Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Archive for the ‘Special Events’ Category

YOU, Working with Committees

In committees, Special Events, Volunteers on November 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm


Working with volunteer committees can be both challenging and rewarding. It is important to value the commitment that these individuals have chosen to give, yet it is also just as important to value the skills that they bring to the table.

I have the opportunity to work with two volunteer committees. At first I was trepidatious to demand anything from my committee members as I felt they were already doing so much by attending meetings and responding to correspondence. After all, these are professional people with busy lives, I don’t want to become a burden.

But my mindset has changed over the past two years, and I have learned a lot about the need to engage committee members. The people who choose to spend their free time on your committee, do so because of a passion they have. This passion needs to be fed by the work they do on your committee. Their work needs to be meaningful and committee members need to feel valued and useful.

Here are few things I have learned about keeping committee members engaged:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This could be as simple as asking someone to make a phone call, or perhaps it is needing help setting up an event.
  2. Assign jobs. If one of your committee members is a marketing professional in their professional life, tap into that. Ask them to be your marketing consultant, and focus their commitment primarily on your marketing campaign. This can lead to more responsibility for the committee member, as they can now report on their work at the meetings. They suddenly become more invested in the campaign success.
  3. Give homework. It is ok to assign action items to committee members. These are usually tasks that need to be completed before the next meeting.
  4. Listen to their input. If you are hosting an event, your committee members also become event participants. Try to see the event from their perspective. I can guarantee YOU that participants have a much different perspective than YOU do as the event planner.
  5. Look at the type of help YOU need from your committee and recruit people that can help. Perhaps YOU need someone who is good with numbers to help YOU with your budget, or perhaps YOU want help with social media planning. Look for individuals with experience or expertise in these areas.

Volunteers, in all capacities, are essential members of our organization. Treating them respectfully, ensuring they feel valued and keeping them inspired should always be a priority.

YOU, Remembering what it’s all about

In Relationship Building, Special Events on November 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm

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It’s really easy to become so wrapped up in a project, event, or the everyday tasks of your job that you forget to take a step back and take a look at the big picture. I recently had the opportunity to do just that.

Over the past two days, the Society hosted our 25th Annual Provincial Conference. People come from all over Nova Scotia to attend this conference. Whether they are Doctors, CCAs, RNs, LPNs, family members, friends or partners in care, these are the people on the frontlines who face dementia on a daily basis.

It never fails to impress me how dedicated all these conference participants are to their work. They come ready to spend two days soaking up knowledge that they can take back to their workplace. They want to make sure they have the knowledge they need to provide the best possible care for people living with Dementia.

I’m also amazed by how our staff comes together. Whether it is greeting participants, helping with registration or setting up computers and projectors, we are all ready and willing to help with whatever is needed to help this event run smoothly.

So, what it all comes down to is this – when you have the chance, stop and take it all in. We may all have different roles to play, but at the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to make sure we are doing the best for the people we serve. That’s something we can all be proud of.

YOU, and the chaos around YOU

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


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


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: or call 902-422-7961 ext. 258.


YOU, the award nominated supporter

In Special Events on May 28, 2014 at 10:18 am

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It’s another awesome week here at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia – we have three standing nominations for the Maritime Philanthropy Awards! Handed out by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Nova Scotia Chapter, our nominees will mix and mingle at a dinner tonight.

Our organizations couldn’t exist without the help and support of special community members. They are invaluable. Whether they are fundraising, hosting events or volunteering, we can’t thank them enough.

Our President Chris Wilson feels the same way. “The Alzheimer’s Society of Nova Scotia receives virtually its entire budget every year from events and donations by generous Nova Scotians.  This past year we have been particularly lucky to have been the recipient of generous donations of both monies and time and effort from three very prominent and well respected Nova Scotians.”

On behalf of the Society, Mr. Wilson would like to introduce you to the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia’s nominees:

Outstanding Individual Philanthropist
“Rob Steele very generously agreed to hold our Evening to Remember at his beautiful home in the Halifax area.  His generosity far surpassed anything we could have expected.  Personal sacrifices he made resulted in an evening that will be long remembered by those that were lucky enough to have attended.”

Outstanding Sponsorship Partner
“Over the past years, our Walk for Memories event has become one of our biggest fundraisers.  The society has come to rely on the event to both bring awareness to our cause and also raise much needed funds.  There is no doubt that without the sponsorship support of Shannex and the personal support of Jason Shannon, the event would not be the success that it has become.“

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
“As President of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, I would like to thank Justin McDonough for not only his past service with the Board of Governors for the Society, but also his ongoing passion and dedication to raise much needed funds through his extensive involvement as a co-chair for the Walk for Memories and also through his volunteer efforts to speak with donors in the wider community.  Without Justin it would be hard to imagine the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia achieving the successes it has over the past few years.”

