Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Posts Tagged ‘Fundraising Events’

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 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!)

YOU, the fundraiser with a cute support team behind YOU

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm
Nick, Nick, Kenny & Devin the boys of Fund Development

Nick, Nick, Kenny & Devin the boys of Fund Development

A big part of fundraising is surrounding yourself with wonderful supporters; from volunteers to donors, Board members to co-workers, working together in a respectful, collaborative environment can mean the world of difference to YOU and your job.

But what about when one of those volunteers is your significant other? Are they treated differently?

Today, I would like to tell you about four men who didn’t realize when they started dating their significant others, that fundraising would play such a big role in their lives.

From selling ducks, to dressing like a duck; packing and unpacking events to folding annual mailings in front of the TV at home, these men are truly special volunteers.

Nick (known around the office as “New Nick” because his fiance just joined our department), Nick (now called “Old Nick”), Devin and Kenny make up the better half’s of the Coordinators of Community Giving Dawn and Beth, Director of Fund Development Sarah (me) and Director of Finance Carla.

Since the moment that we were all hired, they have been Society volunteers. And while yes, YOU could say in some cases they have been “Voluntold” I notice each time I see them at events, they are enjoying themselves, they are enjoying connecting with the people we serve and they always give advice on what they think they could do differently next time.

Which considering that they are the volunteers (who unfortunately) get snapped at, directed in hundred different ways and are supposed to be able to read our minds – it is pretty impressive that they come back each year.

“People see the support they give at Society events, but they may not know about the support we get at home,” says Beth. “They make sure during the stressful event times that we have supper and are kept calm.”

Both Dawn and Carla echo Beth’s statement with the fact that they feel they receive “Un-conditional support, without question,” when it comes to volunteering for the Society and our Fundraising initiatives.

And we are lucky to have them, as they give a lot of hours, but also in specialized ways. “Kenny is always our go to A/V volunteer, my Nick builds us event infrastructure as a carpenter,” says Beth. “New Nick” spent the summer in parades and won us an award when he danced throughout one dressed like a duck and Devin has really taken on ownership as a Duck seller and Walk A-Team recruiter at his work.

So if YOU are just entering fundraising, prepare those close around YOU. If YOU are as lucky as us, YOU won’t have a problem.

YOU, wearing your heart on your sleeve

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm


Sunday was my first major event with the organization.  It was an unbelievable day of nerves, emotions and successes.  When I walked away from the event I was spent.  I was utterly exhausted.

 But let me be honest.  As tired as I was, there were scores of other people leaving that building equally as fatigued.  As much as my co-coordinator and I think this was our event, it wasn’t.  This was a team effort. 

 It is time to recognize the people that made Walk for Memories a success.  From the dedicated staff in our office that lent us a hand packing, unpacking, setting up, cutting, stapling, and gluing, to the gangs of volunteers that gave up a beautiful Sunday afternoon to be with us and help deliver a successful event – Thank YOU!  And let us not forget the event committee that has spent months (or years) meeting, emailing, organizing, sourcing and raising funds.  No one person can take the banner at this event. 

 And I would be remiss not to mention the walkers and donors.  These are people who have used their spare time and energy to raise money for our cause.  People who were happy to be helping.  These generous individuals did not just give money; they gave hope to families who might not be feeling very hopeful right now.  They helped form a community where people can go to not feel alone.  It’s more than just raising money or awareness.  It is about groups of strangers coming together to fight for a cause that they feel very strongly about. 

I would be surprised if YOU could find anyone in that crowd on Sunday that did not feel a sense of hope and pride for what we accomplished.  We united to HONOUR, CELEBRATE and REMEMBER those that have lived with or are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.  And honour them we did. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make Sunday a success.  I want to thank the families I had the privilege to speak to, who were kind enough to share their very personal and moving stories.  YOU are the reason I am doing this job, and YOU are the reason why I will continue to do this job. 

Please click on this link to see the wonderful story that CTV Atlantic did about Walk for Memories in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

YOU, the Coordinator Days Before the Big Event

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm


Photo source

YOU know that feeling. Your biggest event is just days away and YOU start to get anxious, excited and wonder where the past three months went.

YOU have a case of the pre-event jitters.  During this time, YOU may experience sugar cravings,  mood swings, difficulty sleeping and staff around know YOU could burst into laughter or tears at any moment.

One of the Society’s biggest fundraisers, the annual Walk for Memories is coming up this Sunday, May 5. It’s a very busy week in the office and staff are working very hard to have everything ready for this weekend.

Today’s post is all about managing the pre-event jitters. Let’s talk about how YOU, the event planner can prepare yourself for that final week and some important tips YOU can use.

Ask for help. No matter how much YOU plan ahead, there are always a lot of last-minute details to take care of. Help relieve some of the stress by meeting with your team and delegating tasks. By sharing the responsibilities, YOU can get more accomplished and be sure everything gets done.

Get your participants excited. This should be an exciting time for your event participants. One idea to keep your donors and participants engaged is by sharing thank YOU videos on social media. YOU should also be connecting with them through emails to encourage them to reach their fundraising goals.

Say a prayer to Mother Nature. Everyone wants a beautiful, sunny day for their event but remember YOU can’t control the weather. Instead, say a little prayer to mother nature and just be sure YOU are prepared if it rains. The show must go on rain or shine!

Use your lists! If you’re a planner, chances are YOU like your lists. Use checklists to make sure YOU don’t forget any important details because it can happen very easily. I know one coordinator who forgot to book portable toilets for her big fundraiser that took place outside! Luckily, there were public washrooms nearby for participants to use.

Hold a volunteer orientation night. At the Alzheimer Society, we have a volunteer orientation night before all of our big events. It’s a way to keep your volunteers engaged, go over their roles and gives YOU a chance to tell them more about your cause. Preparing volunteers before the event will save a lot of time day of.

Be ready to handle any emergency. Do YOU have an emergency response plan? Who is responsible if someone gets hurt at your event? YOU need to have a plan and go over it with your team. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Keep important documents handy. YOU should always take copies of permits with you to your event. That way, if any questions come up YOU and your volunteers can show YOU have permission to use the event space. Also, don’t forget extra copies of emcee notes and your event timeline.

Stay rested. It’s hard to fall asleep when YOU have a million details in your mind but if YOU don’t get enough sleep, how can YOU do your best? Be sure to make time to exercise, go for a walk and do something relaxing with your friends or family.

Relax and breathe. YOU should have a group of people like staff, your planning committee, volunteers, and your donors behind YOU. Remember, they are there to support YOU and your cause and everything usually finds a way of working out. So, take a moment to enjoy yourself during the event YOU worked so hard on.

If YOU have a big event coming up, I hope it’s a success! Are YOU an event planner? What ideas do YOU have to manage the pre-event jitters?