Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

You, Standing out in a crowd

In Communications, Public Relations, Relationship Building, Uncategorized on November 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm

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In an often crowded not-for-profit market, it can be difficult to make your organization stand out. It’s definitely something we are always working on at the Society. We want to make sure that people know who the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia is and what we do.

So, how do we do that? Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

  • Plan ahead: Take some time to map out the year ahead, month by month. This will help you decide if there something specific you want to focus on each month. It’s amazing to see how often you can leverage something that is already happening to make sure your organization’s message gets out there.Here’s an example of how the Society does this:
Month Focus Angle
December Holiday season Tips for gifts/caregiving/ visiting someone with dementia
March Brain Awareness Week Better brain health/risk factors for dementia
June Father’s day Profiling the men in our lives

As great as planning ahead is, you still need to make sure you are flexible. Even though you have mapped out the year, something will likely come up at the last minute, and you need to be ready to respond.

  • Be active and engaging on social media:
    I can’t emphasize this one enough. Being part of the conversation on social media is a great way to talk about who your organization is and what you do. But, simply just posting isn’t enough – you need to make sure you are engaging your audience. For some social media tricks on how to best engage your audience – check out one of our previous blog posts here.
  • Get out there:
    Make sure you take every opportunity available to get in front of a crowd to talk about your organization. If you’re doing a media interview, an education session or speaking at one of your organization’s event – make sure you always bring it back to the overall message of who you are and how you can help.
  • Change it up:
    Don’t be afraid of change. By switching it up every now and then, you can start to create a buzz about your organization. We change it up every year with National Philanthropy Day, and it has definitely made people take notice of what we are doing.

These are just a few tips, but we’d love to hear from you. Do YOU have some tips YOU can share about making sure your organization stands out? Leave a comment below.

YOU, and the chaos around YOU

In moving, organizing, Public Relations, Special Events on October 21, 2014 at 2:40 pm

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We have all been challenged to work through difficult times in our lives. No matter what happens, usually YOU have to come to work and get through your day and do your work to the best of your ability. But what if that difficulty is coming from within your office? I’m talking about the dreaded Office Move.

Our office has been undergoing some changes lately and people are switching and moving and relocating offices. It is an extremely exciting time, but if YOU like to be super organized like I do, it can be extremely stressful.

How can you trudge through your work day when everything around YOU is utter chaos? Well hopefully, like us, YOU have a great Office Manager, who keeps a tight grip on all the shifting. But what else can YOU do to make it easier? I’m learning this as I go, as I have never had to switch office space before while still working. Here is what I have learned so far.

  1. Label everything. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t think, “oh, they know that’s mine, I don’t need to label it.” No, do it anyway.
  2. Inventory everything YOU have that YOU want to bring to the new office space on a master list. This list become essential to your sanity as YOU set up your new space. A reference tool that YOU will refer to countless times as you unpack and set up in your new space.
  3. Take any unnecessary items home. Any photos or accessories that YOU added to your space to make it homier, should be taken home and put aside until the new space is all organized. YOU do this for two reasons: these items might get misplaced or broken in transition, or the items may not fit in your new space.
  4. If YOU are like me and squatting in a temporary space until our new area is ready, YOU will want to pack away all items that are not immediately necessary to your day-to-day work. These things will only cause confusion and clutter in your temporary space.

Moving has been proven to be one of the most stressful things that people go through. So let’s do everything we can to alleviate that stress. We still have work to do and cannot afford to spend an hour looking for a file we need.

I have written about being organized before. It is something I am truly passionate about. It helps me maintain focus and manage time. So hopefully these tips will give YOU some focus during your next office move.

You, fundraising through music

In Donors, Fundraising, Public Relations, Special Events, Third Party on September 16, 2014 at 2:22 pm

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A few weeks ago I was contacted by an enthusiastic woman on an event planning mission. She did not beat around the bush, she was efficient and calculated, knowing exactly what she wanted. Would we (the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia) mind if her band raised money in support of Nova Scotians living with dementia? Well, of course we didn’t mind. We are always enthusiastic when someone wants to help us. The best part of my job is when someone becomes inspired, on their own, and feels so passionate about our cause that they take it upon themselves to raise money on our behalf. I find this to be extremely inspirational and it never ceases to impress me that people are this generous.

Claire Comeau is part of a collection of musicians from Meteghan who come together once or twice a year to put on a show for the community. Each year they pick a charity or two that resonates with them. This year, we were lucky enough to make the cut. When asked why they chose to support us, Comeau answered, “We chose you because some of our parents have had the disease. We are aware that you are there and provide precious help to persons and families afflicted with the disease.”

The band has been performing since approximately 2007. Gerald Theriault is the “mastermind” behind the concerts. Theriault contemplates what the public would like to hear, then makes a decision on what music the band will focus on, and then he recruits the musicians. It is important that the group perform something that is appealing to the public to make them want to buy a ticket and help the fundraiser. This year, the band did and homage to the Bee Gees but in past years they have done: The Beatles, a 60’s Tribute, a 70’s Tribute, The British Invasion I, and The British Invasion II. It will be very interesting to see what they choose to do next.