Please join us in congratulating and thanking not only our organizations three nominees, but all the nominees of the Maritime Philanthropy Awards who volunteer and donate to a variety of worthy organizations, to make our communities happier, healthier and well supported.

YOU, the appreciative fundraiser

In Special Events on April 29, 2014 at 3:51 pm


I have a secret.

I know that in fundraising we talk a lot about ROI (Return on Investments) and that special events are, supposedly, not where we should be focusing our energy. Events are time consuming and can be expensive. people say.

But, I…. well you see…I really LOVE putting on events.

There, I’ve said it.

And no, it’s not because I like to throw a big “party,” it’s because events, when done right, can give organizations a good ROE (Return on Engagement).

Walk for Memories has been raising awareness and bringing those living the dementia journey, together, for over two decades. It was eight years ago that the Society determined it would be a special event fundraiser.

Over the past eight years, just like the number of people with dementia have grown in our province, so has the event in participants and funds raised. It remains the largest event we hold each year and one that everyone in the office looks forward to.

Why and How? So glad you asked!

Here are Sarah’s Essential Components of a special event fundraiser
(This does not include media planning or budgets, because I know you are already awesome fundraisers who are careful about partnerships and staying within a budget!)

1. Communication – Are you only communicating with your guests just a few months before or all year long? Our participants are affected by dementia, they are a family member, a friend or a support worker. We invite them all year long to participate in the programs their donations ensure are available to Nova Scotians. And at those programs, we post pictures to the Walk for Memories social media, because we want to let our donors know what we are doing with their money.

2. Connecting Participants to the Mission – So you have all these wonderful, awesome supporters come to the event. Are your program staff their to answer questions, provide information, meet the donors who make all of it happen? When I became the coordinator of Walk for Memories the first thing I did was try to rectify two divides I found with our events: On-site mission promotion and the emotional connection of participants.
Onsite mission promotion: at our Walk for Memories, we have a “Brain Fair.” Organized by the Programs and Services staff, they find partners to work seven booths of activities that focus on the seven ways we can all make our brain healthier at any age (Being socially, mentally active, physically active, eating healthy foods, being stress free, paying attention to our medical health and being wise about keeping our heads safe. See how even in a blog post about events you can incorporate mission promotion!)  Event participants can go to as many of the booths as they want and leave with a takeaway. We include one booth that I just around dementia and the programs and services that donors make possible.
Emotionally Connecting participants: Before coming to work at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, I had just completed participating in a special event that gave me an opportunity to single out the person I was there to honour. We didn’t have anything like that at our event, which was outside and included walking on a pathway. We created “Memory Lane” which gave participants a chance to pass in artwork, or a picture, of the person they were walking for before the event. We stapled them to pickets and that is what lined the pathway towards the end of the 5km. We have grown over time and moved locations, but Memory Lane remains as a reminder of why we all gather (and in 2014, it is going to look very cool. Stay tuned for the wrap up post!)

3. Appreciation – Just like talking to your participants all year round, how are you showing your appreciation and thus (hopefully) stewarding them? At the event we have a photo booth, and the very next day after the Walk, each persons photo arrives in their mailbox with a thank you. For our Top Teams, we present them frames at the event, for their team picture, with a little write up placed in it. Family teams aren’t likely to want a plaque I think, so photo frames that come with an insert to write a message is an affordable way for any organization to show their appreciation.
We also have a certain pledge level that anyone who reaches (or exceeds) is recognized at the event as a Pledge SuperStar. They wear something different from the rest of the crowd. This could be a different coloured t-shirt (we don’t do t-shirts every year) or a lanyard, or this year a For-Get-Me not pin!

There is so much more I want to tell you about Special Event Fundraising! But I will leave you with this: after six years as the coordinator of the event, a new coordinator will be in the lead of this years Walk for Memories. I have all the confidence in her (I hired her!) but letting go has been a hard transition. The event participants, who share their personal stories to raise donations, are very special to me. They support everything we do. They have made me bookmarks and let me into their world to create videos and campaigns to promote the event. They buy ducks during our other special event and become Ambassadors on social media.

We are so appreciative for all that they do and we hope to make each special event about celebrating all that THEY do to help Nova Scotian families living the dementia journey.

(If you want to talk more about special events, leave a comment. I could go one for another 1000 words!)