Displaying items by tag: leadership

A Disney “Dad” Does It Right

by Jor-El Godsey, President of Heartbeat InternationalMandalorian Fathers Day final

Yes, I know that Disney has veered from the wholesome family framework that made for such successes as Swiss Family Robinson, The Incredibles, and Pinocchio’s Geppetto. Indeed, much of their live-action material can hardly find even a single father figure worth emulating.

But there is one example that arises from the Star Wars universe.

The massive hit, The Mandalorian (especially season one), burst on the scene in 2019 with a new face, err, helmet, with Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin, the title role. (Note: For the six of you who haven’t heard of the story at all, there are slight spoilers ahead.) The Mandalorian is a bounty hunter, a profession not known for its genteel manners and soft people skills.

The storyline finds the Mandalorian on a bounty hunt for a particular creature whom the world soon knows only as “Baby Yoda.” (If I need to explain who Yoda is, you should just stop reading now and watch and come back after you watched Star Wars movies 5, 6, 1, 2, and 3, in that order.)

The cuteness factor of baby Yoda captures hearts of all kinds, including that of the grizzled bounty hunter, Din Djarin, the Mandalorian. For the entirety of the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, Grogu is referred to as “the child.” Masterfully rendered through puppetry and computer graphics imagery (CGI) the character evokes powerful aspects of a child. We only learn, later, that baby Yoda is named Grogu.

What follows is the Mandalorian’s transformation from bounty hunter to an unexpected father figure for Grogu, a.k.a. baby Yoda. This includes integrating into the clan-like culture of Mandalore. “You are a clan of two” the Armorer of the warrior race declares.

Just like some of the dads we encounter in our pregnancy help outreach, the Mandalorian is called to take up a mantle he did not plan on. He’s uncomfortable and even clumsy in how he steps into the role. But soon the call to protect and provide is stronger than what even his own culture has taught him. “Wherever I go, he goes,” says Din Djarin casting aside the lone wolf nature of his bounty hunter persona.

Dads are called to be providers and protectors of their children. Father’s Day is a time to celebrate that call and the efforts all fathers make toward that high and lofty aspiration. Some do so better than others. All dads pale in comparison to the unconditional love of our Father in Heaven (Jeremiah 31:3).

Of course, dads are not just those who contribute to the genetics of a baby. They are those who take up the mantle of being involved in the life of a child. Along with being a birth father and everyday dad from that moment, fathers arise through adoption or even mentorship. Fatherhood happens in traditional and blended families. Living under the same roof or actively engaged at a distance.

Men demonstrate fatherhood with intentional activities and exemplary actions. In that way, the Mandalorian demonstrated fathering for the "child.” Our Father in Heaven surely inspired the catchphrase for the show, “This is the way.”

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).


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!


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

Storytelling and Statistics

by Cindi Boston-Bilotta, Vice President of Mission Advancement, Heartbeat International

You are incredible change-makers in your community. You plan, follow through, inspire, sacrifice, lead, and come alongside women who will make life-and-death decisions. Their lives are changed forever because of what you do!

But how do you communicate success to your financial partners?

A 2022 Stanford Social Innovation Review study gave a comparable view with metrics shifting donations from charities with only a good pitch to those with supportive results. When combined with a good pitch, including “features” of an organization, metrics create a winning combination. More than 70 percent of surveyed donors said they care about metrics.

Interesting! Donors desire an emotional connection to their giving and want data-driven investment. The goal of donor care is to respect the interests and passions of donors. But how do you communicate the success so your financial sponsors so they can grasp the storyline in statistics? We show change through storytelling and relevant metrics to show return on investment.

When storytelling and statistics are combined in publications, articles, thank you notes, public relations, and conversations, your donors will grow a stronger connection to your organization as you show evidence that their investment makes a difference.

With a healthy donor care plan, several critical components must be in place to create strong donor relationships and trust. The Donor Loyalty Cycle, created by Veritus Group, gives us a glimpse:

Donor Cycle

In every stage, metrics complement storytelling to assist a donor in understanding the mission and the donor’s role as a change-maker. Here are a few examples:

Create Awareness – share the need – use community health department data to prove the need of the population you serve – the number of pregnant women, an estimate of women using chemical abortion, the long-term impacts of fatherless families or under-educated single moms, etc. Prove the need and then show how your programs will impact for the better.

