Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ 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, 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, Being inspired by those who give back

In Volunteers on October 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm

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Over the past couple weeks, I had the opportunity to attend two different events that I found truly inspiring.

The first event was the Dalhousie Volunteer Fair. This is an annual event for students to learn more about the different volunteer opportunities available to them. I went to the fair as a representative of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, with the goal of recruiting volunteers to help out in a few different areas. I was blown away by how many students took time out of their schedule to attend the fair, and who were interested in becoming a volunteer with at least one of the many organizations who were represented there – many signed up on the spot! With everything else these students have going on, they still really want to give back.

The second event I attended was Timeraiser. This event has a really interesting concept. Artists donate pieces of art, and participants can bid on the artwork with volunteer hours. The winning bidder has a year to complete their volunteer hours. Once they have completed their volunteer commitment, then they can collect their artwork. I went to Timeraiser as a participant, and had the opportunity to see all the great artwork, and check out the organizations who were represented there. Once again, the amount of people in attendance who were willing to donate their valuable time to many different worthy causes was truly inspiring. From marketing to writing and graphic design – there was no shortage of talent being offered to the organizations there.

As someone who works with volunteers on a regular basis, it was thrilling to see just how many people are out there who are willing to donate their time to organizations like ours. It was a group of volunteers who started the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, and it is volunteers who continue to help Nova Scotians living with dementia. From our office volunteers, to support group facilitators, to our board and committee members, we couldn’t do what we do without a dedicated group of volunteers.

So to those of you who so generously donate your time, THANK YOU! You are truly making a difference in your community.

YOU, working with volunteers

In Volunteers on August 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm

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Like most not-for-profit organizations, the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia relies heavily on our many dedicated volunteers. Because they so generously donate their time to our cause, we are able to provide support to Nova Scotians living with dementia.

Since they are so critical to our success, we want to make sure our volunteers are having a great experience working with us. A couple months ago we decided to take the opportunity to review our existing volunteer program and see where we could make improvements.

The review was definitely eye opening, and we saw many areas where changes could be made to make our program better. The next step was to create a volunteer engagement plan, and pilot a few key areas.

1. Working with volunteers.
In the past, the main contact for our volunteers was the Coordinator of Volunteer Resources (me). Volunteers would come directly to me when they arrived in the office, and I would show them what they would be working on. As a result, there was not much contact between the rest of the staff members and our volunteers.

When we reviewed this, it made more sense to give all of the staff the opportunity to work with our volunteers. Now, when volunteers are needed they are still booked through me, but on the day they arrive, the staff member they are working with will greet them, show them their task for the day and check in on them regularly. This provides a great way for staff and volunteers to connect on a more regular basis.

2. Getting to know one another.
It is not unusual to have staff members, volunteers, co-op students and visitors in the office all at the same time, which can lead to some confusion about who is who. Our solution was to make staff and volunteers easy to locate and identify. We created name tags for our volunteers to wear, and staff have their name and title posted outside their office door.

3. Celebrating all the work volunteers do.
When volunteers arrive for their shift, we ask them to sign in, and write down what they’ll be working on. We do this so we can share with board members, stakeholders and potential funders just how much time volunteers donate to the Society. This number speaks volumes about how dedicated our volunteers are to our cause.

We are still in the early stages of piloting these key areas, but so far it seems to be going well. Our staff members and volunteers seem to enjoy getting to know each other better, and it has led to a more efficient and effective volunteer program with happier volunteers. Our next step will be to roll out additional areas from our volunteer engagement plan.