Hiring freelance creative professionals can be a great way for nonprofit communicators to get things done. And with a limited budget, you want to ensure that you are spending those dollars wisely and getting the greatest possible value. What is the best way to do this? Be a great client. Doing everything right as a client will help you to get the best possible outcome from your freelancer.

The best part about being a great client? It’s not hard. Here’s how to do it, from a freelancer’s perspective:

Be professional.

While keeping things friendly and relaxed is great, always exhibit professional behavior, approach, tone and language. While I always ensure professionalism in my own business interactions as a freelancer, working with someone who values this trait sets an important tone for what we can expect from each other.

Provide clear direction and fixed parameters.

Think through your briefing before you pick up the phone/start crafting that email. Know exactly what you want from your supplier and give him/her the information required to deliver it successfully; this might include such elements as the audience, key messages, word counts, creative insights and communications objectives for your project.

Avoid scope creep.

An assigned project should not change unexpectedly. Of course, there is room for some flexibility, but anything that significantly changes the project scope should be arranged under a separate agreement.

Be responsive.

While a freelancer’s job is to take as much work as possible from your plate, understand the importance of your input to get the project done. Honour your side of timelines and deadlines (reviews, revisions, approvals) so that we can honour ours.

Other traits of a great client:

  • Trust your freelancer to take over and deliver what you’ve assigned. Who wants to spend time micro-managing a supplier?
  • Be willing to pay professional fees, according to the experience and skill of those you hire. To get quality work from an experienced professional, you have to be willing to pay for one!
  • Keep expectations reasonable.
  • Be organized.

Are you getting the most from your suppliers? If not, what can you change to improve your outcomes? How do you measure up as a client?

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira
Marlene Oliveira