Experts predict that by 2023, over half of the US workforce will have been freelancers or part of the gig economy at some point in their career. Freelance workers can be a benefit to nonprofits of all sizes. But successfully working with freelancers or contract workers requires having efficient processes in place.
The Benefits of Freelance Workers
Using freelance or contract workers can provide multiple benefits to an organization. Freelancers allow you to access specialized skills that you might not otherwise be able to afford. Using freelancers can result in faster deliverables and bring a much-needed diversity of perspective to an organization.
Many professionals with full-time jobs are eager to do freelance work with nonprofit organizations as a way of growing their skills while doing meaningful work. Although it can be tempting to try and get professionals to do certain tasks on a volunteer basis, hiring freelancers gives you more control over the work.
It is important to remember that the IRS has very strict rules and regulations about who does and does not qualify as a contract or freelance employee. Different states also have different rules regulating freelance workers. It is best to consult with a lawyer or HR professional before hiring freelance workers.
Popular Freelance Jobs in Nonprofits
Nonprofits hire a variety of freelance workers including graphic designers, web designers, grant writers, event planners, IT support, Human Resource support, communications and marketing support and accounting and financial professionals.
How to Work Efficiently with Freelancers
Make an Agreement
The first step in an efficient relationship is to know what the relationship is. A contract can prevent misunderstandings. The contract or agreement should include the contractor’s work scope, project duration, available company resources, level of access to company information, performance expectation, pay and benefits. If necessary, it should also include a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Like all employment agreements, it should be written or reviewed by a lawyer or trained HR professional.
Onboard Your Freelancers
Onboarding with freelancers looks different than it does with employees. However, it is still necessary. If you want the work of the freelancer to feel like it was created by the company, the freelancer needs to have a good sense of who the company is. Freelancers who may be working out of your office sometimes also need basic onboarding information.
Have Payment Procedures in Place
It should go without saying that your freelancers need to be paid in a timely manner. Make sure your team is set up to properly process and pay invoices from these professionals.
The single biggest obstacle to working efficiently with freelancers is a lack of preparation. Before beginning a project with a freelancer make sure you have all the relevant materials prepared, the appropriate buy-in from stakeholders, and the time needed to give feedback and respond to questions. Freelancers generally work with multiple clients at a time and a delayed start can mean that the freelancer has to move on to other projects before yours is done.
Treat Freelancers Well
Freelancers and contract workers are not employees, but they are still human beings. When working with freelancers, make sure to follow your organization’s values when it comes to feedback and flexibility.
At Brighter Strategies we help teams of all sizes and compositions grow to their greatest potential. Let us know how we can help you.