Just a thought experiment, but I wonder what would happen if all pro-life pregnancy centers converted from non-profits to for-profits?
Would “donations” dry up?
I’m not sure, but even if that happened, I don’t think that would necessarily be a bad thing.
I say that because non-profit donations are often made primarily based on the emotions of the giver, and don’t carry with them an expectation of achieving measurable performance improvements.
There’s no “accountability for results” built in to many non-profit donations.
An Attitude Adjustment
Many pro-life philanthropists are able to give charitably to non-profit pro-life pregnancy centers precisely because those philanthropists succeeded in for-profit ventures.
Imagine now if a pro-life pregnancy center becomes a for-profit venture.
Suddenly, I think the philanthropist’s attitude toward the center shifts from “no strings attached giving” to expectation of return on investment, and also, the philanthropist will look around for other pregnancy center investment opportunities that can earn the highest return on investment.
With pregnancy centers now competing against one another for investment capital offered by philanthropic investors, I wonder if those center’s boards of directors and executive teams would up their games in terms of gaining ground, and dare I say winning, against Planned Parenthood, as measured by market share?
I think they likely would have no choice but to do exactly that.
What Profit In This?
Perhaps the thought experiment goes too far, is a bit too radical, if we’re talking about a pro-life pregnancy center actually seeking to maximize financial return.
That would certainly be an extreme departure from current practice.
But what if we think of “profit” not in the sense of financial return, but instead carrying the meaning of “benefit” to someone, for example, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Mark 8:36
Under that definition of profit, philanthropists would seek opportunities to “maximize” profit by funding pregnancy centers that offer the most competitive “choose life” benefits that “profit” women facing unexpected pregnancies.
Carrying that type of “for-profit” attitude into an investment opportunity, the philanthropist would then be less interested in the emotional storytelling of a center’s executive team, and more focused on evidence of “proof of success,” in other words, a center’s measurable market share gains against Planned Parenthood.