When is the right time to outsource your nonprofit copywriting projects? In what ways can your organization expect to benefit from outsourcing to a professional nonprofit copywriter?
Here are 11 reasons to outsource your nonprofit’s copywriting projects
1. You don’t have time to do the writing
This is likely the most obvious reason on this list: you don’t have time to write, but you do have a budget. You’ve lined up a few trusted professionals to whom you can turn either in a pinch or proactively, when you know a crunch period is approaching.
2. Your skills are needed elsewhere
It might not simply be about time, but about where your time is best spent. “When you work with a skilled copywriter, your communications do what they need to do. Your staff can spend more time building relationships, for example,” suggests Mary Cahalane, Principal of Hands-On Fundraising.
3. You lack copywriting expertise
Even if you’re in a communications role, your background may be stronger in another area, such as graphic design, marketing strategy, etc. If your path to this role didn’t include opportunities to develop copywriting skills, bringing in outside help allows you to manage content creation while continuing to focus on your strengths.
4. You lack expertise in writing for a particular format
Perhaps you DO have copywriting experience but are faced with a particular project or format that is new to you. Does your upcoming campaign include a radio ad, but you have no idea how to start writing one? Is your Executive Director asking for a speech for a very important event, but speechwriting isn’t in your skill set? Take off the pressure and bring in an expert who does have experience writing for the format. Which leads to the next point…
5. You’ll learn from the experience
“For the can-do shop, hiring a pro can also be a learning experience,” explains Mary Cahalane. “A talented staffer can learn from the process and study the final product. Then later, you can take the work in-house.”
6. You are struggling with creative approaches
Repeatedly writing about the same cause, the same mission, the same programs…you find yourself getting into a creative rut. When you’re struggling with how to present the same information in a new way, bring in fresh creative talent.
7. You have a particular creative partner in mind
Maybe there’s someone you’ve wanted to work with for a while now; you’ve been watching from a distance because you like her approach. When you finally have a project with a budget, it’s time to explore what she can bring to your nonprofit’s communications.
8. You need to shift to putting your audience first
“A good copywriter shifts your perspective from internal, nonprofit-centered communications (this is the good that we do) to external, donor-centered communications (this is the good you, the donor, do),” says Kerri Karvetski of Company K Media. “This change is often extremely difficult for nonprofits to do themselves, yet it makes a profound difference in direct-response communications.”
9. You need to create a bundle of materials
You might hesitate to bring in external copywriting help on an ongoing basis – or maybe that is just not possible. However, you can see the value of bundling your writing ’to-do’ items and having a professional tackle them for you as a package. Take advantage the efficiencies in briefing, research and writing that come from assigning a cluster of work. Some examples might include a new media kit, updates to core articles or index pages on your website or executive, staff and board bios.
10. You’ve got budget you want to put to good use
Are you approaching the end of a quarter or fiscal year with extra funds in the communications budget? Content is so often neglected that there is almost always an opportunity to tap into extra resources to get things written. See point #9 for some ideas!
11. You’re facing some form of hurdle
“A writer for hire can help nonprofits thrive in a crunch time or cruise past a difficult hurdle,” says Lauren Girardin, Communications Consultant, Writer, and Trainer at Lauren Girardin Consulting.
“I’ve worked with clients to pump out polished press releases and op-eds to respond to unexpected opportunities and crises. I’ve taken a beastly 9,000-word website section that made a client cringe and transformed it into content with half the length and tons more user value. I’ve guided clients through launching and living a new name and brand. I’ve also provided crucial communications support and continuity as nonprofits weathered employee turnover. If any of these scenarios sound like something that could happen at your organization, give working with a professional copywriter a try.”
Special thanks to Lauren, Mary and Kerri for sharing their insights for this post!
Have you worked with an external, professional copywriter at your nonprofit organization? What other reasons or benefits have we missed?