1,341 and counting: how a high-tech pro-life start-up is changing the way we save lives
Nov 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Brian Fisher has a lot of reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving: 1,341 of them, to be exact. That’s the number of babies that he can be sure are alive today thanks in large measure to the work of his fledgling pro-life organization, Online for Life.
Like everything else the high-tech pro-life startup does, that number is exact and verifiable. “We have a philosophy that if it we can’t measure it, we won’t do it,” Brian told LifeSiteNews.com in a recent interview. “The second part to that is that if we can measure it, we can improve it.”
Founded in 2009, Online for Life is one of the newest, fastest-growing and most innovative pro-life organizations in the United States. Located in Dallas, Texas, Online for Life is headed up by a team of business, marketing and technology experts with a dizzying array of experience in their respective fields.
Their mission is simple: to save babies from abortion.
More specifically, Online for Life is striving to become the “missing link" between abortion-minded women and the pro-life crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that are equipped to empower those women to choose life.
“If you were to ask me why 1.2 million children are still being aborted in America, the answer is because we’re not talking to the people who are aborting their children. That’s the basic answer,” says Brian.
That’s where Online for Life comes in. Using rigorously-tested Google and other online advertizing, search engine optimization, and physical ad campaigns, Online for Life reaches out to women who are often virtually on the doorsteps of an abortion clinic, and connects them with a life-saving CPC instead.
As the icing on the cake, Online for Life also brings the whole pro-life community into the loop, sending out real-time prayer alerts via their cutting edge mobile app every time an abortion-minded women connects with a local CPC.
A match made in heaven
In his previous life, Brian was an entrepreneur, at one point serving as the number two person in a start-up finance company that grew from nothing to having $1 billion in assets in just six years.
It was during a subsequent stint in the non-profit world at Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, that he first tested the idea for Online for Life - an idea that languished for a time after he was offered a position as COO for a large marketing agency.
And yet, Brian just couldn’t stop thinking about his idea, and in 2009 he stepped out on a limb and founded Online for Life on a volunteer basis.
Since turning his attention to full-time pro-life work, Brian has deliberately set about applying everything he learned in the for-profit sector towards ensuring that Online for Life delivers the highest “return on investment” – except that now that return comes in the form of lives saved, rather than dollars earned.
In their unapologetically data-driven search for excellence, Brian and his team are selective with the CPCs they work with. Any CPC who wants to partner with Online for Life must be open for at least 35 hours a week, be equipped with ultrasound, have a commitment to providing same-day "superior care," and have no “sacred cows,” with a willingness to ruthlessly examine the effectiveness of their current practices and implement changes where warranted.
Currently, Online for Life is partnering with 46 such CPCs in twenty-three states. And for those CPCs, the partnership is a match made in heaven.
“You have to understand the vast majority of pregnancy centres are underfunded and most of their clients come from referrals,” says Brian, “so they’re not hitting a large portion of the abortion-minded community and they desperately want to do that.”
“Online For Life is able to fill that gap and to drive a substantially larger number of phone calls or chats or visits or whatever from the abortion-minded community than they’ve ever experienced before. So they embrace it. They want to learn, they want to improve, they want to grow with us.”
In markets where Online for Life has run their ads, CPCs have experienced anywhere from a two-to-six times increase in the numbers of calls and contacts with abortion-minded women.
Brian gives the example of Dallas, where Online for Life has achieved 18% “market penetration” – meaning that one in five abortion-bound women will make contact with a pro-life CPC – compared to the national average of about 3%.
The very first one
Brian still remembers the phone call. It was June 22, 2010. Online for Life had only been operating for a month, and was staffed entirely by volunteers.
The phone rang, and it was the director of a CPC in Pittsburgh. She was calling to let Brian know that a baby had been saved from abortion that day – a baby whose mother visited the CPC thanks to Online for Life’s marketing outreach.
“It was the very first one,” Brian recollects. “And for me personally it was just a massive turning point for me because for all the work and the money and testing and the volunteers and everything that led up to that moment. All the frustration of that was washed away in an instant because a child had been rescued that was about to be killed.”
At that moment, he says, he realized “that if we could save one we could save thousands.”
He adds: “May God be praised, because he provided us to be able to do that.”