Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Posts Tagged ‘Dawn B’

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, 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, 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

thank you


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


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.

YOU, the Supportive Hockey Fan

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm


As Beth wrote in a previous post, the PRO Game was held on May 9 and 10. A 24 hour hockey game that is used as a vehicle to raise money and awareness for specific charities. This year, the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia was honoured to be one of the charities chosen.

Thank you PRO Game participants for thinking of us and giving us support. It is an amazing event that pairs fun (and a great Canadian pastime) with a spirit of giving and awareness.

Congratulations to Team Pittsburgh for winning this year’s event. Team Pittsburgh was named in honour of Cole Harbour hockey legend Sydney Crosby. The challenging team was Team Colorado in celebration of local boy Nathan MacKinnon.

The event is still collecting money but expects to raise around $60,000 for local charities when all is said and done. The fundraising for this event did not start and end on game day. Event organizers, and their sponsor Scotiabank, held several fundraisers leading up to the event such as bowling nights. They also collected pledges, and during the game there was a big silent auction loaded with lots of sport memorabilia.

This fundraising event was started in 2002 as the Looong Game. Since then, they have gone on to raise over $130,000 for charities.
Thank you to the organizers of the PRO Game, especially Ken McCormick, as well as all the hard working fundraisers who have spent their time and energy fundraising for the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia. This donation will go a long way to help the 17,000 Nova Scotians living with dementia. Through this support we will continue to foster local research, ensure that people who call our InfoLine hear a confidential and professional voice, as well maintaining the many educational and support opportunities that the people of the province depend on as they navigate their dementia journey.

YOU, the visual event planner

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2014 at 9:19 am


(our actual walk through – take lots of pictures)

If YOU are like me, YOU need to see things drawn out before YOU in order to fully understand what YOU are doing. I have been struggling for a few weeks with the floor plan of the venue for my upcoming event, Walk for Memories. We had done a walk through a month ago. I had never used that space before, in fact this is my first year planning this event. So when I left the first walk through, I didn’t have enough information, I didn’t ask the right questions, and all I had to show for it was a paper copy of the floor plan. By the time I got back to the office, my spatial memory had vanished and I just couldn’t wrap my head around what 80 feet really looked like. I struggled with table placement and where to put displays as there just didn’t seem like enough room. Finally I had to bite the bullet and head back to the venue.

Armed with a list of issues, a tape measure, and some sample display items, my colleagues and I headed to the venue and spent over an hour planning the placement of all the elements of the event. We tested the displays, how to hang them, what sticking medium would work best on the various surfaces. We measured tables and laid them out on the floor where we pictured them. We sought out electrical plugs, looked at how the light came into the room for pictures, and tested the acoustics.

I left feeling accomplished, feeling that I finally understood the space and feeling good about what we had planned. If you are like me, 80 feet means nothing to YOU. My brain does not understand what 80 feet looks like. I need to be in the space. I need to play with different formulas for the layout, try to foresee where things could go wrong. The best way to do this is to ensure that the people YOU bring with YOU on your walk through also have event planning experience and can offer different perspective. Perhaps they will see a problem YOU didn’t anticipate. And as I have said before in my blog posts, a big part of event planning is predicting the things that could go wrong and planning for them.

Here are some tips for your next venue walk through:

  1. Bring a tape measure and know the dimensions of the tables, booths, displays, tents, that YOU are using.
  2. Bring someone with YOU who can offer a different and practical view of the event.
  3. Do not be afraid to ask your venue coordinator questions before and after the walk through. They are there to support YOU. The more information YOU have the better YOU can plan.
  4. Bring samples with YOU of anything that YOU will need to assemble, or hang, or mount the day of the event. Something YOU assumed would be easy, might be not work. It is better to know that ahead of time than day of the event.
  5. And finally, do not be in a rush. Take your time and explore the space, look for problems, allow different scenarios to play out. Prepare back up plans.

There will always be hiccups when using a venue for the first time. There will be things YOU will not be able to plan for until YOU are present at the event and see how your public interacts with the space. But the more YOU can prepare in advance, the less frazzled YOU will be on event day.

You, and the songs you sing

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm


The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia is lucky to have an incredible support system in this province. Today, musician, Blou released his album, 20 temps. $1 of every album sold will be donated to the Society.

Patrice Boulianne “Blou” is an Acadian singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia. His mother, Yvonne, lived with Alzheimer’s disease. His connection to the disease and his ambition to want to help others is extremely profound. He is determined to make a difference.

For Blou’s family, especially his mother, denial was one of the biggest hurdles they had to overcome. The desire to be perceived as a “normal” family made it hard to accept the diagnosis. After struggling for acceptance, Blou and his family found comfort at the Alzheimer Society and have remained involved even after his mother’s passing.

