Thankfully, the occasions when a client relationship has somehow gone bad
have been very rare in my experience, but they have been singularly
painful and mutually unsatisfying. So, for
what it's worth, I offer you what I've learned from these unusual
interactions in the hope of
avoiding future misunderstandings.
Especially for Non-Profit Organizations:
How to Work with a Freelance Writer
You have every right to expect the freelance writer to be
prompt, responsive, courteous, professional, and competent at what she does.
The freelancer can't know your organization as you do.
There will be an inevitable learning curve. Although a decent freelancer will try to minimize
extra demands on your time, you'll have to interact with her at some point.
Do return the freelancer's phone calls and respond to emails - especially
those requesting information or clarification.
You are engaging the services of a writer, not a publisher.
Unless it is clearly and mutually agreed upon up front, you shouldn't
assume that the writer will take care of professional printing needs
for your project.
The freelancer cannot guarantee successful
outcomes for grant writing and
fundraising appeals. It's unfair to trash a freelancer's reputation if, due to
factors beyond the writer's control, results aren't what you'd hoped for or expected.
...You should not expect a writer to do strategic or program
planning for your organization. In order for a writer to make a successful case
on your agency's behalf, you must have a clear vision, sense of purpose and
direction, a strategy for getting there, and a system for assessing program
outcomes and results. If your organization hasn't developed these core elements,
no writer, no matter how inventive, will be able to pull them out of the ether in order
to write a successful case for funding.