Most people don’t know the real history of St.Valentine’s day. At a time when an oppressive ruler prohibited marriage St.Valentine would wed couples in secret. It was a daring action that put the needs of those he served ahead of his own welfare. He recognized the human need for long term satisfying relationships based on love, and he did something about it. But today, in our fast paced world of instant gratification many people can’t tell the difference between a love and a crush. For me the difference is simple: substantive versus superficial, and like St. Valentine, worth taking daring action to protect. It lead me to think about how we treat all of our relationships including our business relationships. Are we striving for love or settling for a crush? Let’s look more closely at the differences.

A crush is...

  • Short term
  • Usually based on physical attraction
  • Often characterized by unrealistic expectations of blissful passion
  • Characterized by a lack of trust, lack of loyalty, lack of commitment, lack of reciprocity, and possibly manipulation

Love is...

  • Long lasting
  • A dynamic process
  • A feeling that can bring out the best in people
  • A relationship can define a person’s life
  • Reciprocal

In some cases we learn a great deal about love by first experiencing a crush. It teaches us about what we want and don’t want; who we are and how we treat people. These same relationship patterns can be spotted in business as well. In the beginning if you treat your volunteers like royalty, they are always there on time and represent your organization well. So you thank them and encourage them to volunteer more often. You tell them how valuable their contribution is to the team… but then things start to shift. You speak more sharply. You take them for granted. You may even use emotional manipulation to modify their behavior until they show up less frequently, and finally not at all. The relationship is over.

At InspireHUB we aren’t looking for crushes and we don’t want you to settle for them either. We are looking to make good friends who want to be around for the long haul. We also want you to be able to have long term love experiences with your supporters. If this is what you want for your organization, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you asking for a donation before the relationship is ready?
  2. Are you offering anything to your audience in return that will enhance their lives?
  3. Do you know and care about what matters most to your clients?
  4. Are you using manipulation to get them to take action?

On February 14, like every other day of the year, you deserve the best and so do your constituents. You deserve to have long term relationships based on genuine engagement, so don’t accept ‘crushing’ behavior from yourselves. Like Cupid’s arrow, aim for what really matters.


Topics: engagement, communications, InspireHUB Teachings

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