I want to take a moment to send a special thank you to the talented and generous musicians from the Acadian shore who planned a tremendously successful fundraising event. The following are the musicians who participated in the show:  Gerald Theriault, Brian Amirault, Lloyd Doucet, Don Saulnier, Avery d’Entremont, Simon LeBlanc, Rose Madden, Jennifer McIntosh, Justine Boulianne, Patrice Boulianne, and Claire Comeau.

If YOU are interested in hosting an event in support of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia please contact Dawn Boudrot at: dawn.boudrot@asns.ca or call 902-422-7961 ext. 258.

 

YOU, Saying Thank You

In Communications, Donors, Fundraising, national philanthropy day, Public Relations, Relationship Building, thank you, Third Party on August 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm

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We have blogged about this before. This is not a new concept. Saying thank you is one of the most basic concepts of fundraising. It should be innate to all of us. And while sending thank you cards and letters and including a thank you in every email response is a great habit, what about going further than that.

We have mastered the standard thank you. I worry that it gets lost sometimes. Are the standard thank yous in my emails getting noticed? Are people getting immune to them?

Our Philanthropy Department has been promoting the idea of an “outside the box” thank you for a long time, especially since we started participating in National Philanthropy Day. This is an amazing opportunity to explore if YOU are looking for a cool, new way to say thank you to your supporters. So now that the trend is set in our office and the bar is high. How do you thank someone in a memorable way?

I had an opportunity last night to do one of my most favourite thank yous of all. This thank you isn’t new for us, we have been doing it this way for a few years, but it is so well received and appreciated, that we just can’t mess with it now.

Every January we run a campaign called Forget Me Not Week. This campaign goes out to all universities and colleges in the province as a way to engage the younger generation. The schools compete against each other to raise money and whoever raises the most gets a prize. The prize is our way of saying thank you. For the past decade or so, the winner of the campaign has been the Acadia Axemen football team. They are extremely dedicated to our cause and have carved out a niche for themselves in their community. The team and coaches work extremely hard to win this challenge and it is important to us to do something meaningful for them, after all, we want them to stay engaged.

Working with the coaching staff we help develop a team bonding experience during their preseason training. This is an important time for them to gel as a team, and so giving them an experience that allows them to spend time together off the field is important. This is also a time where they are working extremely hard and don’t have a lot of extra energy to give. As a result we set something up that is relaxing; a private screening of a movie of their choosing.

It is amazing to see how appreciative and thankful the team is to have to this luxury. As students, they appreciate the free entertainment, and as a team they appreciate the opportunity to get to know each other and the coaches.

This also becomes an opportunity for us to say thank you directly to them while they are all together, and explain why what they do is so important to the people of the province.

We could send a hand written card to say thank you that gets tacked up on some bulletin board in the locker room (which we do). But this opportunity gives me face time with the team, gives the coaches a chance to accept a plaque in front of the team and helps me strengthen my relationship with the team. There is nothing like talking to someone in person to fortify a relationship.

It might not be the most outside the box thank you we could ever dream up, but here are some important things to remember: we did something that fit their schedule, we did something that fit their agenda, we did something they enjoy and we got that all-important face time. A true “thank you” success.

YOU, what it takes to be BOLD

In Communications, Fundraising, Public Relations on July 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm

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At the beginning of the year my Director assembled our department and announced that this year our guiding theme would be “Be Bold”. At first I assumed I knew what this meant, I can do that, piece of cake. I mean it was obvious, wasn’t it? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to think big, create waves and stir things up.

I soon came to realize that being BOLD was easier said than done. It seems that being BOLD in your personal/social life is achievable with little effort or fore-thought, but being BOLD at work requires a type of inhibition that seems unnatural.

We are conditioned to watch ourselves at work. To be politic. To be reserved and calculated. To make decisions based on fact and research, not feeling and emotion. For me, being BOLD would require me to switch gears and inject more vulnerability into my work. This makes me slightly uncomfortable.

Yesterday, I was called into a brainstorming session. This was my opportunity to step out of my shell; my opportunity to finally be BOLD. Here is what I learned:

  1. Dare to be criticized. It isn’t the end of the world for someone to challenge your idea or opinion. Criticism might have a bit more weight when that idea comes from an emotional place, but YOU have to learn how to detach.
  2. Dare to say that first thing that pops into your mind. It is the thought that immediately and instinctually comes to mind. It is also the thought we often don’t share because we have not had time to think it through and refine it. Share it anyway. Even if it isn’t the answer, it could lead to something productive.
  3. Dare to be cliché. YOU might not use the cliché, but then again, it could be the jumping off point for a bigger and better idea.
  4. Dare to be dramatic. Voice that crazy idea, then bring it down to something manageable. The idea might be way over budget; it might be totally unrealistic logistically, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t something useable.
  5. Dare to challenge. It is ok to take the opposing view from your colleague. If you do not like the idea, express that opinion (professionally) but also offer an opposing suggestion. The answer could be somewhere in the middle.

The bottom line is that being BOLD isn’t impossible, in fact it is easier for some people more than others. It might take YOU out of your comfort zone, but the rewards will be worth it. Challenge yourself.

If YOU want to start small, try this: next time YOU are in a meeting make the resolution to express one idea that YOU would normally filter.