A Just Cause
When you think of a pregnancy center, what comes to mind? Babies—right?
As a dedicated supporter of a pro-life organization like Cleveland Pregnancy Center, you sacrifice your hard-earned dollars and donate your time faithfully over years to make sure that EVERY child has a chance to see their first birthday. It’s all about the babies!
Saving lives and saving souls. Changing hearts. Saving hearts. Keeping them beating. It’s a life-or-death struggle against spiritual powers of darkness—the thief that has come to steal and destroy.
You understand that we don’t fight against human flesh, but against powers and principalities. We do this in service to the Living God, the Creator and Father of all humanity.
With eyes-wide-open to the spiritual and moral battle around us, hundreds of like-minded allies in the field march forward and proudly proclaim the truth in victory. We know we have the truth on our side! Our cause is just.
There’s just one problem—you are not our target audience.
For so many pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics nationwide, marketing to clients is a confounding proposition. They cannot fathom why their marketing dollars spent do not convert into clients coming through their doors. They march on, justly rising to meet the need. But the need stays at arms-length. A few clients trickle in, yet most stay away. Those who come are mostly like-minded anyway. They weren’t seriously considering abortion, they just needed a little support and some free resources.
Why the disparity? Where is the disconnect?
It has been my honor to lead hundreds of pregnancy centers in training and strategic planning to answer this all-important question, “How do we bring abortion-minded clients into our centers so we have the chance to reach them with our life-saving services?”
Put Yourself In Her Shoes
Let us quickly define a few key terms so we can be in agreement on their meaning:
Carry-Client: A woman who is pro-life or indifferent and is not considered at-risk. They plan to carry to term. Services needed are primarily material or emotional.
Abortion-Vulnerable: A woman who is facing pressure from a boyfriend, family member, or other influencers to abort. Also, one who has had an abortion before.
Abortion-Minded: A woman who is considering abortion and is art risk of following through.
Abortion-Determined: A woman who has decided to abort and is actively seeking the prerequisites and means to do so. This is the most important client to reach. Her baby’s life is in extreme danger!
Centers which focus on Christianese jargon “made in the image of God, I knew you in the womb…”, pro-life rhetoric, and baby-focussed imagery do a great job of bringing in “carry clients” and tend to be woefully inadequate at attracting “at-risk” categories of clients—the primary reason these centers exist in the first place.
In order to understand why, we have to put ourselves “in the client’s shoes”. What does she want? What does she need? How does she feel?
We often refer to pro-life clinics as “crisis pregnancy centers”. Does she know she’s in a crisis? Does she want to associate with crisis if she’s already panicking?
For the Abortion-Vulnerable, Minded, or Determined woman—she is generally looking for a quick and quiet solution to a perceived problem.
She does not want to be:
To get her in the door, we avoid clearly pro-life rhetoric. Not because we are ashamed. We are not! Not because we are unsure. We know the truth. It is because we are loving and gentle—and we know that we have to get her in the door in order to talk to her, provide her with the no-cost resources she needs, and especially to show her through ultrasound the incredible life growing within her. The proverbial cart must not precede the horse. We must love her first and show her the truth second.
This is why successful pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics utlize very different imagery and messaging between their donor-side and their client-facing communications.
While donors (champions) like you want to see babies, families, and tangible displays of lives saved (mixed in with a healthy dose of biblical wisdom and inspiration), clients want to see empowered and confident women making decisions about their lives in a medical environment. It is so important that they don’t feel like they will be pressured or yelled at for considering abortion.
What I Like, What Works
We hear this all the time from donors, volunteers, and even board members—”I don’t like those colors! That message doesn’t mention God (and it should!)” Or my personal favorite, “Why aren’t there any cute babies on the website? We are about saving babies!”
The comments above always demonstrate a wealth of care and concern and a general lack of understanding. People often confuse what they like or prefer with what works.
In fact, the opposite is often the case. What you like best is rarely what will work the best if you are not in the target audience we are reaching out to.
Consider this example: If you were a high-priced golf course, would you advertise in poor communities? If you were a women’s beauty brand, would you take out an ad in a men’s magazine? Of course not! While you might pick up a little business, by in large the imagery and messaging would be antithetical to reaching your intended audience.
Salvation of the Body & Soul
If you are a Christian, you may identify more closely with this example: when you go to witness to a non-Chrtstian friend, do you walk up to them and say, “Hallelujah brother! This is the day that the Lord has made! Would you like to talk about Jesus?” That kind of direct approach is rarely successful. More often than not, you just flagged yourself as someone they don’t want to talk to at all.
The same is true when talking about a sensitive issue like abortion. Rather than smacking clients with the truth in haste, it is always best to enter into a relationship in love and gently guide them toward the truth.
This is a matter of life and death, after all! We don’t often have the luxury of a second chance when we have inadvertently scared a client away.
What She Wants, What She Needs
When you think of a pregnancy center, what comes to mind? I hope that the answer has changed for you, personally. To save the baby, first we must love the mother.
Thank you for your faithful support of Cleveland Pregnancy Center! Your reward is truly in heaven, assuredly gifted to you by the Father of Love.
May God bless you as you faithfully serve Him, giving your firstfruits—your best—and tirelessly working towards the Kingdom of Heaven established on earth where every child is loved with God’s perfect love!
About The Author
Michael Lovdal is CEO of Alignn Marketing, a full-service marketing agency. His company serves businesses and non-profits across many industry verticals and his work with pro-life pregnancy centers and clinics continues to be close to his heart. He is founder of two pregnancy center marketing groups, with hundreds of members representing over 300 pregnancy centers in the United States and Internationally.