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Thursday, 02 April 2020
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Loving our neighbor, winning the PR battle Susan Kirsch/Unsplash

Loving our neighbor, winning the PR battle

While many of us don’t see it every day, we in the pregnancy help community fight a continuing PR war with those who profit from ending pregnancies. 

Those who oppose us plant stories in the media, create questionable—and often outright false—reports and studies which attack our credibility, then lobby their friends in state houses across the country to pass laws to handcuff our work.

Any morning, we may wake up to an online attack on our branding, marketing efforts or service models. 

In corporate terms, it’s “the cost of doing business.” 

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Without being conspiratorial, let’s face facts: The abortion industry is out to shut us down.

To be fair however, there will be no tears of sadness on our end when the abortion industry shutters its doors. Yet, our strategy focuses on things like love, hope and practical help. Obviously, there’s a difference.

Part of our mission? Highlighting the difference between our community and those who attempt to tear us down. This is the public relations battle we face. 

Tweet This: Part of the pregnancy help community's mission is highlighting the difference between our community and those who attempt to tear us down

Surprisingly, winning this battle is far less complicated than we might think. 

The man they called Jesus won the hearts of everyday people. 

If we want to use business terms, His “marketing plan” was simple: Do good and invite others to do the same (“Love your neighbor as yourself”). 

One more thing: He never asked for anything in return, only offering anyone the opportunity to follow Him if they wished.

By following this model, we accomplish two objectives: 

First, by actively doing good and loving our neighbor, we reflect Jesus, who we claim to follow.

Second, we win the hearts of the people so that when we are attacked by opposition, the overwhelming majority in our community shakes its collective head and says, “No way. I know these people and our community is better because of them.”

How do we accomplish this? A few thoughts:

Churches

We talk about the need to partner with churches, and this is important. But too many ministries and organizations go to churches with their hands out (“Please, we must be in your budget!”). 

Why don’t we build a relationship instead? Bringing coffee and donuts to the staff, hosting a fun and entertaining evening for pastors and their spouses—these are ways to build relationships and trust.

As we go further with churches, we can offer our post-abortion recovery initiatives, sexual risk avoidance programs and more. And perhaps, churches will benefit from resources we can provide on how to deal lovingly and truthfully with the challenging issue of abortion.

With our churches, let’s focus on winning hearts. If we do this, the natural result can be a loyal relationship which stands strong when others try to tear us down.

Community agencies

Often, we face tension with governmental health agencies and similar health or assistance organizations. 

They fear we are competition and many times their perception of our work is tainted by false information. 

Our best response may not be providing more information but instead offering kindness.

Kindness may look like providing snacks for the staff one day, or lunch! We might ask if they need our help. Is there a way we can serve them? We don’t have to agree on every issue to find ways to assist.

If we start with loving our neighbor, there’s a much better chance they will want to know more about us. By building a foundation of kindness—without agendas--we open the door for helpful conversations. 

Nina Strehl/Unsplash

Community events

Is our organization an active, engaged member of the Chamber of Commerce in our community? In other words, are we doing our part to cheer on our local businesses and the rest of our city?

Or, when our town or city has a fair, are we there to promote our agenda only? It’s interesting because when many of us have booths at community fairs, the emphasis seems to be on pregnancy help or the pro-life issue.

While it’s certainly good to have our information available at our booth, have we thought of a way to become the destination for anyone who attends the fair or marketplace event? Let’s bring fun and laughter to our community events, meeting the needs of those who attend and building goodwill in the community.

When we do this, we send a powerful, positive message of who we are—which is vital when someone needs our help down the road.

The bottom line

Our calling to present life is so important, I get it when we focus on this exclusively. Whenever there is an event, whenever we connect with someone in our community, there is a tug at our conscience, telling us we must represent this calling.

Though our passion is commendable and often needed, without realizing it, we may sometimes be skipping a step. 

Anyone who studies leadership has heard, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care—about them.” 

Modifying this for our work, we might say, “The average person doesn’t care how pro-life you are, until you show them how pro - their - life you are.”

If we want our community to know us and trust us, perhaps our first calling is to support and build our community, so that when our time comes to speak, everyone knows us well enough to want to listen to what we have to say.

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau. He can also be found at www.kirkwalden.com

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