Displaying items by tag: state coalition

The Third Realm of Leadership – Part 2: State Coalitions

by Beth Diemert, Director of Affiliate ServicesState Coalitions New

“I didn’t sign up for this!”

That quote may be something that a strong leader in a pregnancy help organization may be tempted to shout—out loud! That’s because Part 2 of the third Realm of Leadership we are addressing is often the most challenging: navigating the complex world of legislators and policymaking.

Many of us entered this calling into pregnancy help with just that—a calling. We knew and were committed to serving women in need with the love and truth we innately possessed, from our own relationship with the One who called us. And many of the same would say that the political side of this issue was not a high motivator.  And yet, here we are.

Legislation in the post-Roe arena has become a very real factor in our ministry, as it has a direct impact on the work we’re doing in our center, clinic, or maternity home. While it can be tempting to avoid this arena altogether, pregnancy help must be represented through engagement with legislators and policymakers. 

Why? Because it is necessary to ensure unborn children are given a chance at life and that women facing unintended pregnancies get the support and resources they need. And that is what we signed up for.

The reality is that our mission, which was once able to serve women in a somewhat quiet and private way very effectively, has now been cast warp speed into an increasingly public, hostile, environment set on eliminating it all together. And that means once again, our methods have to change. The mission remains the same, and the calling remains the same, but fully serving her to the best of our ability must include advocating for her rights and defending the integrity of our good work in a very public space.

How do we do that?

1. First, it means staying informed about the latest laws and regulations that affect your ministry. Finding a trusted advisor within your state that can be your information source is vital. Often this can be a relationship with your like-minded public policy folks who are knee-deep in this arena daily. It also means speaking out and informing others on relevant issues. Become that voice in your community representing life and advocating for your clients in as many venues and events as possible. Build relationships with elected officials. Open the doors wide, invite them in, show them the good work you do, and help them understand what an asset you are in the community. And learn how to make your voice heard at public hearings and meetings. Media training is a must-do!

2. Second, build your brand! Your community needs to know and love you when the hits come! Build your brand around your amazing resources and support! Create community engagement strategies and build strong community relationships. Don’t allow your organization to be the best-kept secret! The goal is to become a household name.

3. Lastly, learning how State Coalitions serve the pregnancy help community well in providing leaders a safe space to confide, collaborate, and create. There is no better time than now to unite and stand strong. There is strength in numbers! In post-Roe America, the pregnancy help community is more robust than ever, and the coalition model is alive and well. Heartbeat currently lists 40 coalitions and contacts on our website, most of them organized at the state level.

Starting a Coalition

Strengthening State Coalitions in this season can happen with simple steps; the most obvious is to start a coalition in states where they don’t currently exist! The great news is that there are plenty of models out there to adopt or adapt, and plenty of great leaders who would be willing to help a new state get started. It can also happen by increasing services that the coalition provides such as increased networking on current issues the state is facing post-Roe, and perhaps starting working groups that can address more specific state issues.

Coalition Classifications

The most strategic opportunity for a coalition in the uncharted waters most states are wading in today, may be the consideration of reorganization. Some coalitions currently may not be a legal entity, they operate loosely with no formal structure. Others may be organized as a 501(c)(3). But with the overturn of Roe that threw legislation back to the states, it might be time to consider a coalition by gaining 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6) status. Both classifications offer more opportunities to lobby and influence legislation within the state. It gives the state’s pregnancy help community a legitimate and stronger voice and lifts some restrictions in place with a 501(c)(3).

Requirements

There are organizational requirements that would need to be heeded in terms of membership and governance, but these are very doable and could prove well worth it. Investigating these models with an attorney and/or CPA is highly recommended. Your first step should be re-visiting your coalition’s mission and solidifying your purpose and calling as a group. Then, determine what classification will best help you reach those goals and objectives.

If you haven’t already, connect with your state coalition and join their efforts in legislative engagement and advocating for life, or create them. We are better together!

As we reminded you earlier in this series, "leading a pregnancy help ministry is not for the faint of heart. It requires skill, dedication, and a deep commitment to the Gospel of Life. By navigating the three realms of leadership, with vision, courage, and grace, you can ensure unborn children are given a chance at life and that women facing unintended pregnancies get the support and resources they need. Keep pressing forward, knowing that your work is noble and necessary..." The Lord is with you, and remember, the legislative community is one more constituency to speak life to!

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To read more in this series, visit the Three Realms of Leadership That Shouldn't Be Ignored.