Archive for the ‘ Virtuous Leadership Stories ’ Category

Legal Do’s and Don’ts for Pregnancy Centers and Other Non-Profits

Many Executives and leaders of non-profits like pregnancy centers do not engage in political issues during the election season for fear of the negative impact it might have on their non-profit status. The attorney Barry Bostrom and his legal firm Bopp, Coleson, & Bostrom have put together a list of activities that we as non-profit organizations can and cannot do. Most pregnancy centers are registered as 501 (c) (3) organizations under the IRS tax code and as such have legal rights to engage in certain kinds of activities to not only protect their organizations but also to further the cause of community change for which their organization exists. To download this very helpful document click the following link:

Political Do’s and Don’ts during Election Season

Some examples of things you can and cannot do as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit pregnancy center are:

(1) Discuss the positions of political candidates on issues: Yes

(2) Endorsement of political candidates: No

(3) Financial contributions to political candidates: No

(4) In-kind Contributions to political candidates: No

(5) Independent expenditures in favor of or against political candidates: No

(6) Fundraising projects for political candidates: No

(7) Contributions to PAC’s: No

(8) Electioneering Communications regarding Federal candidates: Yes

(9) Expenditures related to state referendums: Yes

(12) Appearance of political candidate at meeting: Yes

(14) Voting records Yes

More Abortion-minded Women: Making Your Dream a Reality

An issue came up in a Pregnancy Center Leadership discussion group recently that we as executives think about all the time: “How can we reach more pregnant women truly at risk for abortion?” and its sister question, “How can we serve those women in a way that more consistently helps them have their babies?” The particular conversation centered around an executive of a Pregnancy Center in a Midwestern college town feeling like they are not reaching enough abortion-minded women compared to the number of abortions taking place there.

“What exactly leads you to conclude that you actually have a problem?” I asked. “You have made some logical assumptions but your logic is hidden to the rest of us. I am sure you have already figured this out but it would be helpful for the rest of us to get a really good handle on how you arrived at your concern and more importantly what to do about it. Would you be willing to be a little case study for us by answering the following questions for us to chew on? I believe the old adage is true: What gets measured gets fixed. Perhaps we can analyze this as a group of PRC executives in an effort to not only help you but help each other.

1. How many abortions occur in your area annually? 1000

2. How many abortion providers are in your county? 3

3. What is the primary ethnic, age and educational demographic of those women getting abortions? 18-24 Caucasian with 13 years of completed education (sophomore in college)

4. How many appointments did your organization schedule in 2009? 250

5. How many pregnancy tests were performed in 2009? 125

6. How many of those pregnancy tests were positive? 75

7. How many of those positive test patients did you consider to be ‘at risk for an abortion?’ 60

8. How many pregnant, at risk clients can you serve this year? Maybe 460

9. How many of the pregnant at risk patients received an ultrasound their fist visit? 45

10. How many of those said that they were going to continue the pregnancy at the end of their initial appointment? 38

The dream of this executive is to reach 460 pregnant women seriously considering abortion this year. Her initial impression was that all she needed to do was increase her advertising budget. Based on the information she provided if she wanted to reach all 460 women seriously considering abortion in her area using the organization’s current client trends and percentages she would need to filter through 12,000 client appoints per year!

We have found this scenario to represent the typical pregnancy center. What about your pregnancy center? This executive thought that the answer to her low client volume was more advertising. But there is a deeper issue at play. More advertising will only result in more of the same. The approach the center is taking in order to serve the right women in the right way needs  to be streamlined so they can accomplish their goal. (See Case Study of Omaha, NE Pregnancy Center) Otherwise they will be spending precious resources on women who are either not pregnant or not really at risk for abortion. The solution to this service problem lies at the philosophy of ministry that has been adopted. This pregnancy center while using an ultrasound machine is still in the old paradigm of pregnancy center ministry CompassCare coined the Global Service Model or Client-centered approach. In order for them to reach their goal of serving 460 pregnant at risk women they will need to adopt a new paradigm of ministry CompassCare coined the Linear Service Model (LSM).

For information about how to create a linear service model (LSM) to reach and effectively serve abortion-minded women go to prcoptimizationtool.com.

Be Encouraged, Executives!

The following poem by Rudyard Kipling has fed my soul many times over the years. I hope it will do the same for you. By the way when you see the word “man” please interpret in the broadest sense (e.g. man or woman).

Don't Lose Sight of the Goal

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

A Pregnancy Center Executive’s Journey to an LSM: Wisdom Part B

Walking into the office on his first day George was met with two very valuable surprises.  The first was a phone message from a local doctor saying she wanted to somehow be involved in the organization not knowing in what capacity a non-medical facility could use a medical doctor.  The second was a business card that was given to him by the organization’s client services director, Val.  She had heard this man speak at a conference from which she had recently returned and thought that he may be someone that could be helpful.  His name was Bob.  As George read the card he realized that he knew this man.  Coincidentally, eight years earlier his wife had once worked for Bob in a CPC in the southeast as a counselor coordinator.

