Charities tap into Valentine's fever

Katherine Demopoulos

Love letters are the order of the day for charities capitalising on St Valentine's Day this year.

In its £1m appeal to fund 30 cardiac nurses, the British Heart Foundation is requesting £1 to post a love note in its shop windows, while asking: "Could you nurse your loved one through heart disease alone?"

The Royal London Society for the Blind is encouraging office workers at 500 companies to send colleagues love messages for a £1 donation, while the RNID is using eBay to auction cards signed by 80 celebrities including Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.

A Valentine's Day PR campaign from the Alzheimer's Society is somewhat more poignant. The charity has published a booklet of eight true personal accounts of couples whose love has survived even dementia. Love is Forever will be released to appropriate media including daytime TV and "warm news shows" such as Channel 4's Richard and Judy, a spokeswoman said. "It's not hard- hitting, but we really wanted to give a good news, feel-good story."

But campaigns are generally few and far between as links to Valentine's Day are often tenuous, said Belinda Neal, client services director at direct marketing agency Crazy Horse. "I can think of many reasons not to do it," she said. "If you grab the attention of a potential donor with marketing that looks like a Valentine's card, you've probably lost them by the time they realise it's not the real thing."

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