Writing For Non-Profits For Free

Hi Angela,

I really appreciated the advice that was given about writing for non-profits. Here’s the way I put it to the large non-profit I did some editing for last summer, after I was asked if I could donate 30 hours of my time, because the writers I would be working with–all employed by a teaching institution–were donating theirs: “This is how I make a living. I cannot afford to take on a large project for free.”

I did give them a slightly reduced rate, but only because I felt comfortable doing so. I absolutely agree that non-profits need to understand writing is a professional service like any other.

Having said that much, if the non-profit is local and run by volunteers, I may well donate an hour or two of time, because I do believe in giving back to the community, but in that case I’m very up-front about what I will and will not do.

As far as the Red Cross director’s salary–in my humble opinion, no one at all working for any non-profit deserves that kind of salary–it’s not as if they’re paying for their travel, etc., because those are all business expenses. A quarter of that amount, okay, which would put them on a par with university presidents, etc. But they shouldn’t be profiting personally off donations made to help the unfortunate.

Keep up the good work.