Blou explains the help he received from the Alzheimer Society during his mother’s illness, “The ASNS has helped me in many ways by providing the necessary resources and support groups to face all the effects and emotions that I experienced while seeing a loved one slowly fade away and pass away from this disease. I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions and to have patience and understanding. That it is normal to be scared, sad and angry. I’ve learned that the best thing I could do was to continue helping the best way I could and make sure that my mother was as comfortable as possible.”

Blou remains emphatic that this is not something YOU can do alone. When YOU seek help, YOU will feel empowered.

To learn more about Blou’s career in music and to purchase his new album in support of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia please visit his website.

To hear Blou tell his story, visit the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia’s website.



YOU, and the Art of Organization

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm


As Event Planners we all know the importance of staying organized.  But I know that no matter how hard we try, things still manage to pile up sometimes.  We come up with systems for our paperwork, folders for our emails, we buy desk organizers to keep our stacks of paper separated and easy to find, we live and die by the post-it note.  So why do our desks still end up looking like a disheveled mess?  Here are some concrete organizational techniques that will help YOU find your center, in the midst of the chaos.

  1. This is the most golden rule of organization: stay committed to your organizational methods.  It is one thing to buy the filing cabinets and shelves for storage, but if YOU let the papers pile up in the corner before YOU file them, YOU have defeated the purpose.  I know, easier said than done.
  2. Remove all the clutter.  Do YOU need all those pens?  Get your pictures on the wall.  Keep the items YOU use most within reach and everything else should be relocated.  Reduce the amount of objects on your desk because less clutter for the eye helps YOU maintain calm.
  3. Adopt a colour coding technique.  Use different colours for each project/event/campaign.  Or use colour to prioritize tasks.  This is an excellent and easy way to find what you are looking for more efficiently.
  4. Keep your papers well labeled and secure.  If you use file folders or stackable trays, make sure they are labeled very specifically. Avoid vague labels that could attract a variety of different paper work to all land in one big pile.  It might mean YOU keep more trays or folders around, but at least YOU will find things when YOU need them.  But beyond that, don’t just throw multipage documents in your folders without securing them together.  Forget the paper clips, use staples to ensure the pages are secure and cannot be separated.
  5. And one of the best pieces of advice I can give is to purge all the old/unnecessary stuff out of your office completely.  This is something YOU should do regularly.  Create an archive shelf and move all the old, yet still usable files out of your workspace.  As YOU put a file away, scan it briefly and toss anything irrelevant or outdated.  Get into the habit of doing this so that YOU are not saddled with a huge job once or twice a year. On the Organize Anything website I have read that, “a staggering 80 percent of papers in your filing cabinet will never be touched again. At least 60 percent of the papers on your desk have little or no value and can be discarded; they have just piled up because you lack a system.”
  6. Once an event or campaign is over for the year, organize and inventory everything BEFORE YOU put it back in storage.  This will help YOU find things when YOU need them and keep accurate records of inventory. Also, it will save YOU a lot of work when the event starts up again the next year.

Use my proven methods and commit to the system that works best for YOU.  I promise YOU will notice an improvement in your focus and productivity.

Please share your innovative tips on how to keep your office neat during chaotic times at work.

You, and the Millennial Connection

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm


It is Forget Me Not Week, an Alzheimer Society fundraiser, and students across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are ramping up their fundraising campaigns. The competition is fierce. Who will win this year?? The Acadia Axemen remain undefeated. But this year we have the Saint Mary’s University football team as well as the St. Francis Xavier football team nipping at their heels. Will Acadia remain undefeated? To make the competition even fiercer, New Brunswick has joined in the fundraiser and both University of New Brunswick campuses will be competing. Not to mention all the dedicated students at the Community Colleges across Nova Scotia who are determined to raise awareness and money for something they truly believe in.

Students from universities and colleges across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are becoming part of the change. They will be participating in the second annual Forget Me Not Week in support of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia from January 27- 31.

When asked about how the campaign has developed, Beth Jackson says, “It is so exciting to see so much enthusiasm from the millennial generation. There are so many students who care and are eager to help raise money to support people in this province living with dementia.”

Forget Me Not week is an attempt to get millennials engaged in our cause. They are always described as a very apathetic and self-involved generation. I don’t believe it. I have witnessed many students passionate about this fundraising opportunity. I have talked to them about why they want to be involved and most of them reply that they are concerned for their future. They are concerned about their parents and many are currently watching their grandparents deal with dementia. These students work hard to support us, and in my experience they are very driven about the things that concern them.

Currently, 17,000 Nova Scotians have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. This is expected to increase to over 28,000 by 2038. This number is staggering and the millennials see themselves reflected in these statistics. They are becoming aware of what the year 2038 will look like for them.

The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia would like to thank all those students who are stepping up, becoming leaders in their schools, and helping to create a world without Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information on Forget Me Not week or the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, visit us online at, or call 1-800-611-6345.