How Vision Changes a City: Part 1Posted on: February 19, 2020
In a short period of time, Choices Women’s Clinic has experienced astounding growth and some amazing God-sized blessings, beginning with a vision: to CHANGE their city.
“There is NO WAY that we humanly could have done what we have done without God’s blessing.” – Vicky Botsford Mathews
Last year I had the opportunity to talk with Vicky Botsford Mathews, Executive Director of Choices Women’s Clinic of Orlando, Florida, President of LifeSteward Ministries, and long-time partner and customer of Ministry Sync! It was a privilege to hear from Vicky as she shared what God has done, as well as a few strategic and practical steps that God led them to take along the way.
In short, God has blessed their ministry in an exceedingly abundant way. This story is nothing short of a miracle!
How it all started…
From pregnancy center work, to her work with Life Steward Ministries, Vicky has a long history with ministries, churches and non-profit work over the last 30 years. About 5 years ago, Choices Women’s Clinic was struggling with their fundraising events, and the staff felt as though they were “going backwards,” shared Vicky. Through a series of events, the center was in search of a new Executive Director, and so they offered the position to Vicky.
Vicky learned very quickly that there were plenty of challenges to be faced.
Although the ministry had been around for over 30 years and was well established, it had grown stagnant in funding, with not a lot of buzz or excitement. And yet, the need in their city was great.
“Orlando is an abortion destination,” said Vicky.
Because of the MANY tourists that visit every year and the multiple college campuses, “there is a huge demographic of abortion determined men and women,” she shared.
Choices Women’s Clinic (Choices) is located in the Greater Orlando area, which houses millions of residents – and of course Choices isn’t the only pregnancy center in Orlando. In fact, Vicky shared that there are 12 different centers in the greater Orlando area, and many are vying for the same donor dollars. On top of that, Vicky was facing off with the challenge of a limited development and fundraising staff! For fundraising and events, it was just Vicky and her administrative assistant for those first few years. (Although, at the time of our interview, Vicky had just hired a new full-time development person! 🙌)
What happened next?
However, with a center that had been around that long, there was the blessing of longevity. Vicky found that many prior or pre-existing partners were eager to partner and even grow in support, they just needed to be injected with fresh vision! So, Vicky and her team got to work. They began sharing their vision – that they were going to change their city.
When their current supporters began to catch the vision, it became contagious. This was a clearly communicated vision that people could get behind, and the excitement and passion spread like wildfire! Current supporters of Choices began to invite many new partners along for the journey. A movement was forming!
“There is no way that we humanly could have done what we have done without God’s blessing. We have all literally just followed the LORD, step-by-step, even in spite of ourselves,” said Vicky.
The two main fundraising events they hosted to help spread the vision? A Walk and a Banquet. Implementing some strategic principles, Vicky and her team watched as God grew their team and support flooded in! In four years time, their Banquet grew from approximately $75k – $300k.
And their Walk? Vicky shared that their Walk went from roughly $50k four years ago to an astounding $280k in 2019!
Vicky is the first to give praise to God for his miraculous work. To humbly give credit where credit is due.
“There is NO HUMAN WAY that anyone could predict that type of growth!” she declared. “Only He can have the credit for this!”
Through Vicky’s years of fundraising experience, she’s familiar with typical growth rates. “A normal growth rate? Maybe grow by 10% each year. Maybe if you are doing really well, you may grow by 20% each year,” she shared.
In just over 4 years, they went from a roughly $250k budget to a million-dollar budget. They bought a 6,000 square foot building in a more strategic location and relocated their clinic! All this in 4 years.
What made the difference?
“Casting a vision” – said Vicky.
Early on in her journey with Choices, Vicky and her team felt God gave them the vision of reaching the college campuses with their services. So they began declaring in faith what they wanted to do for their center’s future!
And so that is what they did. Everything they did as an organization to fundraise was all around the vision. On every piece of communication they sent out, they mentioned their God-given vision for their center and city. They started by telling their community: “We’re going to change our city, we’re going to buy a building next to these late-term clinics!”
And support came flooding in!
Vicky and her team recognize that in addition to God’s hand of blessing, the growth of their Walk event was wrapped around their vision. They intentionally built excitement on what they had accomplished so far, and developed an effective communication plan. Vicky had a few practical tips to share regarding the exponential growth of their Walk in the last few years…
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Curious how Vicky developed and executed her strategy for her team and the Walk? Stay tuned for Part Two of our interview! We’re excited to share 3 practical tips from Vicky to establish and grow your walk event!
Photo Courtesy Choices Women’s Clinic
This article was inspired by our customers and written to encourage your fundraising efforts. Although we work with ministries and events daily, our team members are not Event Consultants. We encourage you to consult with your event consultant, executive team, and/or affiliate organization before making any major changes to your events.