Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Posts Tagged ‘Beth J.’

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, building meaningful professional relationships

In Fundraising, Relationship Building on August 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm


Photo source

How many people do YOU connect with in the run of a day? I think that depends on what your profession is. If you’re a fundraiser, there’s a good chance that YOU will be connecting with staff, donors, sponsors and board members all in the same week.

It takes time to develop meaningful working relationships whether it’s inside the office or out.  YOU need to learn about the other person’s work ethic, how they react to situations, how much YOU can trust them and they need to learn all of these things about YOU.

Today’s topic seems like an easy thing and maybe YOU think that your professional relationships are just fine. However, there is always something  YOU can do to improve your professional relationships.

Here are a few things I have learned so far during my career as a professional fundraiser.

1. Be positive. If YOU go in with a positive attitude, YOU can’t lose. Even in difficult situations, having a positive attitude will help YOU identify opportunities and those around YOU will recognize that.

2. Stay true to your word. If YOU promise a donor that you’ll follow-up with them, YOU have to do just that. How else will they learn to trust YOU and your brand?

4. Connect.  It doesn’t always have to be about work! Get to know more about the people you work closely with. Take an interest in a hobby of theirs, ask about their family, send a sympathy card if it’s known they’re going through a difficult time. Tune in!

5. Do something special. In many of our blog posts, we have covered the importance of saying thank you, and saying it in a creative way. If you’re out and about, make a point to go and see some of your sponsors and bring them a coffee to brighten their day.

6. Show that you’re a team player. Take every opportunity YOU have to show that you’re a team player. Volunteer to take on an extra project in your department, or do a favor for a colleague. If those YOU work with know they can count on YOU, this will strengthen your relationship.

These are just a few suggestions but I’d love to hear from YOU! Leave a comment and tell us how YOU build meaningful professional relationships.

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, and the longest day of the year

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

intheloopSPRINGCANADAPOST_final-5New friends are always made across the bridge table!
– Kathie Macnab, The Bridge Studio in Halifax

The longest day of the year is coming up! Yes, June 21 is the first day of summer, also known as the summer solstice.

What will YOU be doing on the longest day of the year? YOU may basking in the sun, but hopefully you’ll be raising awareness and funds for families living with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Longest Day is a major fundraiser organized by the Alzheimer’s Association. From sunrise to sunset, thousands of teams sign up to do an activity they love while raising money for persons living with dementia.

How can YOU get involved? This year, bridge clubs across Nova Scotia are participating in The Longest Day. Each club will hold games throughout the day, bringing the bridge community together to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

This idea was inspired by the American Contract Bridge League who continue to sponsor The Longest Day in the United States because playing games like bridge is good for the brain.

I’m not an expert on bridge, but I know someone who is! Kathie Macnab is a major supporter of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia and teaches classes at the  Bridge Studio in Halifax. Kathie is leading The Longest Day fundraiser at her club on June 21.

“Bridge is a game of logic and there are guidelines to remember, but each hand is a puzzle,” says Kathie.  “Any player can solve the puzzle, but the depth in which you look at the hands will vary from your expertise. Playing bridge simply keeps your mind sharp.”

Along with keeping your mind sharp, bridge players can also enjoy the social aspect of the game, which is another important way to maintain your brain health. So, if YOU are looking for a way to support families living with dementia in your community and challenge your brain, sign up to play bridge at one of these local clubs.

The Bridge Studio in Halifax. Call Kathie at 902 446-3910 for more information.

Truro Duplicate Bridge World. Call Bob at 902 639-1364 for more information.

Halifax Bridge World. Call Linda at 902 454-4098 for more information

Bridge Acadien in Tusket. Call Yves at 902 742-3306

Funds raised in Nova Scotia, stay in Nova Scotia to fund local services, education for families and research.

Thank YOU to all of the local bridge clubs for your dedication and support. YOU are helping those living the dementia journey.

YOU, raising awareness and funds in Cape Breton

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Cb lifestly show

If YOU live in Cape Breton there is an event coming up that may interest YOU! The first ever 50+ Lifestyle Show will be in Cape Breton on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Centre 200 from 10 am-5 pm.

The Lifestyle Show is expected to attract over 1,500 people throughout the day.  At this event, YOU can visit many exhibits and speak with professionals that provide products and services in: assisted living, health and wellness, anti-aging, financial planning and so much more.

The Alzheimer Society’s Education and Outreach Coordinator of Cape Breton, Catherine Shepherd will be at the event to answer any questions YOU may have about dementia, the programs offered in Cape Breton and how YOU can keep your brain healthy.

It’s just $5 to attend and $1 from every entry fee will be donated back to the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.

Thank YOU to Lynn Day of Dayly Events for organizing this event and raising awareness and funds for those living the dementia journey.

To learn more about the event, please visit the website or YOU can like the event page on Facebook

YOU, days after your big event

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm



Photo: The Sydney Walk for Memories Planning Committee pose at the photo booth.

