Warning: This post is a little more “harsh” than others I’ve written. Its purpose is to ruffle feathers a bit and drive home a very specific point. Its purpose is to get you thinking – and its purpose is to help you understand a truth. Having a small budget is normal. The fear of using that budget is where I want to challenge the reader.
Let’s Talk Small Budget
The above picture is a nearly perfect representation of nearly every conversation I have when discussions around budget comes up. Someone starts staring into the distance because they know this is the uncomfortable part. Someone else looks at the numbers and thinks of all the reasons why they can’t do anything due to having such a small budget. Oftentimes there is a third person – they are supportive but can’t seem to drown out the negativity of the others. For most pregnancy centers that I talk to, the real truth isn’t that they have a small budget, it’s that they are unwilling to dedicate that small budget to something new in fear that it could end up failing.
The real truth isn’t that they have a small budget, it’s that they are unwilling to dedicate that small budget to something new in fear that it could end up failing.
I just recently met with the marketing director at a clinic. I walked in to her office and, honestly, in my many years of business, I’ve not had a less receptive meeting. I was surprised at how quickly everything I said was shot down. Here’s a quick summary of our conversation…
Me: “Handiwork Marketing can help you overtake Planned Parenthood in Google searches.”
Marketing Director: “We can’t, we’ll get shut down for that.”
Me: “That’s strange… OK. Do you offer free ultrasounds? We should make a big deal about that and target women looking for free ultrasounds.”
Marketing Director: “We’ll lose our Care-Net and Heartbeat International connections if we use the word Free.”
Me: “What do you do for email marketing?”
Marketing Director: “Our donors are too old. We don’t really do email marketing.”
Me: “Here’s an example of something I do for another clinic. They have a budget of $3000 a month set aside just for this…”
Marketing Director: *interrupts* “WOW! My entire budget is only $1000 a month for all marketing efforts. I have a really small budget!”
The conversation dies and we move to “wrap-up” mode…
Our donors are too old. We don’t really do email marketing.
It was a fast meeting but by the time I left the office, I felt exhausted. The truth was (and I made this truth clear to her), even if she doesn’t want to hire Handiwork Marketing, I want her and her organization to succeed. I could tell she didn’t take a lot of stock in what I said. $12,000/year is something that can be used – and can go a LONG ways but it will require getting a new perspective on marketing and donor nurturing. It’s a small budget for sure, but it’s not that tiny. A ton has been accomplished with far less.
I realized something that I had known but not pinpointed until that specific meeting: Christian pregnancy centers and connected organizations operate in a bit of a “gray area” in society. We target an unpopular subject in the name of an unpopular God. Many choices and decisions are made in the grip of fear. Fear of what the government may or may not do, fear of perception, and fear of running out of money (among other things).
Now look, money is a real issue for many centers and you may find it suspicious that a business that is asking for your money in exchange for the work that we do is making a big deal about this. Having your financial existence depend solely on donations is a tough go and requires a huge element of faith to begin with. Being good stewards of the gifts we are given are what we are called to do, however. The problem is when we become fearful and don’t take steps towards outreach for Christ. The issue is not too dissimilar to the parable of the talents where one of the stewards didn’t invest what the master had given. Much like the third steward in the parable of the talents, Christian organizations can develop a “protectionist” view of what God has provided them and horde it to ensure they are around the next year and the next. What God really wants is investment – and I’d venture a guess that donors want their donations invested wisely.
What God really wants is investment – and I’d venture a guess that donors want their donations invested wisely.
For Christ based pregnancy centers, I don’t care if they want to hire Handiwork Marketing. I mean I’d hope they would seriously consider it – it is how I make a living and provide for my employees and family. In the end, however, I want to help them succeed because that’s where my heart is and that’s where I feel called to be. I know God will take care of my financial needs if I focus on my calling. In essence, this is the same challenge I offer to the reader.
Here’s the truth: any business and/or organization worldwide will put the power of their budget towards their best performing marketing tactics. If your entire budget for a year is $10,000 after paying salaries – you have a budget and you have money that can be invested in the main purpose of your clinic: bringing in abortion-minded women and supporting them to and after a life decision in Christ.
Ok, I’m going to soften up a bit to bring this all around to my main point. Your primary objective as a Christian pregnancy center is to show Christ in the lives of pregnant women and those touched by a potential abortion decision. No one (myself included) knows your budget and what works best for your center better than your team working day to day. I want to encourage you in one way: don’t be afraid to target these women using advertising, marketing, grace, and love. Go ahead, branch out and try something new whether you hire Handiwork Marketing or not. Of course we’re always here for you when you need us.
No matter the size of your budget – even if it is non-existent. Contact us. Maybe we can give you some pointers to help internally. We want every pregnancy center that is focused on showing Christ’s grace to succeed.