMEN
One company that always steps up for Valentine’s Day is Macy’s. The retailer is a founding national sponsor of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women. February is American Heart Month. Macy’s offered merchandise, promotions and in-store event with the goal of bringing awareness and funds to the cause of women’s heart health. Over the past decade, Macy’s has raised more than $50 million.
Now that’s love!
A staple of the program has been a red dress pin that has been sold thru Valentine’s Day for $2. In exchange for their donation, customers received a 20 percent discount on their purchases. With 100 percent of all pin sales going to Go Red for Women and $2.2 million raised last year alone, you can bet that Valentine’s Day 2015 was a great year for women’s heart health.