I want to start today’s blog post off with a big thank YOU!

This past Sunday, May 4 was our Walk for Memories event in Halifax and Sydney. Families, persons with dementia, partners in care, and community partners came together to raise awareness and funds for families living dementia.

There are so many people to thank! Thank YOU to our walk participants and donors who helped spread the word and raise funds the past few months. Thank you to our sponsors, Shannex and WestJet.  Thank YOU to the volunteer planning committees and  the many volunteers who helped make the event a success!

Your can check out some of our awesome Walk pictures here.

There are so many elements that go into organizing an event. As an event planner, YOU should know the more YOU get done in advance, the easier it will be on event day. We learn something new every year, and here are some of the things the Department of Philanthropy did to ensure the Walk for Memories was a great experience for all. YOU can use these too at your next big event!

Volunteer Engagement: Could YOU hold a well-organized event without your volunteers? Volunteers help with set up, taking pictures and everything in between. To ensure your volunteers feel appreciated and well-informed to do their job, YOU can offer an orientation session a couple of days before the event. There, YOU can go over the itinerary of the day, let them know what their roles and responsibilities are, and teach them more about your organization by providing an education session for them. This is an excellent way to limit the amount of questions asked the day of and helps them feel engaged.

Post to social media at your event: Do YOU have a hash tag for your event? How do YOU communicate to your followers throughout the day? Why not get a volunteer who knows their way around social media to post during the event. This is a big job but it’s an important one.  Your volunteer should know what to post about including: pictures of set up, activities happening at the event, and important announcements to build excitement throughout the day.

Maximize Opportunities: Finally, everyone is together in one place! Don’t miss your chance to have conversations with your supporters and thank them again and again for their support. Try to delegate the smaller tasks to volunteers and other staff, so YOU have lots of time to connect with your sponsors and event participants.  This is also a great time to get feedback from your participants! Depending on the event, YOU could have copies of evaluations on site, or YOU can send one out electronically, or do both! This will help YOU plan for next year.

YOU know how important the post event wrap up is.  We have written about it before on our blog,  but I want to include it again here.

How do YOU keep organized the day of your event? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Once again, thank YOU to everyone who helped make the 2014 Walk for Memories a success!

YOU, the Athletic Fundraiser

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

The PRO Game

We all love a good game of hockey! We’re Canadian and we can’t help it, eh?  Today’s blog post is about a great group of men who turned their love for hockey into an event to benefit local charities.

This event is called the PRO Game. The PRO Game is a marathon hockey game taking place on May 9 and 10 at the Dartmouth Sportsplex. Over 40 hockey players will hit the ice for 24 hours to have some fun, get some exercise, and most importantly raise money for three local charities.

The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia is honoured to be one of those chosen charities. The PRO Game chose the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia because one of their members lost a family member to Alzheimer’s disease, and they are always looking for new charities to support.

Ken McCormick is one of the players who organizes the PRO Game. He ensures the PRO Game is a success and motivates players to fundraise.

“I send out weekly leader boards listing the players pledge performance from highest to lowest and highlight anyone who made a significant increase in donations that week,” says Ken. “Some of the guys will reply to everyone on the email and set up a fundraising challenge.”

All of the players involved in the event are friends, which makes for a really fun and competitive game. The players train and work hard on their cardio and get on the ice as much as possible in preparation for the big game.

The players are in all different stages of their hockey career. This year,Ken is excited to have 2007 Stanley Cup winner, Joe DiPenta and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice participating in the game. Also included in the star lineup are Roddy MacCormick, Toronto Maple Leafs NHL, Mike Kelly, Philadelphia Flyers NHL, and Steve Widmeyer, Moncton Hawks AHL.

When Ken was asked what he is most looking forward to at this year’s game, he said: “I’m excited to play hockey with my buddies, share some laughs, and help out our community.”

Thank YOU to all of the PRO Game players for your amazing support. To make a donation to the PRO Game players, click here.

YOU, Making St. Patrick’s Day a Successful Fundraiser

In Uncategorized on March 21, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Susan Lane and Joan

Susan Lane, the organizer of the St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser (left) and Joan Parks-Hubley, Coordinator, Education and Outreach, South Shore for the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia (right) address the crowd of supporters.

May the luck of the Irish be with YOU! YOU may have heard this popular saying this past weekend or Monday if YOU celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. In Liverpool,  members of the community and staff at Lane’s Privateer Inn got into the Irish spirit by dressing in green and listening to Irish music during a St. Patrick’s Fundraiser. This event was more than fun and dancing though, it was a way to give back to Nova Scotians living with dementia.

For Susan Lane, the owner of Lane’s Privateer Inn, holding a fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia was very meaningful. Her parents lived with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and she wanted to do something to honour them and raise money for research into finding a cure.

