Fostering Year-Round Engagement

by Tracie Shellhouse, Vice President of Ministry ServicesFostering Year-Round Engagement

Sanctity of Human Life (SOHL) Month, marks a pivotal time for your pregnancy help organization (PHO) to engage your local churches and community. While this month serves as a poignant reminder of the intrinsic value of all human life, it also presents a unique opportunity to increase community awareness, develop new relationships, and strengthen established partnerships through ongoing support and advocacy.

Strategies to facilitate year-round engagement:

Relationship Building:

Use this month as a platform to initiate and fortify relationships. Offer to speak about the sanctity of human life and the power of pregnancy help in January and throughout the year. Engage local church leaders, congregations, and community groups through church services, events, and forums discussing the sanctity of human life. Be ready to meet new people—potential volunteers, donors, and even clients—and build rapport, exchange ideas, and showcase the life-transforming work of your organization. Consider creating a short, up-to-date video about the mission and impact of your PHO and offer it to churches that can’t accommodate a speaker but are willing to include it in their services.

Education and Resources:

During Sanctity of Human Life (SOHL) Month, in January, presentations make it clear that honoring and protecting life is a year-round ministry. Share your plans and hopes for the year ahead. Mention your upcoming events and share the types of educational opportunities your PHO can provide for interested groups: pro-life apologetics seminars, topical workshops (adoption, trauma-informed care, sex trafficking intervention), abortion-recovery support, and sexual integrity presentations. Encourage continuous education through your training and workshop events, point them to your online presence for more resources, and offer them practical tools they can use throughout the year.

Collaborative Initiatives:

Partner with local churches to empower them to support pregnancy help through your center by...

  • facilitating support groups like Embrace Grace
  • encouraging Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs to do community-wide diaper drives
  • supporting mentorship programs for dads and moms at Boys and Girls Clubs and through Head Start programs
  • providing services at health fairs alongside your local health department
  • exhibit at church mission conferences

This collaborative approach fosters shared responsibility, increases awareness in your community, and invites others to join you in supporting expectant mothers and families. When scheduled throughout the year, these events will keep your PHO engaged with your community, provide ample opportunities for local media coverage, and your collaborating organizations will even help promote your brand and services.

Consistent Communication:

Regularly update churches and community partners about events, success stories, and upcoming opportunities through annual reports, newsletters, social media, and personal interactions. Attend partnered organizations' events to show that you support them, too. You can drop by a business’s open house, attend the Exchange Club’s auction, or volunteer at the Chamber of Commerce’s back-to-school bash. Connect in ways that let people know you “see” them. Acknowledging faithful donors can be as easy as penning, “God is touching and saving lives through your support!" at the bottom of their donation receipt. A phone call, a praise report via text message, or a short email can be touching and inspiring. And, lastly, don’t overlook the impact of sending an occasional handwritten thank you note or timely card (holidays, birthdays, life events). Keep it simple. Share a milestone achieved or miraculous “save” made possible through their support. Today, people rarely receive “happy mail,” and when we do it feels special.

You may already be doing some or all of the strategies presented above. If you are just getting started or trying to decide where to begin, I encourage you to lean into the process—it will be worth it.

1. First, choose one or two new strategies to implement. Take time to evaluate and adjust them to fit your ministry’s needs. These efforts will produce a harvest that will likely surprise you! As you gain momentum, you can choose other strategies to implement.

2. Second, don’t be a lone ranger. Build a team of board members, volunteers, and paid personnel to help with donor and community engagement. Share donor and partner touchpoint opportunities (phone calls, texts, emails, and thank you notes) with your team members who enjoy making connections and building relationships. Just three of you making one connection each day of the workweek could produce 60 meaningful donor connections a month. Imagine the possibilities! Train seasoned staff and board members to represent your PHO at speaking engagements, events, and exhibits. With a bench of trained representatives to call on, your ministry can be simultaneously present at multiple events and you can accept more speaking engagements than ever before. And as your PHO's opportunities and impact increase, you may be surprised to find that your workload may not. John Heywood wrote, “Many hands make light work,” almost 500 years ago. This proverb still rings true today.

By leveraging the momentum and awareness generated during Sanctity of Human Life Month, you can increase your network of dedicated supporters and advocates who—united for life—will create lasting change and affirm the sanctity of life every single day of the year.