Today, I have a question for you, the StepByStepFundraising community. First, a little background: My wife is a web designer and developer. From time to time, she picks up freelance work. Occasionally, she’ll look on Craigslist for such jobs.

Just recently, she came across this job posting and showed it to me. Being married to me, she has a lot of experience with the non-profit world. She understands that most non-profits are on a tight budget and have to be creative in how they reduce expenses. She knows that sometimes non-profits have to ask for volunteers to provide their services at reduced rates.

However, this particular ad that she showed me went a little too far, I think. To be honest, it kind of embarrassed me for the non-profit industry. However, I tend to over-react to things, so I thought maybe I’d throw it out to the group to respond.

Here is the “help wanted” ad:





So, what do you think? Is this group asking for too much?

Maybe what bothers me most about the ad is the line, “But this is the type of connection that may play out big later on, trust me on that.” What does that even mean?!  Or for “Compensation” they list: “great letter of recommendation and lots of good energy”.  I”m not a texter, but IMHO, OMG!

Now, I know that freelancers, when they are first starting out, need connections and good references, but they also need to be paid. At least something. Not just anyone has the skills to design and develop websites. If you’ve ever tried it, you know it’s hard. These people put in a lot of time and effort to gain these skills that are so in demand today.

But, they also have to build a business, and they have to start somewhere. I get that.  So there may be a few people who will respond to this ad, but I personally think it’s insulting to dangle some kind of big unspecified pay-off, when really, how truthful and sincere does that actually sound? And then to add, “…trust me on that” makes it sound like a slimy used car salesman.

Of course, this is just one non-profit. Most credible organizations wouldn’t approach this situation so tastelessly. However, how do you entice a professional to donate his or her professional services at a fraction of the normal cost or even for free without sounding desperate or worse- cheesy?

I don’t think we need to be ashamed that our resources are limited, and that we have to be creative with how we manage our finances. That’s just part of the deal. However, the way in which we ask people for their help is so important.

If you were to be in this situation, how would you write this ad? Or would you even have written it and put it out there on Craigslist in the first place?

I’d love to read what you would do.


Posted on 19 May 2011

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