Ask – match the interests of your donors with your programs. After showing the need, use data to predict your impact if you were to start or upgrade a program. Inspire a donor by matching their interests to a program growth goal. If they love the Ultrasound program, give stats showing a greater rate of life choices after an ultrasound. Then, share a moving story to bring in the emotion of a powerful story.

Acknowledge and Affirm – contact financial partners early and often about how their investment changes lives. Donors want to know how metrics reveal a conversion for your clients. Statistics open the eyes of a donor to the relevance of their gifts. They can see the impact on your clients. They are helping create a hopeful future for families.

Report – communication reminds sponsors that their monthly gift, quarterly pledge, or donation to a specific need or program will give them a sense of purpose and create an in-depth view of what their funds have accomplished through quotes, stories, pictures, and return on investment.

Motivate – inspire so donors are moved and consider giving again. They will see the impact of their gift and, as you give them new opportunities to provide again, will likely re-invest in your programs.

A written and verbal report can balance emotional stories, quotes, and incredible outcomes. Recently, a Heartbeat donor cried as he related to the desperation of a client's story. The stories and stats reminded him that we are creating safer spaces for moms, dads, and babies. We are preserving the branches of family trees. We share the love of Christ on behalf of donors who may never meet the clients they help. Change, shown through stories and statistics, inspires and motivates our generous donors.

Stories and statistics are a dynamic duo used to create interest, develop loyalty, and inform our financial sponsors that they are vital to our mission.

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Planning: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Quote Mark TwainMany a well-thought-out strategy under-delivers its potential because there is no continuing framework for implementing it…no workable plan. How do we go from the choices of the ends and means of strategy to the steps and tasks of execution?

If we’re like many, we fail to see planning as distinct work in its own right. Rather, we think planning is something to rush through so we can get on with the work. Not so. Planning is a creative act, using the imagination God gave us to see something in our mind’s eye that does not currently exist and determine how to bring it to life. It’s parallel to God’s process of creation, except He can speak things into existence and we have to work things into existence.

How do we begin? Here’s an illuminating comment from a perhaps unexpected source. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

As an aside, in most cases working as a group will yield better plans than working on our own. Why is this? First, each member of the group brings a different array of knowledge and experience to the process. Second, members of the group build off the ideas of others in ways that can’t happen working alone. Third, the time when others are speaking in the conversation creates mental space for new connections that often does not occur when we’re on our own.

Back to the business at hand. At this link, Workplan, available for you to print, is a simple worksheet for breaking your complex tasks into manageable ones and beginning to get them done. Let me explain the columns:

  • Projects/tasks. This column is for breaking what has to be done into projects and tasks. The definitions are simple: a project is something that has more than one task. A task is something someone can commit to accomplishing within a certain period of time. For example, in the worksheet, I’ve shown “launch new website” as a project and typical steps as tasks.

  • Responsible. In all my work with groups, I’ve never had one that did not answer this question correctly in unison: If everyone is responsible, who’s responsible? Right, if everyone is responsible, no one's responsible. So this column is for assigning a single person responsibility for the project or subordinate tasks. To be clear, the person responsible may or may not be doing all the work, but regardless they are responsible for ensuring the work gets done.

  • Resources. In this column, we think through in advance all that will be needed to complete the work. (In a similar vein, see Luke 14:28.) For the most part, resources fall into three categories:
    • People. Who will help? Who from within your organization will contribute? What outside contacts can you tap? What areas of expertise or experience will you need, whether within or outside of your current circles to complete the work involved?
    • Money. Many things dictated by our strategy choices—especially significant, high-leverage ones—require funding. Sometimes those funds are in the budget; sometimes it is a separate task to raise funds for the project. It’s important to be specific about the amount of money needed. It’s not enough in this column to say “funding” or “money.” Taking the website project as an example, if no one on the team has an estimate of what it costs to develop a website, getting an estimate becomes a task.
    • Things. Even in today’s increasingly digital world, there are still things that are needed…a desk, a chair, a computer, a server, a screwdriver, a wrench. These may be things we have in hand that can be allocated to the project; they may also be things we have to freshly acquire.

