Propelling Pregnancy Help Leaders to New Levels of Success


by Ducia Hamm

What would bring 62 diverse individuals from a variety of pregnancy help organizations, hailing from 26 states, Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas together at the offices of Heartbeat International in Columbus, Ohio? Without a doubt–that would be Heartbeat International's Pregnancy Help Institute.

One pregnancy help leader summed up her experience as, “a great boot camp and leadership training that helps ensure our future success.”

Pregnancy Help Institute consists of three separate learning tracks: New Directors, Development and Leadership. This year, attendees were able to take advantage of unique opportunities that included a tour of the offices of both Heartbeat International and our 24/7 pregnancy helpline, Option Line.

Each day of the weeklong event started out with a gathering for prayer, devotion and fellowship centered on God’s Word before everyone headed off to their respective training tracks.

At the New Directors training, 48 new executive directors, each with less than three years’ experience in their position, received in-depth training designed just for them. Using the DIRECT Well Manual as their textbook, these new directors were able to benefit from Heartbeat International leaders Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D. and Jor-El Godsey along with Senior Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell and several of Heartbeat International's expereienced staff members.

In addition, participants gained firsthand instruction on navigating the website while learning the benefits that OptionLine offers to life-affirming organizations.

“Being a new director is a complex position and a role that involves many facets,” one director told us. “This training gave a comprehensive overview of many of these facets that would be valuable for [new] directors”.

The Development track, an intimate group of six leaders jumped in with both feet on a path toward building strong funding plans for the future.

“With this size, we have a lot of free-wheeling discussion and the opportunity to address a lot of situations,” Kirk Walden, Heartbeat International’s Advancement Specialist and the track’s instructor, said. “And because we had development directors and executive directors from varying-sized organizations, we touched on a little bit of everything and were able to zero in on a lot of individual needs and challenges.”

The Development track addressed everything from a biblical perspective on fundraising to finding and building eight revenue streams that, while relationships stay strong, never run dry.

“Raising funds is about connecting in a meaningful way with those who care about our work, and then providing ways for these friends to do what they want to do—which is to support our work,” Kirk said. “It’s not complicated, but there is a process to all of this.

“The goal of the track is to not only identify how to be successful in building support, but to make sure each person who attends can say, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ I want everyone to walk away with practical tools and plan that works for them individually. That’s the important thing.”

Woven throughout the Leadership track were concepts developed by Built to Lead, an executive coaching program that has trained CEOs, presidents, and ministry leaders nationwide. Kitty Allen and John Rue from Built to Lead guided the group through “The 12 Essentials of Personal Excellence©”.

One of the attendees, Heartbeat International's own Tony Gruber, was part of the Leadership track.

“The class-time was informative, inspiring, and helpful,” Tony said. “I especially appreciated the homework reading assignments. What struck me the most was the high caliber of leadership in pregnancy help organizations and the opportunity that the Institute offered to meet leaders from around the country.”

Wondering whether you should attend the Pregnancy Help Institute in 2016? Check out this endorsement:

"I am leaving this week feeling encouraged, empowered and confident to continute to do the work the Lord has called me to do."

Sound like something you want to say next year? Bookmark this page and we'll see you then!