Peggy Whiteneck, Freelance Writer

PO Box 303
East Randolph, Vermont 05041

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Especially for Non-Profit Organizations:
How to Work with a Freelance Writer

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.

You have every right to expect the freelance writer to be prompt, responsive, courteous, professional, and competent at what she does. However....

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. Specifically...

...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.

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