Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

You, Standing out in a crowd

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

8469849-standing-out-of-the-crowd-concept-with-individual-successful-goldfishPhoto source

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, sharing the love

In Donors, national philanthropy day, thank you, Uncategorized, Volunteers on November 12, 2014 at 10:42 am

Can YOU feel it in the air? It’s almost time….time to share the love with your organizations philanthropists!

As we have shared for the past two years, Canada has recognized November 15 as NATIONAL PHILANTHROPY DAY. And we at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia love this day. I don’t use that term all the time, but truly, we do. Here is what happened in 2012 & 2013.

This year is no exception! We have a surprise up our sleeves for some groups, couples and individuals that truly are changing the world with their giving hearts!

YOU can follow along with us tomorrow (Thursday, November 13) as we celebrate YOU on our social media feeds. We will be posting over the next two days to share with you some awesome philanthropists helping Nova Scotians receive support and education as they live the dementia journey.

Twitter: @AlzheimerNS



YOU, the video storyteller

In Communications, Donors, Uncategorized on October 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm
Video Storytelling: the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia’s Annual Report 2013-14

Today, I am hanging out over on a Google Hangout with the lovely folks from Giving Tuesday Canada, YOUTube Canada and the organization Pathways to Education. Why are we all having a Google hangout? Because we are passionate about using storytelling via video to share your organizations story.

Here at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia we have been using videos as a way to communicate with donors, event participants, and partners for a few years. As I will say in today’s Hangout (which will be recorded and available on YOUTube) is that video is a great way to engage your audience, because they get to “meet” the very families, or animals that they help. Maybe they see the building of the new hospital from start to finish, in time lapse. Both scenarios mean they get to see where their contributions go.

What a lovely way to connect with your organizations supporters!

Budget, technology, script writing, producing, finding people to tell their story, all play a factor into the decision to use video. And it’s true, some videos are easier to make than others.

The good news is: if we can do it on the most limiting of budgets, with a disease that is quite isolating and stigmatizing, YOU can too.

Here are some inside tips that I will be sharing today:

Tip # 1 – already posted above: DO use video storytelling as a communication tool!

Tip # 2 – Always ask for permission to contact supporters. Because when YOU need to create a video, YOU will have a group of supporters YOU can ask to help! This group is your storytellers!

Tip #3 – (one from my years of being a Girl Guide member!) Use your resources wisely! We make free videos ALL THE TIME. We download free apps to our phones, like Splice, that allow us to edit, add text, etc, then we post it to our YOUtube channel – another free resource!

Tip # 4 – Learn how to embed your videos into your blog posts, or e-newsletters and watch not only the number of views but also any comments, making sure YOU answer them.

Responding to comments on your videos and responding is the most traditional way of engagement, brought to YOU by a new media format.

Good luck! And please view our video above, which was created by a professional videographer that we hired. If YOU have any questions about video storytelling at your non-profit, ask us! We’d love to help YOU!

YOU, Recognizing the “Special” in Special Events

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Race Day Thank You Photo with text

I’m writing today’s blog post with mixed emotions. I’m breathing a little easier this week as my big event, the Alzheimer Duck Derby is over. Yes, I’m a little relieved but it’s also bittersweet. There is so much build up to the day of the event and then all of a sudden the months of planning, organizing, and promoting is done.

I’m happy to say we had a great day on the Halifax waterfront with sunny skies and 24 degree weather. Thank YOU, Mother Nature!

I have been coordinating the Duck Derby for six years, and I learn something new every year. If you’re an event planner, YOU know having a successful fundraising event takes time, hard work and a great team. Anyone can put on a special event but not everyone can make it special.

It’s easy to measure your success by the financial goals that YOU or your board set. It’s so important that YOU reach these goals, especially in not for profits. However, there are important parts of events that can’t be measured in numbers.

I’d like to challenge YOU, when you’re evaluating your next event to look for other ways to measure success. What was the overall feeling of the event? Did YOU create an atmosphere for attendees and donors that will make them want to come back next year?

At the Alzheimer Duck Derby we did!

I talked to one person after the duck race and she said the best part of the event was the good feeling she had when she stood on the boardwalk with hundreds of others watching the ducks make their way down the Harbour. She said as she looked around, she felt a real sense of community and happy to be making a difference for families living with dementia. If YOU are successful in making people feel good, YOU know you’re doing something right.

The Alzheimer Duck Derby sponsors each had their own role to play the day of the event.  Be sure to keep them engaged and if they’re talking about plans for next year, give yourself a pat on the back because YOU know they’re happy about coming back. Keep maintaining those meaningful relationships with your sponsors because they’re so important!

Keep and eye and ear out for new opportunities. A local company was so impressed by what they saw at our Duck Derby that they asked if they could become a sponsor next year! That’s awesome! A word of advice, YOU never know who is watching, so always be looking for these opportunities.

Our rubber racer ducks are packed and we’re wrapping up the Duck Derby for another year, but we still have a lot of people to thank. So, a BIG thank YOU to our sponsors, community partners, sales teams, volunteers, spouses and partners, families, Alzheimer Society staff and everyone who adopted a duck for the Alzheimer Duck Derby and helped us create something special. Together we raised funds for Nova Scotians living with dementia in our communities!