Over 90 people came out to Lane’s Privateer Inn to show their support and help raise money for research. They participated in a silent auction, 50/50 draw and gave $10 at the door. At the end of the night over $3,000 was raised!

“My favourite part about holding the fundraiser was the support we received from the community; it was very inspiring,” says Susan.

A big thank YOU to Susan and everyone who supported the St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser in Liverpool! It’s because of YOU more families living with dementia will receive support as they navigate through the dementia journey.

YOU, Making a Goal to Learn More about Fund Development

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2014 at 11:08 am

Blog post pic

Photo Source

How do YOU keep up with current trends in Fund Development?

Maybe YOU follow this blog because YOU find that we post useful information that helps YOU in your career ( I hope YOU do).

The fact is there are so many things that YOU can and should be doing to learn more about Fund Development best practices. Whether you’re just starting your career, or YOU have years of experience under your belt, it’s important that YOU continue to grow professionally.

Today, I want to share with YOU some great resources my team finds very useful when it comes to learning more about Fund Development.

Twitter.  It’s not only the place for current news, it can be a place to connect with fundraisers around Canada and the world. If YOU need advice, do YOU ask your tweeps for input? YOU should! Maybe there’s a new campaign that’s getting a lot of attention on Twitter. YOU can learn a lot from following the twitter handle (#) and how people are using the handle to communicate with others.

Every Wednesday, fundraisers can participate in a twitter #fundchat. This is something YOU can do on your lunch break. There is a new topic every week and a series of questions are asked around the topic. YOU can just read what others fundraisers are posting but why not join the conversation and offer your input.  YOU can find #fundchat here.

Newsletters & Blogs. There are so many newsletters and blogs around fundraising out there it can be overwhelming Why not start by picking a few of your favourite ones and subscribe? Here are a few of mine: Gail Perry, Event 360, Beth’s Blog, Good WorksAll of these are written by experienced fundraisers and they offer great tips on how YOU can make the most of your next event or campaign.

Webinars. Keep an eye out for free webinars. They are a great way to learn more about a topic YOU are interested in or an area that your organization has no experience in. Often, your favourite fundraisers will occasionally offer free webinars.

YOU need to follow fundraisergrrl`s tumblr. If YOU want to have a good laugh or you`re having a stressful day, take a minute to enjoy some of the best fundraising scenarios that I`m sure YOU can relate  to. Here`s an example. YOU can sign up to follow fundraisergrrl here

Make a goal for yourself to incorporate these  into your work week. The best part of all is that they are all free resources YOU can use. What do YOU do to learn more? Leave a comment and let us know.

YOU, Making Time for a Donor Communications Audit

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Blog post pic

Yesterday afternoon was interesting. My fund development team got together in our boardroom to start something new to us. We started a donor communications audit.

Do YOU know what a donor communications audit is? Not everyone does. Basically, it’s an evaluation of a department or organization’s communication effectiveness.

In this case, my team and I started to evaluate all of the documents we sent out to our donors over the past calendar year. We manage many events and campaigns throughout the year, so as YOU can imagine it was a daunting pile.

The team, led by our Director, started the process off by telling us we are all superheros! We are Coordinators of Appreciation. Pretty cool, right? I might get a shirt made. Every superhero has a secret power and ours is the  ability to make donors who connect with our cause feel appreciated and special.

I think that’s an awesome job.

None of us had completed a donor communications audit before. We owe it to our donors to give them the BEST donor-centric language with tug at the heartstrings stories and interesting communication pieces that are full of thanks that we can write!

With that in mind, we got started. Each of us had a station equipped with a note pad, highlighter, pens, and paperclips. We each took a pile and read through every thank you letter,  newsletter, brochure, tax receipt and appeal letter with our checklist in mind.

Here is the checklist:

  • Circle the word YOU
  • Put a star by any personal stories
  • Highlight  internal/organizational speak
  • Underline facts and figures
  • Put a heart by thank you
  • Put a check mark next to an ask
  • Draw a happy face by good pictures (people’s faces and eyes)
  • Mark and X by bad pictures (an empty podium, backs of a crowd etc.)

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I know we’re all very careful with what we send out to donors but with this new critical eye, I found that some of our documents weren’t very donor-centric at all. My team agreed.

This useful exercise proved that we have improvements to make and donors to save! Perhaps, we should keep this checklist and use it as a guideline for everything we send out and we should continue to complete an audit every year because it’s the only way we’re going to improve.

Our next step in the donor communications audit will be to go through the documents we evaluated together and discuss our findings. I know my team and I will come up with new ideas and strategies to improve our donor communications.

I hope this has inspired YOU to do your own donor communications audit or revisit the idea if it’s been a while for YOU and your organization. We’d love to hear stories about how your team completed an audit and what it meant for your donors.

To read more about how to do your own donor communications audit, check out Tom Ahern’s step by step to a self-audit here.