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Can Your PRC Survive?

Many times in ministry work, it's easy to forget that we operate in a competitive environment. Yes, we see abortion providers as opposition, but this is not a Pregnancy Resource Centers only competition. Let me explain. 

Recently, I had a discussion with an Executive Director who added ultrasound services to her Pregnancy Resource Center. She was concerned because the center's once-collegial relationship with a low-income health clinic had suddenly soured. Together, we explored why. 

The discussion led me to ask about the low-income clinic's practices. She said they accepted insurance and health department vouchers to pay for the medical services they provided. This revealed the reason for their change in attitude. The free medical services now provided by the PRC were taking revenue from them. Since implementing medical services the PRC had served over fifty clients. Simple math showed that the PRC had taken nearly 5 percent of the clinics revenue. Though the intention of the new services was not to harm the health clinic, the PRC was now perceived as being a competitor.

This is just one example of why it is important to be in touch with what's happening in the world around your PRC. This awareness should be a critical function of the board’s regular activities. Are you aware of how your programs are impacting the community? Are there other organizations doing the same thing you are doing? In his book, Benchmarking for Nonprofits, Jason Saul states the following:

“Today, there are over 900,000 active charities in the United States. And the number of nonprofits is growing faster than the gross domestic product. In 2001 alone, 81,000 organizations applied for tax-exempt status out of which 65,000 were granted. At the same time, there are only one thousand different types of nonprofit programs, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. This means that for every type of nonprofit program there are on average 900 organizations trying to do the same thing! Odds are, someone, somewhere, some way, somehow has done what you are trying to do, better, faster, and less expensively with more creativity, better reach, and greater impact. If you don’t know who this is, your supporters might just find out before you do. If you don’t, you may not survive.”

It is easy to become so insular in our thinking that we forget that we operate in a competitive environment for clients, resources, and funding. Boards that keep in touch with the world around them help guard their PRC from become irrelevant and ineffective. If you choose to ignore your environment, your ministry may not survive!

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