San Luis Valley Conservation & Connection initiative

The results are already evident, and surely will continue to manifest in the time ahead as our community’s organizations raise the bar on their own communications and outreach and continue to build upon partnerships developed in the workshops. This will likewise benefit our land, water and natural resources as well as the economy and diverse people of our region.
— Rio de la Vista, Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center at Adams State University

The Need

The San Luis Valley Conservation and Connection Initiative (SLVCCI), in partnership with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) with a grant from the LOR Foundation, sought to provide a series of five workshops and toolkits to approximately 30 grantees in Colorado's San Luis Valley. With a desire to promote the individual and collective impacts of their work while addressing the unique economic and environmental challenges the San Luis Valley faces, the aim was to enhance the communications skills and collaborative efforts of the community’s conservation, restoration, recreation and youth engagement organizations. Participants represented nonprofits, government agencies, water and conservation districts, and educational groups from all six counties across the Valley. Highland Communication Works worked closely with VOC and SLVCCI to deliver training and resources that would help these organizations strengthen or expand their communication efforts.

What I Delivered

  • Built and delivered a series of practical, interactive workshops focused on communication strategy, organizational messaging, storytelling, infographic-based impact storytelling, and Valley-wide visioning and messaging — all focused on helping these groups develop and tell the story of their individual and collective impacts.
  • Developed communication tools and toolkits containing tips, templates, best practices and other resources in the areas of communication strategy, messaging, media relations, news releases, storytelling and community outreach.
  • Crafted impact stories about programs dedicated to restoring the floodplain in a historic mountain mining district and to  creating environmental, social, economic and food justice in a small ranching community.

Over the course of seven months, grantees of the San Luis Valley reported using the toolkits and training materials to successfully develop and enhance their communication activities. They have clarified and fine-tuned their mission statements and other key organizational messages; developed their "story" and engaged more followers through increased storytelling efforts; communicated their impacts more effectively with funders; and worked with their board members and leadership to integrate communication into their overall organizational strategy. Read more about workshops and what participants have said about their experience.

Linda’s gentle approach is appropriate to her audience, authoritative in content, and cumulative in impact.
— Burt Wadman, Eastern San Luis Valley Trails Coalition