Wasting no time George made the call.  “Hi, Bob?  You may not remember me but my name is George Knight.  My wife . . . .”

With that Bob interrupted saying, “Oh, yes, George, how is your wife, Linda?  I really appreciated her servant’s heart.  We miss her around here.”

Surprised by the immediate and warm reception of this most certainly very busy man, Bob asked George to explain the events that led to his being hired as the Executive Director of a CPC in the northeast.  George described how after finishing their master’s degrees in Chicago they moved to Florida so that he could take a position as the pastor of a small church north of Tampa.  George describes, “Bob, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  The church was fraught with issues including moral ones that needed to be addressed.  When I attempted to address some of those issues, the people that held most of the influence pushed back telling me to leave things alone.  Finally, it became clear to me that at the next church business meeting I would have to make a decision about my tenure there.  One of the hot button issues was going to be decided upon and if the church voted the wrong way I would have to choose to either stay and look the other way knowing that something was gravely wrong or take a stand and ultimately resign my position.  The church business meeting was scheduled for the next Wednesday.  That Monday, just two days before, I received a call from the interim executive saying that the board of Crisis Pregnancy Services had received and reviewed my resume wondered if I was available for a conference call interview that same day.  In describing the situation to the interim executive saying that my preference was to remain as pastor bBut if the situation did not change I could not in good conscience do so.  We both agreed that a board interview would not hurt anything.  To make a long story short the board unanimously decided to extend an offer to me that evening should God free me from my current situation.  Two and a half weeks later we had moved.

With that Bob exclaimed, “George, welcome to the club.  How can I help you?”

“Well, here we are in a medium size town with a small operation.  Furthermore, I know virtually nothing about running a pregnancy center.  What do you think is the first thing I should do?” asked George.

“First let me take a minute and applaud the fact that you are seeking wisdom.  In the Bible the book of Proverbs 4:7 says, ‘The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.’  George, to me the fact that we are even having a conversation says that you are off to a great start.  Keep seeking understanding about what it is you should do and you will be rewarded.  Never stop seeking wisdom because you will never have enough. The world continues to change around us and the understanding you had yesterday will not be enough to handle tomorrow.”

“Thank you for your encouraging words, Bob.  But you know, I truly feel at a loss as to where to even begin.”

“Well,” began Bob, “your staff are key to your organization’s success and there are two things you must never fail to do for them; a) provide them with the resources they need to do their jobs and b) provide them with clear direction.  You can start by spending a little money on showing them how much you appreciate them.  Do you have any money in the bank?”

“A little.”

“If your organization is anything like the other organizations I’ve seen in the past the staff does not get paid very much.  So do whatever you can to thank them for their dedicated service.  It is they who will be accomplishing the mission.  Give them bonuses, buy Christmas gifts, and take them out to lunch.  Do as much as you can within reason to show them you really appreciate the sacrifices they have made for the organization.  It will be worth every penny in the moral boost you will gain from it.”

“O.K.,” George scribbled down another note on a piece of paper a little reticent about spending the precious dollars he new they would need in the not-so-distant future.  “What next?” asked George.

“Then,” said Bob, “you need to start digging.  If you are going to provide direction for your staff you need to know more about what it will take to get where you want to go.  Do your homework about what it will take to add a medical service to your operation in your State.  It would be good to locate a doctor that would be willing to work with you.”  George smiled at the note on his desk from the doctor offering to volunteer.  “Other than that, just settle in and start to get to know some of your donors.  You’ll need money pretty soon in order to sustain a more professional service like medical care.”

After a few more miscellaneous questions the conversation ended with Bob expressing confidence in George’s ability to accomplish the lofty task of moving toward a medical model of service leaving the door open for George to call again any time.  George new that the wisdom he had just received was solid gold and he wanted more.  He looked down at his notes after he hung up the phone and reviewed what he wrote.

See the post next week for Executive application of Wisdom virtue for a linear service model or click HERE to go to the CompassCare Training website for a suggested reading list.

A Pregnancy Center Executive’s Journey to an LSM: Wisdom Part A

Two months in to his new role as Executive Director at Crisis Pregnancy Services George Knight sat starring down at the city street from his second floor Executive office.  It was a nice office but the walk up the cavernous lonely stairwell from the busy city sidewalk felt a lot like being transported into a private detective novel where the PI’s office was in an old ACME building complete with metal desks and Spartan wooden chairs.  A chill wind was blowing and somehow managed to find its way through the failed molding of the big windows that were part of the old 1900 brick façade.  It was only 3 P.M. and already it was starting to get dark there up near the boarder of Canada.  The cloudy sky did not help to brighten things up.  Sitting there he wondered what it would really take as an Executive to turn around this small, fledgling non-profit Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC).  He wondered . . . would a handful of volunteers, no professional services to speak of, few clients being served from day to day, and just three part time staff be enough to bring the organization to a new level of professional medical service?  Not to mention the fact that the annual budget was just a little over $100,000 supported by a couple hundred small but committed donors.  Yet they did have $48,000 in the bank to invest in rejuvenating the organization.  Secretly though George wondered if it would be enough.

