Written by Barb Powell
The United Church of Christ received the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Award for its Mission:1 integrated marketing campaign April 12 at the Religion Communicators Council's (RCC) annual meeting in Philadelphia. Judges awarded Mission:1 "Best of Class" in the Public Relations, Advertising Campaign category, recognizing it as "a truly integrated, well-orchestrated campaign with clear outcomes."
Mission:1 was an 11-day effort by the UCC to collect more than 1 million food and household items, raise more than $111,111 for U.S. hunger-related ministries and more than $111,111 for East Africa famine relief, and send more than 11,111 letters on food-related advocacy to Congress. The campaign overwhelmingly surpassed all goals.
Jean Robinson, the UCC's video producer and RCC member, accepted the award on behalf of the UCC. "I am honored, humbled and excited to accept this award on behalf of the United Church of Christ," Robinson said. "Mission:1 was more than a mission accomplished. It led local UCC churches to reconnect with the larger work of the church and reminded us all that all things really and truly are possible."
The Mission:1 integrated campaign included posters and banners at the campaign kick-off during the UCC's General Synod in Tampa, Fla., in July 2011; a dedicated web portal containing campaign materials and downloadable education and worship resources; a splash page that kept a running tally of items collected for local food pantries and outreach efforts, monies collected, and letters sent; a promotional DVD and viral ad; and a Facebook event page, Twitter feed and Mission:1 hashtag. Promotional items included Mission:1 t-shirts, offering envelopes, and a Mission:1 campaign kit containing bulletin inserts, pledge cards, posters, buttons, stickers and wrist bands.
Throughout Mission:1, local UCC congregations were encouraged to tell their stories, and to send in videos and photos describing how they were living Mission:1 in their own communities. The stories submitted were astonishing, heartwarming, and poignant as they described what Mission:1 had meant to the local churches and communities the campaign touched.
"The communications effort that undergirded Mission:1 invited and encouraged our churches to submit their own powerful stories, testimonies, photos and videos, and to give voice to the life-changing ways that mission is being lived out creatively every day through the United Church of Christ," said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of the UCC’s Local Church Ministries and former UCC communication director.
"Mission:1 captured the collective imagination of what it means to be the church together in mission," Guess said. "We are so proud of the affirmation that this impressive award represents, but we are most grateful that it affirms the emerging ways that the United Church of Christ must measure the impact, the success, of our church's witness in the world."
More DeRose-Hinkhouse accolades
The UCC also received a DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Award for the spring 2011 issue of StillSpeaking magazine in the Periodicals class, and both 2011 magazine issues received an Award of Excellence in the Periodicals, Single Issue category. Additionally, the Rev. Gregg Brekke, former news director, was recognized with an Award of Excellence in Photography, Color, Series for his work in Healing, a part of the StillSpeaking magazine spring 2011 issue.
The Rev. W. Evan Golder, editor emeritus of United Church News, also was recognized with a Certificate of Merit, Special Issue Publication, for the UCC's Disaster Relief Ministries' Hope Shall Bloom final report publication.
Each year, the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given to active members of the RCC who demonstrate excellence in religious communication and public relations. Each entry is judged in overall quality, including concept, writing, design, creativity, style, use of color, appropriateness of material for intended audience, creative use of resources, communication value and effectiveness.
The Religion Communicators Council is an international interfaith association of religion communicators who work in print and electronic communication, media, marketing and public relations. RCC provides opportunities for religion communicators to learn from each other. Together, RCC members promote excellence in the communication of religious faith and values in the public arena and encourage understanding among religions and faith groups.