wall clockBy Ellen Vander Linden

Many of us will give and receive gifts this holiday season. Beyond material possessions, one of the greatest gifts we can give to others is our time.

In March, I chose to volunteer one cold, grey Wednesday afternoon for the IABC Gift of Communication event. The event pairs professional communicators with nonprofits to help solve their biggest communication challenges in the matter of a few hours together.

When I arrived, I met Jen Vieth and Clare Neenan from the Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings. Also in our group were Tammy Nienaber, IABC board member, and Dan Brady, IABC member.

We pooled our collective experience to solve their challenge: How to prioritize communication efforts with limited resources across a variety of communication channels – web, social media, print newsletter, etc.

Tammy, Dan and I were impressed with the quality of images and quantity of stories that Jen and Clare shared. We concluded that their biggest challenge was to create a central hub for sharing their great content.

It was a great experience to work together with my peers. It was even more rewarding to learn that within seven months of the Gift of Communication event, Carpenter Nature Center launched their refreshed website. The site showcases their great images and makes it easier to find and share information across all their communication channels.

This fall, Dan returned to the nature center with his young daughters during the organization’s annual Raptor Release. He wrote a blog post about his visit that is a nice retreat from the busy pace of the holiday season.

New Year’s resolutions are just weeks away. If you are naturally gifted in the art and science of effective communication, consider giving this as a gift to those who need it. The 2017 Gift of Communication event will be held in April. Stay tuned to the IABC Minnesota Events calendar for details.

For now, enjoy the gift of time with friends and family during this holiday season.

In addition to her role as an independent communication consultant, Ellen Vander Linden serves on the board of IABC Minnesota as vice president of Internal Communications.