Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Posts Tagged ‘Michele C’

You, Standing out in a crowd

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

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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, Remembering what it’s all about

In Relationship Building, Special Events on November 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm

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It’s really easy to become so wrapped up in a project, event, or the everyday tasks of your job that you forget to take a step back and take a look at the big picture. I recently had the opportunity to do just that.

Over the past two days, the Society hosted our 25th Annual Provincial Conference. People come from all over Nova Scotia to attend this conference. Whether they are Doctors, CCAs, RNs, LPNs, family members, friends or partners in care, these are the people on the frontlines who face dementia on a daily basis.

It never fails to impress me how dedicated all these conference participants are to their work. They come ready to spend two days soaking up knowledge that they can take back to their workplace. They want to make sure they have the knowledge they need to provide the best possible care for people living with Dementia.

I’m also amazed by how our staff comes together. Whether it is greeting participants, helping with registration or setting up computers and projectors, we are all ready and willing to help with whatever is needed to help this event run smoothly.

So, what it all comes down to is this – when you have the chance, stop and take it all in. We may all have different roles to play, but at the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to make sure we are doing the best for the people we serve. That’s something we can all be proud of.

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 the Media

In Communications on September 9, 2014 at 3:42 pm

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Although the prospect of working with the media can be a little daunting, it doesn’t have to be. It’s a great way to get exposure for your cause and have YOUR message out there.

Having a few things in place ahead of time helps make sure you are ready to take full advantage of the media coverage your organization gets. Here are a few things I have learned during my time at the Society.

1) Have procedures in place for responding to and tracking media inquiries:
We have set up procedures to follow when we receive a call from the media. I am the initial contact for reporters, and then work with my colleagues to determine who the best fit for the interview is. You want to make sure the person who will be interviewed is extremely knowledgeable about the topic, engaging and represents your organization well.

After the interview is complete, the media request is logged. This includes recording the topic of the interview, who the media outlet was, the date of the interview and who represented the Society. Through the Alzheimer Society of Canada, we also subscribe to a media monitoring service, which sends a report each morning about any coverage we have received. These are both great ways to see how much media interest you’ve had over the course of a month, and to take note of times where there was a higher frequency of calls (and what the cause of that was).

2) Make sure your spokespeople ready to go:
The more you can prepare your spokesperson for an interview, the smoother it will go. The first thing I do every morning when I arrive at work is scan the news (including newspapers, television, radio and social media) to see if there is anything that we might get a call about. If there is something that stands out, I send it along to the staff so they will be familiar with the topic.

If I am pitching a story (about an event, or new initiative we are working on), I work with the potential spokesperson ahead of time. That way, they are fully aware of what we will be sending to media, are comfortable with key messages and can plan ahead for possible interviews.

When we do get a media request, I sit down with the staff member who will be doing the interview, and do a “mock interview” with any possible questions they might get. I try to make the questions fairly difficult, and that way the person doing the interview is ready for anything. We have found that mock interviews are a great way to brainstorm about the messages we want to get out there, and are a good way to calm those pre-interview jitters.


3) Respond in a timely manner
When you get a media request, make sure you respond in a timely manner. I subscribe to the 15 minute rule. If I say I will call a journalist back in 15 minutes, I make sure I call back in 15 minutes or less with a confirmation of who they will be speaking to, and when they are available. Journalists are busy people with tight deadlines, and really appreciate having things confirmed early on, so they can come do the interview, and have time to work on their story.

4) Be proactive
If you think you’ve got a great story idea, don’t be afraid to be the one who makes the initial contact. Find out who the reporters are who cover your area of interest, or speak with the producer or news director. I would suggest doing the pitch initially by e-mail, but remember – journalists have limited time, so make sure your pitch is newsworthy, to the point and includes a suggestion of who should be interviewed.

If you haven’t heard anything in a day or two, follow up by phone. Just like your initial pitch, this should be quick and to the point. Pretend you are in an elevator with someone, and only have 30 seconds to a minute to get out all the important points. The reporter or producer you are speaking to will really appreciate this.

These are just a few tips, but we’d love to hear from you. Do YOU have some tips YOU can share about working with the media? Leave a comment below.

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.

YOU, Increasing Fan Engagement on Your Facebook Page

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

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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!