Today's redesign of Keeping You Posted, the United Church News weekly newsletter; the recently released SHINE! logo for the United Church of Christ General Synod 2019; the free digital image downloads for Pride celebrations in June and for the March for Our Lives-Faith over Firearms rallies around the country in March; the Innovation in Church Stewardship webinar on August 28 – these are all the work of the newly configured OPTIC Team in the National Setting of the United Church of Christ (UCC).
OPTIC – the Office of Philanthropy, Technology, Identity and Communication – is the name for the team that resulted by combining communications and marketing with philanthropy and stewardship, giving the Office of General Minister and President an integrated marketing, communications and fund development operation.
"Nurturing and monitoring the brand and supporting the financial sustainability of the UCC are of the highest importance to the OPTIC team," said Cynthia Bailie, OPTIC director. "We see great potential all around us and are excited about what we'll do together."
"The OPTIC team is proving capable of finding new audiences for our vision, our voice, and our proclamation of the gospel," said the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President. "As they continue to amplify that voice and share our message of hope, they are meanwhile building new relationships with those who deeply appreciate this. Those relationships are providing new means of funding for our shared mission."
Combining marketing with philanthropy links communications to stewardship to provide donors with proof of performance. And, in the spirit of increased responsiveness to the needs of the wider church, the OPTIC team is in the process of reimagining the digital presence of the UCC, including United Church News, as Bailie said, "We are committed to honoring the solid foundational work of the past while building for the future." The same goes with the increased social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Right now, the OPTIC team is focused on a few key projects - coordinating and promoting special mission offerings and other fundraising campaigns, auditing and refreshing brand identity and social media, and laying the groundwork for General Synod 2019.
"The OPTIC team is working closely with staff and the General Synod Program & Planning Committee to ensure a collaborative effort in both the communication and development aspects of Synod," said the Rev. Jim Moos, Executive Minister, Global Engagement & Operations. "Previously, communication and development were two separate departments; having them combined in OPTIC makes for greater efficiency and synergy, which leads to greater effectiveness."
Other current OPTIC initiatives are focused on providing more effective fundraising ideas to Congregations and Conferences by offering church leaders a free video conference on stewardship later this month, and issuing invitations to 'Cultivating Generous Congregations,' a multi-day training prepared for Conferences, presented in partnership with the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at IUPUI.
"I am grateful to this team," Dorhauer said, "for the ways they are expanding our audience and creating the potential for our voice and vision to have deeper and more lasting impact on a world in need of love and justice."