  • Timing. If we want to finish something eventually, we have to start it at a point in time. Every task, regardless of how small, has a duration, the amount of time it will take to complete. My wife will tell you after decades of experience, if I estimate a task will take a half hour, it will take at least an hour, if not an hour and a half, or even the whole morning. We need to be clear-eyed about establishing reasonable time parameters, reflecting not only the task itself but also taking into account other duties, obligations or commitments of those involved.

  • Sequence. Taking the first column next, the Sequence column acknowledges that we won’t necessarily think of projects or tasks in the order they will eventually be done. Attempting to think of the work in sequence may, in fact, slow down the creative process. The Sequence column gives us permission and a process for sorting out the order of the operations once they’ve all been identified.

  • Status. The Status column is the power column of the plan. When the team meets, after exchanging pleasantries and prayer, those responsible report the status of their tasks or projects in one of three categories: completed, on track, or off track. That gives us the opportunity to applaud workers and work completed; encourage those involved with tasks that are on track, but not yet done; and have a discussion about items that are off track. The intent of off track discussions is not guilt, blame and shame, but rather to apply the best thinking of the group to getting the matter back on track or, in some cases, concluding the task shouldn’t be done at all and should be taken off the plan. In essence, then, your workplan becomes the primary agenda item for your current meeting and the vehicle for planning what’s to be done between meetings.

Bringing the series to a close, in February, we discussed direction decisions—things like mission and vision. In March we talked about bridging from those high-level concepts by developing a strategy—choices of ends and means to fulfill your organization’s purpose. Finally, this month we’ve offered a simple framework for reliably translating strategy into robust plans for getting things done.

Assignment: Sometime soon, compare your processes to those discussed in the past three months. What elements of them could you adopt to make your processes more robust and your outcomes more reliable?

Zeke Swift is a Heartbeat International Board member and has facilitated strategy development with more than 40 for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises and groups over the past 20 years. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The True Value of Virtual Conference

by Tracie Shellhouse, MCLC, LAS, Vice President of Ministry Services, Heartbeat International

As you may know, the 2023 Heartbeat International Annual Conference sold out for in-person experience and had a robust list of virtual attendees. We understand that while we would love to meet you in person, it's not always possible for everyone in the pro-life movement. We're happy to announce the virtual experience again this year for our annual conference.

Don't let the obstacles of not attending in person keep you from joining us virtually. Since we offer workshops for every role in the pro-life movement, we've created options for you to "bring" your whole team!Virtual Conf Banner SLC

Two Virtual Options

1. Basic virtual access that provides access to all of the virtual-only conference for 14 days, or
2. Expanded virtual access that provides access to all of the virtual-only conference content and select in-person recorded content for 21 days.

Four Fully Virtual Add-on Options

+ Individual Basic Access - $99 ( Virtual Conference Workshops)
Individual Expanded Access - $149 ( Virtual Conference Workshops + Select In-Person Workshops)
+ Group Expanded Access (up to 5) - $479 (Virtual Conference Workshops + Select In-Person Workshops)
+ Enterprise Expanded Access (unlimited) - $989 (Virtual Conference Workshops + Select In-Person Workshops)

Tips to Make it HappenApril 24 26 2024 Social Media Images verse

  1. Bring in extra manpower.

    In 2020, an organization where I was Executive Director, was running at a lowered capacity due to the pandemic. Shortly thereafter, to allow staff to engage fully in attending workshops and creating connections, I would bring in extra volunteers to cover the office operations and only set appointments for the virtual attendees outside the conference schedule. Today, your organization may be experiencing a season where it's operating at a lower staff/volunteer capacity. If so, take the next couple of weeks to schedule some extra "manpower" to ensure staff and volunteers have the opportunity to garner the invaluable knowledge provided through our Conference experience.

