How Nonprofits can Work More Effectively with Freelancers

A special guest post by Emma Miller to help you work more effectively with freelancers so you can manage and grow your nonprofit, NGO or Social Enterprise.

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As your nonprofit grows, you have a lot to be happy about.

However, this also means more work and you will probably have to hire more people. For nonprofits with limited budgets, working with freelancers seems like a logical option.

Still, managing freelancers is not the same as managing your full-stack employees.

You need to be familiar with the most common problems that occur when hiring remote workers and be prepared to solve them on time.

Use Freelancing Sites

One of the major problems nonprofits face when looking for freelancers is finding a person whose goals and experience fit their mission. This is why you need to cast your net wide and one of the most effective places to start your search are freelance sites like:

  • Upwork is one of the widest freelance platforms, ideal for both your long-term and short-term projects.
  • Freelancer is one of the most popular freelance platforms out there. You can post a project and get the bids from freelancers directly or even organize a competition for them.
  • 99designs is a platform for freelance designers. Similarly to Freelancer, it allows you to organize contests.
  • Freelance Writing Gigs is an awesome option for every nonprofit that wants to position themselves as an authoritative source of information. Here, you can find content writers and strategists that will create HQ content for you, from articles to infographics.
  • Lensa is another great hiring platform. You can find people for every job role on this recruitment website. It has a wide pool of candidates belonging to various industries like design, education, healthcare, engineering etc. You can easily post job listings and hire the right candidate for your company. To get a better idea, you can refer to this job listing on Lensa.
  • College Recruiter is a site for college students looking for various freelance careers.

These platforms allow you to browse through the freelancers’ profile, see how much they charge and check whether they have already worked with nonprofits similar to yours.

These platforms can help you find freelancers in various niches, from virtual assistants to accounting. Still, they’re particularly significant to organizations looking to build a nonprofit marketing strategy. They help you find and hire experienced copywriters, content strategists, SEO experts, and web developers that will help you build a recognizable online identity, spread the word about your visions and mission, and position yourself as a leader.

Pro tip: There are also numerous nonprofit job platforms like, Philanthropy Journal’s Job Board, or Chronicle of Philanthropy you should also check out.

Agree on the Frequency of Communication

Today, many employers believe that, with sophisticated tech solutions, we don’t have to take a candidate’s physical location into consideration when hiring them. However, this doesn’t have to be so.

Let’s take an example of different time zones. Unless a freelancer agrees to work on your time (and they probably won’t), time difference could become a major communication issue. What would you do if your website is down and your freelance developer is 10 hours ahead? The chances that they would answer your email or call are extremely low.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire freelancers from other countries. You just need to talk to them and come to a clear understanding when and how your communication will take place. Ask them openly when you can reach out to them and through which channels. Also agree on the acceptable delay in answering emails, be it 6 hours, 12 hours, or 24 hours.

Choose the Right Mode of Communication

With the rise of IM tools and collaboration platforms, communicating in real-time with your employees has never been simpler, irrespective of their location and time zones.

But, as the number of these tools is constantly rising, you need to choose the most effective communication channels that will work for you and a freelancer.

  • Project management tools like Trello, Basecamp, or Asana are always a great way to manage multiple projects and people simultaneously. Trello and Asana have free plans, which is an awesome money saver for your nonprofit.
  • Slack has multiple options like group chats, direct messaging, desktop notifications, and searchable archives. It is a great option that will boost both your team’s productivity and collaboration.
  • Skype and Google Hangouts are great when you’re in need of face-to-face communication with a freelancer. This way, you can work through some complex ideas and problems in a more efficient way.

Communicate Your Goals and Expectations Clearly

Before hiring a freelancer, make sure you set clear goals. You need to first think about their duties and responsibilities in order to communicate your expectations to them. Just like your full-stack employees, nonprofit freelancers need to know what is expected of them and where they stand. To avoid unpleasant surprises a day before the deadline, ask them whether they agree with the rules and whether they will be able to meet them professionally.

Finally, Monitor and Revise as Needed

Just because you’ve found a freelancer that meets your nonprofit’s standards doesn’t mean you can kick back and relax. On the contrary, you should monitor their progress regularly and check in with them to see whether the goals you’ve set still work. And, as your project changes over time, you should make certain adjustments and keep a freelancer informed about them.

Hope this helps!

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