April 16, 2019

Daily Archives

  • Hire a Freelance Writer to Help You Strut Your Stuff: Community Benefit Reports

    A business woman is reviewing the annual report, pointing on paper.

    If your organization is a non-profit or a B-Corp, then every year or so you need to write a report that demonstrates how you’ve contributed to making the world a better place. Hiring a freelance writer to write this report can benefit you in two ways. First, you get an objective outsider who can write for a broad audience, helping to translate industry-speak when appropriate and making your key findings easy to understand. Second, you don’t have to write the report yourself!

    Who to Hire

    If you’re going to hire someone outside your organization to write your annual report, impact report or community benefit report, consider the following:

    1. Is their writing compelling and easy to read? (Don’t take their word for it–ask for samples of their work or client references.)
    2. Have they done this type of writing before?
    3. Can they take a large volume of information and distill it to its essence?
    4. Are they easy to work with?
    5. Can they meet a deadline?
    6. Can you afford them?

    A good writer will help you create a report that does more than simply meet a regulatory requirement. Since you have to write the report anyway, why not create one that inspires donors, shareholders, board members, constituents and any other key audiences you want to reach?

    The secret to any good report is a compelling narrative. You can (and should) use facts and figures to help tell the story, but please, for the love of God, tell an interesting story.

    How to Hire Them

    If you’ve never hired a freelancer to write a report, here’s how it’s done:

    1. Give a brief overview of the project (share past reports or
      examples from others in the industry if you have them). How will this information be shared? Online? Print? Both? Do you need a slide deck and a narrative?
    2. Explain any regulatory requirements.
    3. Determine the scope of the project: define who will provide what information to whom and when. Is the writer doing any research or will all relevant material be provided?
    4. Is the writer responsible for working with a graphic designer to provide the finished product or are you hiring the designer?
    5. Establish the timeline. Is there a regulatory deadline? Do you want printed copies in hand for a conference or annual meeting? Work backward from there to determine milestones and progress reports.
    6. Agree to a budget.

    When to Hire Them

    Like many things, writing is best done without the proverbial gun to one’s head. If you are a non-profit hospital, for example, you know you have to publish a community benefit report every three years. Don’t wait until the month before it’s due to hire a writer.

    The Whole Shebang

    When I write this type of report for clients, I like to offer a comprehensive package, which includes interviews and research, writing, photography, data analysis, and graphic design. I love to meet in advance and plan periodic photoshoots for big events, get quotes from VIPs when it’s convenient for them, and capture data when it’s fresh and available. If this sounds like a far easier process than the one you’re currently using, let’s talk. Maybe I can help.