When “Cecilia” arrived at Pregnancy Center West last year, she was visibly pregnant and her mind was made up: She was going to have an abortion.
Mary Ann Mason, a volunteer advocate at the Cincinnati center, sensed the urgency of the situation.
Cecilia had already had one abortion years before. Now, between her and her husband, she had 5 children. She did not consider adoption a choice for her unborn baby because she had been abused as a foster child herself.
Instead, Cecilia had already told her children that their unborn sibling was going to heaven.
Mason talked with Cecilia, drawing on her faith. She asked what her children might think of what would become of their unborn baby brother or sister.
“God worked through me and gave me the right reasoning to present to her and the right words to say,” Mason said. “I asked her what God was telling her to do. After thinking about it, she admitted that God was telling her not to abort the baby.”
Tweet This: Hoping to help more moms choose life, #prolife center launches YouTube ad campaign.
When Cecilia left, Mason cried tears of joy. But this was just the beginning of their relationship. Throughout the rest of Cecilia’s pregnancy, the two would foster a relationship that would lead to powerful moment: Cecilia asking Mason to be her baby’s godmother. Mason was overwhelmed.
“I’ve been so excited about this baby’s life,” Mason said. “I’ve enjoyed being part of her life. I can’t stay in touch with every girl I come in contact with at the center, but God spoke to me that I should continue to be there for Cecilia in the small ways that I can.”
Reaching More Women Like Cecilia
It’s stories like Cecilia’s that has Pregnancy Center West working so hard to reach more women right now.
Every year, over 2,000 abortions are performed in Hamilton County, Ohio, where PCW is based. Planned Parenthood is the only surgical abortion facility in Cincinnati, although another facility does RU-486 chemical abortions about 45 minutes away.
“We know that we are in a high-risk geography based on stats provided by the Department of Health,” PCW development director Bill Schinkal said. “We know that we are in an area that serves zip codes that are among the higher rates of abortions. We know there's a need, and we know that we have a lot of value to add to that process for these young women in times of crisis because of the distinctions we have with our faith and our care and the compassion that our volunteers add to that process. That's the core of our identity and our mission is to have that opportunity to meet with these clients at that time to provide life affirming guidance.”
But even though abortion rates have remained relatively consistent in Cincinnati, PCW’s pregnancy tests have been declining over the past four years. This became glaringly obvious after the center began strategic planning last March.
“That was something that we were trying desperately to remedy knowing that that service is still needed, just wondering as to why those numbers keep going down,” PCW executive director Nicole Santaella said. “Is it because pregnancy tests are so much cheaper? Is it because of Planned Parenthood? Access to medical care? There were lots of questions that we kind of worked through but wondering if there was a way that we could reach out to them as an alternative. Of course, free is still better than $4 or $5 at the local drugstore.”
The solution her team came up with was digital advertising. Schinkal had connections with a digital advertising company from his last job and recommended bringing them in. The company presented an array of options to PCW, from Facebook ads to Google pay-per-click ads. But the center simply didn’t have the budget for them all.
They decided to go with one: YouTube TrueView ads. Though the cost was still outside their budget, the team connected with a donor who was willing to cover it.
With guidance from the PCW team, the ad company created a one-minute video targeted at women between the ages of 18 to 35 in the surrounding zip codes. Its message is to pregnant women wondering, “What now?” and are looking for emotional support and material resources.
Since the video was published at the end of January, it has made nearly 100,000 impressions and received over 73,000 views.
In terms of clients, Santaella says the ad is delivering results.
“We’ve had quite a few clients come in,” she said. “We kind of filtered them because they'll say they either saw us on TV or their computer, so either one of those responses we attribute to this ad.”
Schinkal adds that the video is driving traffic to their website as well.
With as successful as the ad as been so far, Santaella doesn’t plan on stopping it any time soon.
“I know it's bringing people in the door. I know it's working,” Santaella said. “We're planning on running this for the next year as long as it's bringing clients in the door.”