Balancing What You Have with Where You Need to Go

The Board of Directors brought George on with the primary commission of converting the operation from a traditional lay counseling CPC to one that offered professional medical services to women facing unplanned pregnancy.  The board felt that the organization was not reaching the women the organization was created to help; pregnant women who were at risk for an abortion.  They reasoned that adding a professional medical service like ultrasound technology could be the one thing that may make the organization appear more relevant to the women they needed to reach.  George did not question that assumption at first.  However, adding medical services was not an easy task especially in a State where this was uncharted territory as well as a State that seemed to over legislate everything.  Added to that the town had a history of being pro-abortion, and currently housed 13 practices that provided abortion with an estimated 8000 abortions occurring in town annually.  The competition for the attention of the women facing unplanned pregnancy was almost overwhelming.  Additionally the organization and its supporters were grieving the untimely death of the previous executive who George was replacing.  But George felt a deep sense of commitment, as if God Himself had called him to this mission of reversing the abortion trend in the community.  And therefore in his more optimistic moments believed that the resources he had at his disposal would be enough to get that little organization where it needed to go.  Two things George new for sure: 1) He did not know enough to get this job done on his own and 2) He knew some people that might be able to help.

For case studies of pregnancy centers that have implemented a comprehensive linear service model click here.

Virtuous Leadership and a Linear Service Model Part 1

Virtuous Leadership and a Linear Service Model (LSM) Part 1: As goes the Executive so goes the organization.

Virtuous Leadership=Focused Organization

In the process of both running a medical PRC and helping others to develop and operate their medical PRCs it occurred to me that there are certain questions all of us PRC Executives need to have answered.  Questions like:
-How can we get more abortion-minded women to call our center?
-How can we get more abortion-minded women who call to schedule an appointment?
-How can we get more of those who schedule an appointment to show?
-How can we get more of the women we see to have their babies?
-How can I as an executive get more control over the organization and out of the daily grind of wondering just how effective our counseling methods really are and know for sure?
These questions are linked to each other and often if you answer one you solve another.  The good news is that the answers to these questions are available.  Even better than that many center executives are experiencing the freedom and comfort that comes with knowing that their organization is accomplishing the mission of reaching and effectively serving women at risk for abortion better than they ever dreamed they could right now.  The next few posts are written to address these questions.  It is my hope they will help propel you as an executive as well as the organization which you lead to a higher level of effectiveness than you ever let yourself believe was possible.

In the process of thinking through how to convey the answers to the most pressing questions every PRC executive seems to share, something occurred to me; there is only one guarantee for success.  I have seen many organizations face the difficult questions, make difficult decisions about how to answer those questions, and go on to greater effectiveness at reaching and serving women facing unplanned pregnancies, while others do not.  At first glance the organization that ultimately succeeds at that worthiest of all goals versus the one that does appear the same.  But after having observed and worked with both types of PRCs over the years, a key difference began to emerge between them.  But that key difference was not manifesting as the usual suspects such as a specific type of operation.  It was not that one offered a specific service like ultrasound technology and the other did not. Nor was it dependant on access to money.  It was not even that the successful organizations had developed a strategic plan, because unsuccessful ones had too.  What we began to notice was that while the organizations that were effective and gained greater effectiveness at reaching and serving women at risk for abortion were the ones that were committed to sticking to their strategic plan and creating systems of service to intentionally improve (LSM), there seemed to be an underlying driving force to that commitment.  These organizations had the fortitude to do the really, really hard work of facing their brutal reality and creating a new reality through focused action.  Incidentally it is difficult to have consistently focused activity without a strategic plan driving the development of the approaches that are taken to accomplish the mission. But the specifics of a strategic plan seem to be secondary.

Admittedly, I was a little surprised at the revelation that the specific details of a strategic plan were secondary to just simply having and religiously sticking to that plan.  The end result is almost always some level of a step by step Linear Service Model. You must forgive my bias toward the value of the CompassCare LSM.  However, once my proverbial eyes adjusted to the light of this new revelation we started asking ourselves:  “What made some organizations able to pursue a strategic plan while others seemed content to let their strategic plan, if they had one, sit on the shelf?”

Over time we began to observe a common element in pregnancy centers that continued to get better and better at their mission.  At the heart of the organizations that were able to purse a strategic plan and enjoy the resulting benefits of a more or less linear service process for reaching and serving the high risk abortion-minded woman was the activity of a particular person; the executive.

We began to realize that the activity of a PRC, over the course of time, reflected the behavior and expectations of the person who occupied the  executive director position.  In fact this realization became so obvious that we began using the following phrase in all our PRC Linear Service training:  “As goes the executive so goes the organization.”

In part 2 we will discuss the role of personal virtue in executive leadership and what its practical implications are for developing and implementing an effective linear service model (LSM).

Check out the results of a pregnancy center in Omaha, NE after their executive, Michelle Sullivan, decided to implement a Linear Service Model by clicking here.