Freelance Writing Markets ? How to Get Nonprofit Clients

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Freelance writers can attract clients in a variety of ways. If you are interested in building a clientele of nonprofit organizations, here are five proven methods.

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Develop Subject Areas of Expertise

Nonprofits are mission-driven organizations. They have been granted their special tax status because they are working to change the world in some way that benefits society. Therefore, most of them specialize in certain areas, from the environment and animal welfare, to health care and advocacy for children or the elderly, and everything in between. Nonprofits want freelancers who understand their missions and who can help them convey the importance and urgency of their issues to the public. If you specialize in writing about a topic a nonprofit works on, you will be a more attractive candidate to the organization.

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Join Groups that Nonprofits Join

Most states have associations of nonprofit executive directors. You can find a list of these associations on the website of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations. Join the association in the state where you live or where you want to market your writing services. By becoming a member of the group, you will often receive discounted conference and exhibition registrations (where you can meet staff from potentially hundreds of nonprofits) and advertising discounts in newsletters and other publications. Membership in these organizations is a great way to network as well.

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Attend Nonprofit Functions

Go where nonprofit leaders go. Staff at nonprofit organizations tend to support each other’s work and mingle in similar professional circles. By attending a fundraiser for one nonprofit organization, you will likely meet staff from several others, and you can work into conversations that you are a freelance writer. You can usually write off the cost of admission as a charitable donation or as a marketing expense.

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Encourage Word-of-Mouth Referrals

Word-of-mouth referrals are the best kind of marketing for freelance writers. It doesn’t cost you a penny and you don’t even have to do the work. Encourage others to become part of your “secret” sales force by making sure your friends, family, neighbors, spouse’s co-workers, and everyone else you can think of know that you provide writing services for nonprofits. Think about it . . . anyone can be involved with a nonprofit in their spare time, so you never know where that referral for writing and editing services might come from. Make sure your name comes up by letting the people in all the circles of your life know that you are a freelance writer/editor.

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Offer to Write for a Reduced Fee

Many people will suggest that writing for nonprofits as a volunteer is a good way to build a portfolio and client list. But instead of positioning yourself that way, write or edit for a reduced rate or make it clear that you are donating your services as a professional freelance writer. By framing the relationship this way, it is clear to the nonprofit that you are a professional freelancer who normally expects payment for services. Asking for payment on future projects will be much easier with this kind of relationship in place.

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Kivi Leroux Miller is a freelance writer and editor specializing in the needs of nonprofit organizations. Read her blogs on freelance writing at and nonprofit communications at

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