  2. Empower and encourage volunteers to attend.

    I’m convinced that encouraging volunteers to participate has the potential to strengthen your organization significantly. Investing in a few special volunteers willing to commit to the training, will likely produce greater commitment and engagement from them at our center. And, with training available for every role in the pro-life movement, utilizing our comprehensive Agenda, it will be easy to schedule workshops with staff as they pertain to their respective roles.

  3. Take full advantage of the training available.

    With enough paid (and volunteer) staff registered, you can make sure they attend all the workshops they don’t want to miss. Next, you can debrief and identify workshops that can be used to train current and future volunteers. Then, order those workshop recordings and use them for in-services and additions to our training curriculum.

Most pregnancy help organizations can’t take everyone to the conference in person; some of us must stay home and keep the centers open and running. Justifying the investments for travel, food, and lodging costs for staff members can also be a challenge. There are still options! Providing training for your team through our virtual conference is a great way to re-inspire and re-ignite passion for the work they are doing. Affirming your teams in this way can transform your organization!

Finally, when we participate in workshops presented by those within the movement, it affirms that God calls whomever He wants. Our experiences, backgrounds, and methods are not the same. Yet here we are, unified by our callings and commitment to the mission of pregnancy help, where we belong.

And that, perhaps more than anything, is the true value of participating in the Virtual Conference. 

learn more about virtual conference

Pregnancy Help Organizations = Reproductive Health Care Providers

by Andrea Trudden, Vice President of Communications & Marketing
Heartbeat InternationalPositiveTest

Have you heard the term "Reproductive Health Care Provider" before? If you are like me, the phrase brings to mind "Reproductive Rights" and therefore I automatically think of Abortion Facilities. But I would be wrong.

As a pregnancy help organization, you provide reproductive health care through a variety of means for women: abstinence education, pregnancy tests, limited ultrasounds, and in some cases, STI/STD testing and prenatal care. We are blessed to have healthcare professionals on staff or volunteering at pregnancy centers across the nation, using their God-given gifts to help the mission and care for women at one of the most delicate times in their lives. 

This nuance of language is important as we navigate new waters that are sometimes putting pregnancy centers in harm's way through abortion-related violent extremism. 

Leveraging the label "Reproductive Health Care Provider" properly appropriates language that actually applies more to us, who discuss all options, than those who only favor abortion. In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) identifies pregnancy help centers as "Reproductive Health Care Providers"  which empowers them (the DOJ) to do more to protect you from threats of violence under the FACE Act.To pull from our Protect Your PHO page: 


The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (“FACE Act”) likely applies to your center and could be a very powerful tool in dealing with protestors. The FACE Act prohibits violent, threatening, damaging and obstructive behavior toward anyone obtaining or providing reproductive health services. Violators of the FACE Act could be fined or even imprisoned. The Act also provides civil remedies to the victims, including compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief. The FACE Act provides for statutory damages, making it even easier to recover money from protesters who violate it. If protesters outside your clinic attempt to block or impede access to the clinic, to intimidate your clients, or cause property damage, please contact Heartbeat to discuss your options. We have been informed that from the FBI's perspective, pregnancy help organizations are covered under the FACE Act.

It is important for us to be aware of what laws exist that we can use to help protect our organizations and push back against violent extremists. While we are glad that the physical attacks against pregnancy help organizations have lessened, it is important that we remain vigilant and have a clear understanding of our rights.

The work we do is good. Our clients know it, our supporters know it, and we know it. Keep up the life-changing work you do!

Practical Tip #1: Review Protect Your PHO with your staff and Board. 

Practical Tip #2: Sign up for tomorrow's webinar - The "8Ds" of Risk Management (October 12, 2022 at 12pm EST), presented by Darin J Goodwiler MBA, CCEP, Samaritan's Purse VP of Compliance and Risk/CCRO. In this webinar, you'll learn the methodology of a risk management assessment that measures and evaluates risks to people, facilities, infrastructure, internal controls, and reputations. This thorough assessment has been taught for 30 years and will provide you with an effective framework to help you ensure that you have all your bases covered to keep your organization protected!

register now


On November 9, 1998, the Department of Justice established the Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers. The Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice chairs the Task Force, and the Task Force Director is an attorney with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division. The Task Force is staffed by attorneys and other staff from the Civil Rights, Criminal and National Security Divisions of the Department of Justice, and by investigators and other representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the United States Marshals Service (USMS).

