Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Posts Tagged ‘philanthropy’

YOU, the name – and game – changer

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm


(image source)

Recently the Fund Development department at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia (ASNS) became a thing of the past.

Events, campaigns, fundraising. Still what we will be doing.

But we have been dedicated to helping the organization become more stakeholder (donor, volunteer, client) centric, through a change in the organizational culture.

Yes, we have been fostering a Culture of Philanthropy.

Much has been written about non-profits looking inwards at their organization, to check if they do live in this culture day to day. A good resource to help YOU was written by past chair of the Association of Fundraising International, Andrea McManus.

A few years ago the (now old) Fund Development department here at ASNS started investigating how we were doing in the area of Philanthropy. Of course we were helping those who needed our help – that is why we are here! But we did not have a recognition program, or an internal fundraising drive. Everything we sent out was from the organization (Corporate language) not from the families that were affected by both dementia, but also the programs our donors helped us create and offer.

Just like Rome, building a Culture of Philanthropy does not (and has not) been built in a day. We continue to strive to learn more about being stakeholder centric and teaching others internally what it means.

As fundraisers we love that a big part of our job is friendraising at the Society. We don’t just ask for money, we are the conduit; donors place their trust in us to steward their money to those that need it. People with dementia and their families trust in us to make sure that programs, services, education and information that they need are available.

YOU cannot do that on Fund Development alone.

When the Fund Development Department dissolved, a new department was born: Department of Philanthropy. In this department are Fund Development Coordinators, Community Outreach & Education Coordinators and the Communications Manager.

But what’s in a name title? This department is made up of Appreciation givers, listeners, talkers, visitors, coffee bringers, story tellers and much more.

Department name change, check. Next, we continue the game change of the organizational culture.

YOU, the Newbie Fundraiser

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2013 at 9:51 am


Coming in to a new role as part of a fund development team I was nervous, excited and unsure of what to expect.  Would I have to beg for money in that grim, Dickensian, Oliver Twist way? “Please sir, can I have s’more?”  Would I always have my hand out? Would I be ok with that?  Starting any new job is nerve wrecking, but all this uncertainty came in the shadow of a bleak article published by The Chronicle of Philanthropy on January 13th , 2013 . The article discussed the results of a national survey of the fund development sector.  The study did not fill me with warm fuzzy feelings for my new job in fund development.  Instead, the study goes on to suggest that half of fundraisers working today are miserable in their jobs, will quit within two years and forty per cent will leave fundraising altogether.  This did not give me the reassurance I wanted.  How will I survive?


Well I will share with YOU how I am surviving, and how YOU can survive too.  YOU need to work for an organization with a well developed Culture of Philanthropy.  And the Alzheimer Society of NS has certainly worked at developing theirs.  This culture has a tendency to remove the bleak shadows and chase away those uncertainties.  When I look around at my coworkers I do not see misery on their faces.  Are we the exception to this survey?  I work in a place where I feel I am wanted, respected and encouraged to share my opinions, no matter how naïve they may be, and where it’s ok to be wrong sometimes.


YOU can be miserable if YOU want in any job, but I choose a different way.  I look at the people we are impacting and I am inspired, motivated and humbled.  The funds we raise help people in need and go toward research.  This is important stuff people.  I have quickly realized that working in fund development isn’t always about soliciting.  It’s also about making connections and sharing stories.


And that is how I will be the exception to that survey.