The Annual Gift of Communication: From Challenge to Solution

Another year has almost come to the end, and with that comes the annual Gift of Communication event. Hosted by the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, offered in partnership with the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Gift of Communication is a one-day workshop where United Way supported agencies work to solve two major communications issues facing their organization.

This year, five different non-profit organizations worked with communication professionals and Mohawk College students, to come up with tangible ways to help develop and promote their organizations branding, messaging, and/or communications plan. Though many non-profits share similar challenges (few/no paid staff, limited budgets for marketing, etc.), the results of the workshop were varied. One organization identified a need for consistent messaging and branding, whereas another recognized the need for a strategic plan and timeline for implementation. Reaching the right audience was discussed by a few organizations, although the ways to do so varied.

Having heard the many findings and comments from participants, it’s clear that marketing and communications issues are ever-present and ever-developing in the non-profit sector. Though an agency may attend one year with branding issues, they could attend five years later having recognized the need for a more strategic marketing strategy. As the world changes, so do our needs, as we adapt to the world around us.

This was the 13th year IABC and United Way Halton & Hamilton (formerly United Way Burlington & Greater Hamilton) Gift of Communication. We are so pleased to have this longstanding partnership and offer this workshop year after year. Community and capacity building is part of United Way’s purpose and partnerships take it to levels beyond what could be accomplished alone. Thank you to Jan Graves for your continuing good-spiritedness and hard work. Thank you to the International Association of Business Communicators for your expertise and generosity. And thank you to the Mohawk College students that put so much of their passion and energy into the day’s work and beyond.

Until next year!

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