Are your policies preventing missional success in this changing environment?

deceptionWith laws recently passed (TX Heartbeat Bill) and legislation pending (Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health) along with many others, we believe this is a “must-read” for Boards and Leadership teams of Pregnancy Help Clinics.

Now is the time, at the board level through the entire organization, to re-visit your Policy & Procedures (along with your Medical Director) to ensure they are inclusive of all that is necessary to empower a woman to make a life-affirming decision.

Heartbeat's Director of Medical Impact, Christa Brown BSN, RN, LAS, recently wrote the following article for our September Medical Matters publication, as first in a series that outlines techniques abortion facility staff have used to deceive women seeking information to make a pregnancy decision. As you read the article, think about timing, accessibility, and approved protocols.

Overall, boards are responsible for developing and overseeing written P&P that clarify the values of the organization, increase professionalism, improve communications, make leadership transitions more seamless, provide protection, and release the staff to be creative and productive because they know where “boundaries” are to serve clients with care and competence.

We hope this piece opens a great dialogue for your leadership team.

Read the full article "The Many Ways Abortion Providers Deceive Women #1: Fetal heartbeat and fetal heart motion"

Deception: “Your baby has no heartbeat” (read the truth)

For more help with policy and procedures, or other board matters in the midst of changing times, utilize the Heartbeat Governing Essentials manual or training, the Heartbeat Academy, or reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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5 Principles of Ministry Growth

by Mary E Peterson, Housing SpecialistGrowth
Heartbeat International

I was young and a little crazy when we started the pregnancy help organization. Someone said to me, in jest, "You are just too naïve to realize what you are attempting can't be done." Looking back, they were probably right. But nonetheless, God took me on a wild adventure of organizational development. Within fifteen years, I had the joy of sitting on my couch brainstorming the basics of a vision for a start-up ministry and I also had the joy of ribbon-cutting on our fifth location. For better and for worse, I experienced rapid organizational growth and learned a lot of lessons along the way. Here's a taste:

1) Know your mission. Grow from your mission. 

I love a crazy new idea and lots of them were thrown at us -- run a ministry restaurant, start a theater troupe, build a neighborhood of low-income housing for single mothers. All of these captured my attention for a time but ultimately, were set to the side to stay focused on our core mission. Be really good at what you're good at. Be the ministry that the Holy Spirit breathed life into. Let the other stuff go...even if they seem wildly interesting.

2) Balance administrative growth with programmatic growth.

Programmatic growth is the fun stuff and it's the work that grantors and donors get excited about. But it is through building an administrative foundation that programmatic growth is sustained. Sometimes years’ worth of fundraising, staff development, and system building has to be done in order to grow well. If the foundation isn't strong, having the perfect furniture doesn't make sense.

3) Spend time on systems.

Systems are the plumbing to your organization -- getting information where it needs to go so that when you need it, it's there. Without systems, the entire organization experiences stress. Sometimes leaders who are great at big visions aren't great at systems. If that is case, get the right people involved to help build out the systems for your ministry. Growth is always disruptive but less so when strong organizational systems are in place.

4) Be wise and prudent. Be bold and courageous.

I love it when Scriptural ideas seem at odds, and this is a great example. Both statements are absolutely true. Plan, strategize, research, and consider. But also, dream, stretch, act, and step out in faith. Have a Board and staff around you that can do both!

5) Don't get ahead of your team.

The hard part of being a leader of vision is bringing the whole organization along. If you get too far ahead of them, you risk staff frustration, team exhaustion, and organizational strain. My rule of thumb as a leader was to peak ahead a few steps to see what major decisions lay ahead. I would begin to think about those decisions and gather information so that when it was time to consider them, we weren't starting from a blank slate. But your team needs to go on the journey with you -- and you might need to take the pace down to travel together!

Want to talk more about growth related ideas? Join us for a webinar on Growth and Ministry Development July 22, 2021 at Noon (Eastern)!

