2019 Information Services Overhaul

You’ve asked: we’ve listened! Over the past few years your Conference staff and leadership have sought to streamline operations and electronic platforms. Since 2016, these efforts have meant bringing together information that was formerly spread across multiple platforms, systems, and vendors into a narrower band.

In 2019, we complete a major piece of our information services overhaul. Moving to a new constituent relationship management platform has required us to rebuild our website from the ground up. The good news is that it gave us an opportunity to really review what we wanted out of our website and how we could lean in to the future. We’re excited about new resources coming online in 2019!

We launched this new website at Annual Gathering 2019. While we did our best effort to make sure all of the new links worked, there are bound to be some kinks in the next couple weeks. If you find a dead link, or a link pointing to a wrong resource, could you take a moment and email Daniel to let him know 1.) what page you’re looking at, 2.) what link you clicked (or thought you clicked), and 3.) what you received instead of what you wanted. Additionally, it’s good to let him know what kind of system you’re on (macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, etc), what kind of device (desktop/mobile/tablet), and what browser you’re using (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc).

By December 31, 2019, you will find the following new resources available online:

  • Search & Call Central: a one-stop portal for Local Churches engaging in ministerial transition, including video tutorials
  • How We Succeed: our Philanthropy & Advancement portal designed to cultivate generosity, passion, and ministry excellence
  • Canvas: an online learning platform featuring tracked and on demand leadership development for clergy and laity
  • Online reporting for Authorized Ministers (expected Fall 2019)
  • Online reporting and remittance for Local Churches (expected Fall 2019)
  • Online submissions for Members in Discernment (expected EOY 2019)

In addition, Conference leaders on Council, the Committee on Ministry, and other committees and task forces will completely transition to a single platform for collaboration, file management, events, and communication as of July 1, 2019. This will mark the first time that all Conference teams are on the same platform since the dot-com era.

We’re proud to utilize industry-leading, state-of-the-art platforms to uphold our information services work: Salesforce, Office 365, WordPress, and Zoom. By narrowing our scope to these four providers, we are able to leverage support and expertise — not to mention advantageous non-profit pricing to demonstrate good stewardship!

Since 2016, the Conference House has switched to a cloud-based VOIP phone provider (RingCentral), allowing our staff to remain in contact no matter where they are. We’ve also said goodbye to our former database — which served us well for many years but, having a core design from the late 1990’s, had long lost its polish and capabilities in the cloud computing age.

Each staff person uses equipment that is at most four years old, with an average device age of less than 2 years. Newer equipment means greater efficiency, productivity, and reliability.

And, we continue to install our Zoom Rooms: locations housed within selected Local Churches that allow us to blend the best of remote video meeting technology with the personal connection of being together in a physical space. Zoom Rooms are open in:

  • Campbell (Campbell UCC)
  • Redwood City (First Church UCC)
  • San Leandro (Conference House)
  • Santa Cruz (Peace UCC)

By the end of 2019, additional Zoom Rooms will be open in:

  • Golden Gate Association
  • Mountain Valley Association
  • Sacramento Valley Association
  • Sequoia Association

Your contributions to Our Church’s Wider Mission and the support of a growing number of Friends of the Conference make this work possible. In addition, we are grateful for a grant from First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, United Church of Christ, that funded two Zoom Rooms in the Santa Clara Association. First Church of Redwood City self-funded its Zoom Room as a match to an Association-funded Zoom Room in Golden Gate.