I’m going to be stepping away from the blog for a few months as I change my role at the Society, but don’t worry, I’ll be back! I’m moving, and thankfully I have the opportunity to continue my Fund Development work from my hometown in Antigonish County.  I’m also excited to be on the ground promoting the programs and services we offer and helping others learn more about dementia and the ways that the Society can help.


YOU the fundraiser supporting philanthropy

In Donors, Fundraising, Uncategorized on September 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm

There has been much written about the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS.

I’ve read tweets of support, Facebook posts with negative reactions and have heard rumours of charities trying to “hijack” the fad and/or dismiss it totally.

So as a non-fundraiser for ALS, where do YOU stand?

At the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, we stand with all the participants who are dunking ice water over themselves and/or donating to support ALS. Why? Because we need to support each other in this industry.

As Dan Pallotta recently tweeted, “…non-profit organizations aren’t competing with each other, they are competing with large companies.”

And it’s true. We all have our missions to help those in need; whether that is feeding the hungry, medical supplies for the ill, or shelter for animals – all are worthy causes.

There is no need for us to compete. There is a need for us to cheer each other on when something good happens to the others. Such is the case with the #IceBucketChallenge. A passionate person, with the disease inspired the challenge. It wasn’t an event ALS put on, or a campaign. It truly was grassroots.

And guess what? It is no different than the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign YOU or I put on. So why are fundraisers upset about it? Because it wasn’t done for YOU? That’s a big mistake.

Here at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia we have started to notice that online donations are coming in with a donor message included: “I was challenged to do the ice bucket challenge and I am donating to ALS and to the Alzheimer Society.” What a lovely thing for a donor to do! The spirit of philanthropy alive and well.

My, yours, our job is not to condemn others, but to help them. Donors, or clients. Some may want to do the challenge for YOU and your organization! So tip of the day: don’t be jealous, check your donor’s messages and make sure YOU thank them for doing the #IceBucketChallenge!

(Want to see our #IceBucketChallenge? View it on our YouTube Channel!)

YOU, and social media relations

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm


Social media serves a different purpose for all individuals. Some may use the medium to articulate the meticulous details of their lunch while some use these forums for professional purposes. Whatever your motive may be, there is no denying the usefulness of social media. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, WordPress – the list is endless. One thing that all users of any social media site can benefit from is the communication between the user and the public.

Non-profits should be using their social media forums to communicate with the public on a broad spectrum. Do not limit your posts to event dates and constant reminders of upcoming promotions, rather work on an inter-communicative dialogue. Converse your followers, reach out to those YOU follow and allow those relationships to grow. Non-profit organizations work to nurture and maintain strong relationships with donors, but who’s to say that YOU can’t do the same with your online following? Social mediums generate an overall integrated experience for the organization and its public.

Communicate frequently but wisely.

Become a consistent presence on your social medium. Interact with the public and stakeholders on issues that matter to YOU both. The more people YOU follow with similar interests increases the likelihood of a long-lasting relationship and overall garners positive interaction.

Take a closer look at those who consistently interact with YOU online. What is it that stems this interaction? Paying attention to your followers’ preferences allows for an open dialogue. When YOU and your followers share similar interests, it allows for a relationship to blossom.

The benefits of establishing online relations surpasses the benefit of garnering relationships. These people that YOU are now linked to online are able to utilize the medium of communication to their followers, increasing your viewership.

Overall, social media should not solely act as a means of promotion for non-profits but as a means of creating long lasting connections with people sharing similar interests. Keep your public informed, interact frequently, and pay close attention to trends.

YOU, Keeping Your Sales Teams Engaged

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm

BMO Metro managers

YOU might be wondering why we’re focusing on sales teams in our blog post today. In fundraising, charities often rely on the support of volunteers and corporations to help them reach their fundraising goals.  I think it’s important that today I mention the many volunteer and sponsor sales teams that help make the Alzheimer Duck Derby a success.

We call them sales teams because they help adopt ducks all summer long leading up to the Alzheimer Duck Derby on Sunday, September 21. This year, we have 40 sales teams all over Nova Scotia. As the Coordinator of the Duck Derby, I have the privilege to talk with them, keep them engaged and thank them for everything they do.

Not only do our sales teams help us reach our fundraising goals, they help raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and educate Nova Scotians about the ways the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia helps  families living the dementia journey.

How do YOU keep sales teams engaged?

  • Set them up with the tools they need to succeed.
  • Make it fun! YOU can create a friendly sales competition between the teams and offer a prize to the top sales team.
  • Communicate with them regularly. Every two weeks send out fundraising tips, motivational messages, pictures, videos etc.
  • Do a half way check-in and call each sales team leader. Calling is much more personal than sending off an email.
  • Send them a fun video like this
  • Thank them! They are donating their time and raising important funds for your cause.

Do YOU have some tips YOU can share about keeping your sales volunteers engaged? Leave a comment below.