Succession Planning for Maternity Housing

by Peggy ForrestPeggy Forrest 244x300

Most of us would agree that any organization’s ability to successfully carry out its mission is tied to the quality of its leadership. Be that a President, CEO, or Executive Director - the effectiveness of that person’s leadership, makes a difference. So, it’s easy to understand why it is mission critical to ensure the next leader will be the correct one, and the transition from one leader to the next will be as smooth as possible. This is especially true in maternity housing because of the deeply personal nature of the work. Leadership transition is critically important, and having a plan guiding that effort will help reduce the stresses which accompany such a transition. Succession planning takes focus and effort. It involves the Board of Directors working in partnership with the current leader.

A succession plan has three main goals:

  • Guide the Board in the recruitment and selection of new leadership.
  • Facilitate a smooth transition
  • Maintain continuity of operations and organizational sustainability

A succession plan contemplates:

  • Planned departures
  • Unplanned departures
  • Internal talent development

A succession plan should include:

  • A timetable - from notice to end of transition period
  • A review of organization’s strategic direction
  • The development of a leadership profile
  • A recruitment strategy
  • An onboarding and transition plan
  • A communication strategy

Regardless of the age of your Agency, or the tenure of your leader, succession planning may be a timely and important topic to address during your Agency’s next strategic planning efforts.

pregnancy help podcast 300x300

Listen in to a podcast from Mary Peterson and Emily Prins on the same topic of succession planning!

Heartbeat International has additional information related to succession planning in our Governing Essentials Manual. Click here to find out more.

The Importance of Building a Culture of Trust

by Robin FullerTrust

Robin Fuller will be presenting a workshop on this topic (An Essential Culture of Trust) at the 2021 Virtual Conference. Click here to learn more!

Trust on a team is critical, especially inside of a pregnancy center. If wondering whether or not you have a culture of trust, it may look something like this:

Trust on the team abounds. Each person is clear about their own job and doesn’t do the job of another team member. I trust you to do your job and you trust me to do mine. There’s no worrying about whether or not things are getting done because there is good reporting. No one is wondering if there is talk going on behind the scenes or behind one another’s backs, because we trust each other to speak honestly and clearly, and to handle conflict and confrontation early. Humility abounds, and staff is invited to speak freely. There may be intense conversations within a meeting, but everyone has the chance to be heard. Once a decision is made everyone gets behind the decision and there is no grumbling or complaining afterward. Conflict, when there is trust, is simply people trying to discover the truth so the best possible solution can be found.

Building trust starts with the leader. Here are some basic building blocks for creating a Culture of Trust:

  1. Get honest with yourself before God. Be intentional about allowing God to change you – from the inside out. Are you a trustworthy leader? Are you grumbling and complaining? Are you truly confidential? Do you find yourself talking about team members behind their backs?
  2. CONFESS and REPENT as God convicts where you haven’t been trustworthy. Are you gossiping? Fearful? Doubting?
  3. Build a leadership team and make yourself vulnerable. This might consist of your program leaders – no more than 5 or so. For a smaller organization maybe it’s only 3. Become a bit more vulnerable with them. Show a few more weaknesses and begin sowing a culture of trust with them. Listen to their concerns. Pray together. Gather ideas. Invite them to point out ways you are wrong – and clothe yourself with humility. Don’t get defensive when they do.
  4. Start talking about trust. Consider a survey to the entire organization and ask for their thoughts on trust. Start talking about your desire to build a Culture of Trust. Define it. Talk about it in meetings. Ask questions, then listen. “Do you think we have trust inside these walls? What do you think we could do to build trust?” Ask one-on-one, “Do you trust me?” Begin to weed out the truth and prepare for change.
  5. Clarify all job descriptions – then begin trusting your staff to do their jobs. Don’t micromanage, allowing them to try and fail – which isn’t easy. Don’t “Lord it over them” or take things back simply because you could do it faster and easier.

If you’d like to build a culture of trust on your team, these are some ways to begin.

Robin Fuller, as a professional coach, walks alongside ministry leaders and helps them finish well. Her 23-year experience as a pregnancy center director, combined with her personal story and passion for the unborn, make her the perfect fit for any pregnancy center leader wanting to improve their leadership skills and plan for a great finish. robinfuller.coach

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