A guest post by Ivana, who comes from Macedonia
As an active member of non-profits based in my country since 2007, I can clearly see how non-profits and freelance writers can mutually benefit from their cooperation.
I’ve written grant proposals, sponsorship packages, crowdfunding campaigns, website and brochures’ content for non-profits based in my country and overseas. That’s how I realized that there are many ways in which such organizations can use writing services for various purposes.
This is where freelancers can step in and offer their writing services to non-profits working in numerous sectors.
When it comes to fundraising, non-profits are operating in a very competitive environment. The bad news for them is that the reason why they exist, the problem they attempt to solve and the solutions they offer may not reach the target group and the larger community because they are not written in a language that inspires and catches attention.
The good news is that non-profits don’t need to hire full-time writing professionals for each one of their needs separately, or train their employees to do it, but they can outsource writing tasks to professional freelance writers.
So, freelance writers, be sure that you know what type of services you can provide to non-profits when they approach you. Or even better, approach the non-profits yourself and land new client work!
This type of fundraising services can be expensive, especially if non-profits are looking for consultancy businesses to prepare their grant proposal. If you possess the skills required for grant writing, you can approach the non-profits and offer your services. It is even better if you are familiar with funding opportunities for non-profits and you can give them an insight about open calls for grant proposals.
In my experience, some non-profits require that you search for funding opportunities, write the grant proposal, submit the application and communicate with the donor. But you can also engage with the non-profit only to prepare the grant-proposal for them.
If you are familiar with grant writing, then you are probably at ease with writing sponsorship proposals as well. In my opinion, since I am writing both, if a freelancer writer knows how to persuade a donor about the importance of a particular non-profit’s project for the community, then the freelancer also knows how to persuade a business about the benefits from sponsoring particular non-profit’s activity. Therefore, this is your second service to offer to a non-profit.
When it comes to writing crowdfunding campaigns, non-profits need to find a persuasive storyteller who speaks in a language that most of the public understands. Most importantly, the language highlights the significance of a particular campaign and inspires the readers to donate and share. Again, a freelance writer who knows how to speak to donors and businesses, most probably will know how to speak to the public that donates via crowdfunding platforms as well.
Non-profits can look for freelance writers to develop engaging and inspiring content that makes different audiences (donors, community, businesses, and other non-profits) genuinely interested in their content. As a freelance writers, you can combine your skills and knowledge in different areas, to come up with content for an email newsletter that will help the non-profit get donations, and gain wider support and recognition. And this can be your ongoing job with few non-profits.
Conduct a little research to find out the non-profits that already send email newsletter and the ones who don’t. You can approach the first category if you think you can write their email newsletter better than they do now, or you can approach the second category to tell them the benefits of you writing email newsletters for them.
Thank You letters
While the chase for new donors is constant, it is wise that non-profits don’t forget their existing donors. It is advisable that they develop lasting relations with them, to make the givers support them again. Thank you letters are one way of achieving this, and this is something that a freelance writer can do.
In addition to email newsletters and thank you letters, e-magazines are one more technique for communication with donors, that sends a message that the non-profit is doing something worth mentioning all the time. Freelance writers can write the content of those e-magazines, or re-write it in a more appealing manner.
We all know that a website is very important, especially when you target younger people. A research conducted by Nielsen Norman Group on non-profit organization websites reveals what people are looking for on non-profit websites prior to making their decision to donate. What visitors wanted to see is the non-profits’ mission, goals, objectives and what they do to achieve it. Once the website design enables them to easily spot this categories, as you may already guess, the content is the next step toward making someone click the donate button. Therefore, the manner in which the website content is written is of great importance. Can you re-write it in a more persuasive style for them?
Social media posts
Other tactic that non-profits use to engage people are social media. But in order to achieve their goal, they must create interesting posts there. Non-profits can hire freelance writers to come up with Twitter 140 character posts, Facebook posts etc. The bottom line is creating short and clear, yet inspiring content that will keep their audience engaged and attract more followers. Freelance writers actually can be an important part of social marketing.
Numerous studies have revealed that visuals are the driving force of marketing. The visuals are especially connected with social media. When it comes to infographics, which are very popular nowadays, besides from hiring a graphic designer, non-profits also need a few words to explain what the illustrations mean. This is something you can do. A freelance writer can come up with that catchy content that explains what the non-profit is doing and how they are solving a particular community problem.
If you are a freelance writer, you should try and approach non-profits on your own, just to let them know what type of services you provide. The list above can give you an idea how to present yourself and your skills. It is excellent if you are active part of non-profits, since it may help you a lot in converting your volunteering efforts into income. If you don’t have any prior experience with them, but you are still a good freelance writer, learn something about non-profits and approach them as your potential new clients.
P.S. When you approach them, don’t tell non-profits just what you can write, but how your writing will benefit them in terms of mobilizing new supporters, volunteers, getting funded and all that jazz.
I am Ivana and I come from Ohrid, Macedonia. I enjoy travelling, but Ohrid managed to remain my favorite place. I am political scientist, adventurist, extrovert, active in non-profits (more or less), and book lover, hence my writing efforts. I’ve written on political topics, environmental issues and freelancing. At the moment, my personal blog is a work in progress.