Chicago Fundraiser Saves Lives, One Child at a Time
Next week the Pro-Life Action League will host the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in cities across America. The group's rally in March had more than 63,000 people from 146 cities standing up for religious freedom. Expectations are even higher for the rally June 8. “We hope to have 100,000 participants in over 150 cities,” Pro-Life Action League Development Director Paige Scarlett, also a Leadership Institute graduate, said. “This rally is a campaign that's sweeping our nation to build awareness about the threats to our constitutional right to ‘freedom of religion' posed by the Obama Administration's Health and Human Services mandate.” “The administration's newest mandate forces religious employers, such as Catholic hospitals and schools to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception in employee healthcare plans for free – even though these all go directly against the employer's religious beliefs,” Paige said. “We are standing up for our constitutional rights that our Founding Fathers fought and died for, and one of those is the right to freedom of religion without interference by government.” The 30-year-old organization Pro-Life Action League leads sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics, helps students start pro-life clubs, and investigates abortion clinic violations, which has led to the closing of numerous facilities. “I get to work alongside the ‘godparents' of the pro-life movement on a daily basis, Joe and Ann Scheidler,” Paige said. “I am inspired by their tireless grassroots efforts to fight abortion since 1973 and keep it a sizzling, hot-button issue in our country.” Paige has worked at Pro-Life Action League since January, but never imagined she would go to college and be working. “My girlish hope and dream was to get married young and have a big family,” Paige, the oldest of a family of seven Catholic and conservative children, said. “But God had other plans for me. He wanted me to go to college and work in the pro-life movement – and save babies before I had any of my own!” In college, Paige was asked to assist the development director at The Thomas Moore College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire, where she worked for a semester and a summer. Another summer, Paige raised money for the Crossroads Life Walk Across America, during which she walked 50 miles in five days for the cause of life. She's also been known to frequent abortion clinics and pray outside them (pictured right). Paige next became the development director for Foundation for Life in Toledo, Ohio where she served for 3.5 years after graduation before taking the development director job at Pro-Life Action League in Chicago, where she now works. “I first learned of the Leadership Institute through a friend who worked for your group,” Paige remembered. “She introduced me to LI, and coincidentally, I stayed with her a few days after my Crossroads Pro-Life Walk to Washington, D.C. – and even visited LI's office to ‘shadow' her for a couple days.” “I also knew of LI's fundraising trainings through my former job at Foundation for Life, but the Pro-Life Action League found it valuable enough to invest in sending me to it,” Paige said. “The League sent two other staff members to your direct mail school trainings a few years ago and they learned numerous best practices we have used into our communications ever since.” Paige took LI's High-Dollar Fundraising School in April, the Online Fundraising Workshop in April, and the Direct Mail School and Advanced Direct Mail School, both earlier this month. “The Leadership Institute has been a positive way to enhance my previous development know-how, hone my skills and judgment in the area of best approaches for fundraising, and boost my ability to share these successful tactics I learned with my fellow staffers, so we can make a team commitment to use LI's well-tested fundraising methods to keep our organization's mission very sustainable,” Paige said. “LI trainings are a survey in development approaches engagingly presented by a panel of experts. These professionals are dynamic, well-organized leaders in the field,” Paige said. “They're smart advocates of the conservative movement, looking to advance the cause, and are relevant and attuned to the best of current and tried-and-true styles of development.” “At the High Dollar Fundraising School, I learned that my organization needs to become ever more donor-centric – listening to the interests and desires of our donor-base and even using their wishes to shape our new or ongoing programs and just the way we pitch our message,” Paige reflected. “At the Online Fundraising Workshop, I learned new ways to tackle search engines to reach out to and hook a new audience through targeted ad spots,” Paige said. “I was enlightened on ways to go about delving into the internet market to attract and plug new supporters into our cause through the use of new media.” “At LI's direct mail schools (intro and advanced), I learned not only the importance of prospecting to find new donors, how to cultivate these new donors, and how to appeal to and engage your current donors, but how to do so most effectively, with the biggest chance of success,” Paige reported. “The key is to make all your touches (whether by mail, phone, or email) highly personal and focused on the impact that the donor makes possible. The donor needs to feel like an invested partner whose generosity truly saves lives.” And saving lives is the business of Pro-Life Action League. “In a challenging economy, it's necessary more than ever to know what works well and what doesn't as it is mission critical with fundraising. It could mean the difference between your group staying afloat, gaining momentum, or sinking. At LI's training, they give you tools and tips to take your organization's fundraising approaches from your baseline to the next level,” Paige said. Paige joins more than 107,000 alumni trained by the Leadership Institute since 1979. Please welcome her as LI's Graduate of the Week. For more information about Pro-Life Action League and their rally June 8, please contact Paige at 773-777-2900. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.