Oakley Creek Te Auaunga is the longest urban stream on the Auckland isthmus, extending some 15 kilometres and surrounded by 50 hectares of almost continuous green space. As a natural ecosystem incorporating a range of wildlife habitats, indigenous species and recreational amenities, the Friends of Oakley Creek Te Auaunga are working hard to ensure it is protected and restored for future generations. A big part of that involves raising awareness of its value and potential and it’s why the Friends reached out to the Community Comms Collective to help guide their efforts.
Enter Danielle Benitez, a local resident and collective volunteer who was all too happy to share her expertise and learn more about her local community in the process. Danielle facilitated two workshops with committee members then pulled together a communications strategy.
“The organisation already does a lot of good communications, so it was less about creating new communications activities and more about bringing together all the activities in a more formalised and structured strategy,” says Danielle. “I’ve always been a big picture, strategic thinking type of person, so I was able to help connect the dots between the different communications activities and help step the committee through the thinking process so that they could understand and own the strategy for themselves.”
Cate Ryan from Friends of Oakley Creek Te Auaunga says Danielle’s strategy was rich and thoughtful, yet succinct.
“The communications strategy was structured in such a way that we could prioritise and start implementing our next steps immediately. We could also use it to guide us on how to tweak current work so that it better aligns with our mission.”
The facilitated workshops were a key part of strategy development and Cate says Danielle did a brilliant job of making some complex concepts quite straightforward, and getting the committee members to apply them to their situation in an intentional way.
“We were very impressed with Danielle’s facilitation skills, she is an excellent communicator, she’s quick to understand the big picture and great to work with.”
Danielle (pictured) also loved working with the committee. ”I spent two evenings with these amazing people who volunteer their time to look after the creek. There’s something really special about working with a group of people that are so purpose driven and just want the best outcome for their cause.”
For Friends of Oakley Creek Te Auaunga, the Community Comms Collective has provided a very valuable service, says Cate.
“By connecting us with a skilled volunteer we’ve been able to set the vision for our comms work, so that it helps us better achieve our organisational goals. We have several pieces of comms related work that need to be done, and now we have a cohesive approach to carry them out, which wouldn’t have been possible without the collective’s expertise in matching us to the right volunteer.
Danielle says she is grateful for the opportunity to offer up some of her ‘corporate’ skills to Friends of Oakley Creek Te Auaunga.
“I’m not the best at planting or getting my hands dirty so to be able to volunteer in a way where I could add value is really rewarding. Working with the Community Comms Collective has been great for me, because it provides opportunities to both volunteer and improve on my comms skills. You also have the ability to say yes or no to opportunities based on your current availability so it’s been great to be able to volunteer in a way that can fit alongside any of life’s curveballs!”
Friends of Oakley Creek Te Auaunga is working to ensure the stream and its surrounds are protected and restored to their full ecological potential.
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