Last year, a couple of days before Valentine's Day, Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer for Acumen Fund launched an effort to completely change the nature the 14th of February. He and his friend Katya Andresen, of Network for Good, came up with the idea of turning Valentine's Day into Generosity Day. As Dichter stated, "We wanted to reconnect (the day) to the core ideas of love and human connection."
Sasha says it started as an idea with him when he decided to spend the month of December saying "yes" to everyone who asked him for money -- a homeless person, a street musician, a nonprofit. Soon he posted on his blog that "I want all my readers to hear first. This Monday (Valentine's Day in 2011), is going to be rebooted as Generosity Day: one day of sharing love with everyone, of being generous to everyone, to see how it feels and to practice saying "Yes." Let's make the day about love, action and human connection -- because we can do better than smarmy greeting cards, overpriced roses, and stressed-out couples trying to create romantic meals on the fly."
The results were heartening. "We reached a few million people last year through blogs, Facebook, Twitter. Our hunch was spot on: People are hungering for something more in their lives -- more connection and more meaning", said Dichter.
What are you doing for Generosity Day? Have you thanked your donors, staff, friends? Have you thought about the transformative nature of gratitude? Are you so focused on need -- your need, that you have overlooked the power of reciprocity?
I have included two videos below. One describes the concept behind Generosity Day, the other was created by the Jubilee Project and poses the question "What is love?" to a variety of people met on the street. (The Jubilee Project was born out of the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and creates videos for good causes.)
Give it a try. Let's reclaim Valentine's Day.