The annual pregnancy center banquet serves as a major focus for financial support of the center. Pregnancy help centers are discovering that a very effective way of raising money to help them convert their operations to medical clinic status is through a banquet featuring a live ultrasound demonstration.
Through this demonstration, the ultrasound image of a live unborn baby is projected onto a large screen. The audience is delighted to witness a living unborn child who moves, yawns, hiccups, and even dances. When performed properly, such a demonstration excites the audience in a way never seen before at a banquet. The typical banquet audience responds financially in very generous ways most centers have not yet experienced.
Recently, I spoke at such a banquet where the ultrasound demonstration was performed. Afterwards, a couple presented a check for $30,000 to the director of the center! Other centers have reported receiving checks of $10,000 or more following a live ultrasound demonstration. Across the country, centers that undertake this kind of banquet are routinely reporting similar results.
Another major benefit occurs for the center that provides this demonstration. The impact upon the audience of seeing pre-born life on a large screen communicates your vision and mission for the future in a powerful way many have never before seen.
An ultrasound demonstration at your banquet enables the audience to participate in a clinical experience with new eyes. The child before them is proof that life is precious and shows that you are doing a noble and worthwhile task in preserving her life.
The effect of the visual image for the audience is both emotional and rational. There is no better evidence for the beauty and value of life, and there is no better way to implant within your donors a passion for the protection of the unborn that are at risk of being aborted. When centers do this, the audience responds with a sense of reverence as a window to the womb is opened and they are able to see the most compelling reason to support you — the baby herself.
The biggest challenge of presenting an ultrasound demonstration is the technical demand of the program. You need to have the following elements covered:
Sound: In addition to microphones for your musicians and speaker, you need to wire a microphone to the ultrasound area so that the audience can hear the comments of the technician.
Projection System: You will need a video projector to project the ultrasound image onto the screen. The ultrasound machine and the projector have a BNC jack, which connects them together with little difficulty. The projection system makes it possible to enlarge the ultrasound image as much as your screen will allow. Your audience will be moved by the detail that is made possible when the image is enlarged. Some churches have a video projector that you may be able to borrow. If not, you may rent such a system at an audio visual store.
Ultrasound Machine: If you do not have access to an ultrasound machine, NIFLA can make arrangements with Shimadzu, an ultrasound manufacturer, to provide you with a machine.
The baby in the ultrasound demonstration is, of course, the star of the show. However, there are three key positions that will determine success or failure at your banquet. They are:
Sound Technician: This person controls the quality of the program and is responsible for the delivery of the commentary by the ultrasound technician during the demonstration. Without such commentary, the audience will be at a loss as to what they are seeing on the large screen.
Ultrasound Technician: The ability of the audience to connect with the baby will depend upon the skills of the ultrasound technician performing the examination. Although this demonstration must be professional in presentation, it should also include lively and even emotional commentary from this person to get the audience involved in the presentation. This person may be a doctor, a nurse, or an ultrasonographer from your community. NIFLA can help you locate such a professional if needed.
Pregnant Volunteer: The ideal candidate for your demonstration should be 10-13 weeks along in her pregnancy. She will need reassurance of the exact conditions of the ultrasound as well as the details of the procedure. Special care needs to be taken, making sure all of her needs are met. There should be a "trial run" ultrasound screening prior to the banquet. Before such screening the woman should be fully informed by a physician of the nature of the exam and its safety.
The impact of seeing life before birth and experiencing the miracle of God's handiwork will make the most effective statement concerning the importance of your mission. Your center exists to stand up and speak for that little voice that cannot speak for herself. Your ultrasound demonstration will give that child a voice through images. Your audience will be moved to contribute financial resources when given a glimpse into the window of a womb and seeing the miracle of pre-natal life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas A. Glessner is president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. Learn more about NIFLA by visiting www.nifla.org.