If YOU are interested in selling ducks this summer for the Alzheimer Duck Derby, please contact Beth Jackson at 902 422-7961 or email Or, YOU can adopt your duck and be entered to win great prizes here.

YOU, the bridge player and supporter

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm


Recently, Beth wrote a piece titled YOU, and the longest day of the year, detailing the Longest Day, a fundraising event organized by the Alzheimer’s Association. The event was held on Saturday, June 21st, the first day of summer, and a long and fun day it was.

With four bridge clubs participating in Nova Scotia, and YOU, the people that came out to support The Longest Day, over $3,000 was raised for families living with Dementia.

Kathie Macnab, a supporter of the Alzheimer Society and owner of the Bridge Studio in Halifax contributed as host of the event. Over the course of the day, the Bridge Studio sat over 83 tables, or approximately 330 bridge players. The day started briskly at 6:30 am with a turnout of 22 players, out of which 15 came in pyjamas. The biggest game of the day consisted of 15 tables, totalling 60 players. The day running from 6:30am-10:30pm was an overall success!

Not only did people participate in a game, but supporters like Nancy Fraser and Sheena Mackenzie, from the Bridge Studio, contributed to the long day with food to keep the players nourished and helping them keep a sharp mind during the game.

With the support of Kathie Macnab and YOU the players, over $2,000 was raised for the Alzheimer Society just at the Bridge Studio. The raised money will go through the Canada Bridge Federation Charitable Foundation to Alzheimer Society Canada which will then be distributed throughout the individual provinces.

Kathie hopes to make this event even bigger and better next year. Thanks to Kathie, all of the other organizations, and YOU for making The Longest Day a success.


YOU, Increasing Fan Engagement on Your Facebook Page

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm

facebook stock imagePhoto source

I’d like to start off today’s post by introducing myself. My name is Michele Charlton, and I am the Manager of Communications at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.
As a new writer to this blog, I hope to share what I’ve learned working here for the past seven years.

When I was thinking about what to write for my first post, I thought a great place to start would be social media – specifically how to increase your fan engagement on your Facebook page.

It’s a complicated problem. Facebook’s organic reach is declining, and it’s becoming more difficult to engage fans when posts are not seen by a large number of people. On the other hand, you can’t increase reach without engaging people.

But fear not! There’s help out there. I’ve found some tips on social media expert Amy Porterfield’s blog to help YOU optimize your engagement on Facebook.

  • Understand How Facebook Engagement Really Works
    There are four main areas that Facebook monitors: likes, comments, shares and clicks on links. If one of these four things isn’t happening, it looks like your audience isn’t interested and your posts won’t appear in the newsfeed.
  • Guarantee Your Fans Will See Your Promotional Posts
    Make sure your day to day posts create action (by increasing the number of shares, likes, comments and links clicked). This will help your promotional posts get more reach and show up more often in the newsfeed.
  • Craft “Action-Worthy” Facebook Posts

    1. Draw your audience in by combining a great status update with a fantastic image
    2. Ask questions that will help you better understand what your audience wants
    3. Use images that tells your fans instantly what the post is all about.

The bottom line: Think of Facebook as an investment. It may take a little bit to get there, but the time and effort you put into it will pay off in the long run!

If you’d like to read more of Amy’s tips about engagement, you can find the full article here.

Happy posting!

YOU, finding growth in a new environment

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm


Photo Source

Two years and half a semester of school later, and here I am, at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia (ASNS) starting my first co-op term. As a first time “intern” and student in the field of public relations, it appears a little intimidating entering a field wholly immersed in the world of fundraising. Personally, I find the prospects of event planning and raising money vastly intimidating in comparison to any other field of PR.

Why? Because this involves CREATIVITY and grave pressure to reach budgeted goals.

From my very short time I’ve spent here at ASNS, I can already tell that the amount of work that goes into raising money for a cause is abundant. Jobs in general are demanding, however, organizations like ASNS rely solely on the support of individuals and the community as a whole. To raise the funds needed, the team needs to get creative and continuously come up with new ways to connect with donors.

As a co-op student, I bring with me a set of skills fresh from the classroom, yet there is so much to be learned from a hands-on environment. Despite the various mock press releases written, marketing plans made, or crisis communication plans dissected, nothing will ever compare to the set of skills acquired from a real on the job experience.

Being the temporary ‘newbie’, there are many things I hope to take from this experience:

1) Event planning – The organization and discipline it takes to plan an event, such as the Alzheimer Duck Derby
2) Design – How to create content tailored to attract a particular audience
3) Writing – Creating content to keep varied audiences involved

And last, but not least:

4) Collaboration – How to work collaboratively with others in order to reach a common goal

I’m fortunate enough to be presented with the opportunity to immerse myself into the minute details of numerous tasks. This not only allows me to put my skills to use but to find growth in my abilities and learn. When finding yourself in a new setting, the most important thing YOU can do, is be willing to learn. Ask questions but most importantly, listen.

It’s a new environment, occupied by individuals experienced in their field and if I only take one thing away, I’m sure it will be of value.