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Relationship Building and Networking for Communicators – Presentation by Lucinda Morris

Why is networking so important, especially for communicators? How can we make our communications more effective and reach wider audiences through relationship building and collaboration? Lucinda Morris of the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture ( and the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture ( presented and led this month’s hour-long, topic-based discussion. Here we share our thoughts and experiences with this important topic as we kick off the 2024 season of the Storyteller’s Circle!

In her presentation, Lucinda shared a report developed from a need to understand what Prairie Pothole Joint Venture’s own network of conservation communicators looks like.

Barriers or Missed Opportunities

  • Limited capacity
  • Lack of coordination and collaboration in communications

What does integrated communications look like?

  • Showcasing benefits of conservation at a larger scale
  • Building relationships with new audiences
  • Unified voice to carry messages

How to support others:

  • Cross-posting
  • Connecting

Could there be space for a Conservation Communications Conference?

Next Steps for PPJV

  • Playing an active role in facilitating the continuation and development of networks
  • Storytelling: amplifying stories that already exist
  • Find gaps in comms to support those who need it

Food for thought:

  • How can we make networks value-added and time well spent?
  • How can we use communications as a means of social change?
  • What are the opportunities and barriers to working collaboratively and sharing a unified message?

Suggested reading: Impact Network

Discussion Takeaways:

  • Overcome barriers for partners to share post/videos (i.e. the federal agency limitations and possible competing interests between partners) by finding common goals and messaging. How do we navigate that terrain when some of the goals are opposing?
  • Identifying different audiences and tailor messages to individual audiences can help avoid competition and increase engagement with the shared message.
  • Run messaging by people who are not connected to your work—if they can’t understand it then individual audiences can’t either.
  • Some communicators are often not allowed to share content that has an advocacy or fundraising component (like federal agencies). Ghost producing content for federal agencies is one way to get around this.
  • To get around capacity barriers for collaboration, make sure work is done “equitably, not equally” so that even small teams/organizations can participate and benefit from shared messaging.
  • How to maintain relationships between organizations with turnover: it’s easier to maintain personal relationships with smaller groups. When unsure of who to contact, follow up with the organization after the email bounces to keep building connections and momentum in collaboration and shared messaging.
  • Consider outside-the-box ideas, such as how to connect with TV networks, utilize podcasts, or integrate with apps to spread messaging to new audiences.
  • We discussed the idea of developing a searchable comms directory that includes information about what messaging/topics folks are working on to facilitate connections between conservation communicators and find potential collaborators for shared messaging, potential mentors for skill building, or technical expertise to assist with a project.


Join us for next month’s Storyteller’s Circle Feedback Session registration:

Every other month in 2024 (March, May, July, September, November), our “Feedback Sessions” provide an opportunity for communicators to share challenges and projects, and give/receive feedback on each other’s work. Bring your questions, works-in-progress, or challenges that you’d like support with, and be ready to provide support to others in our community too! 

Register for the next Storyteller’s Circle Presenter Session in April: