Reasonable Non-Profit Rates. . .

10 replies
Hey everyone,

I'll try to keep this short and sweet. These past weeks I've been working on the foundation of my copywriting business. I'm considering the non-profit niche, but I haven't found sources that can give me an average of what everyone else is charging.

I understand that in my case it's different because I'm new and currently working on developing my portfolio. So my prices should be below the average. But the problem is I have no idea what the average is.

Anyway, I'd appreciate the help. I'm sure there's something blatantly obvious I'm overlooking and, on account of that, I expect The Copy Nazi to remark scornfully against me in this thread.

And as long as I've learned something, I'm quite alright with that.

Cheers!
#nonprofit #rates #reasonable
  • Profile picture of the author amichael0400
    Anyone at all?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      As presented, the question cannot be answered.

      "Non-profit" has various categories... charity, political, religious, causes.

      And ads come in many flavors... direct mail, space, online, etc.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
        Banned
        Hi. I would not be afraid to post the rates that you are considering. I think it's the only way to get legitimate input from others, based on fact.

        If you're going to get your head lopped-off, you might as well learn something in the process. I'm kinda curious how you arrived at the figures that you shared with me. You must have used something as a point of reference and then whittled them based on your lack of experience.

        No need to be mysterious. I'm sure you'll get helpful input if you give people a chance to help you. Fear, not.

        Cheers. - Frank

        P.S. If you don't want to share them all, pick the one you are most comfortable with.
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  • Profile picture of the author bad golfer
    The fact that you are targeting non-profits has very little to do with what to charge. As Colm pointed in another thread, nationally known non-profits hire some of the most expensive and talented copywriters available. On the other end, some local non-profits with no budget may only offer a reference and a testimonial.

    In other words, the non-profit "niche" is the the same as the IM, finance, health and other niches for copywriting. There is a wide range of fees and markets, and a wide range of copywriters working at different fee levels serving those markets.

    So your challenge is to determine where you are in your career--raw beginner, "shameless whore" as John Carlton put its, rising star, top gun, etc.--and charge the appropriate rate for that level.

    You might be interested in this guide to writing for non-profits from Bob Bly. I have no connection and it is a non-affiliate link:
    http://www.thefundraisingwriter.com/
    Signature
    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author amichael0400
    You're right, BigFrank. I think specificity is in order here.

    So, I found a non-profit niche that's perfect relative to my interests and experience. I won't say what it is, but I'll give some of the highlight information I found in a report about this industry.

    * There are over 1,000 organizations of its type.

    * Total operating expenses amount to $1.5 billion

    *15% of which are going into marketing

    *Operating expenses range from $70k to $50 million per organization

    And after probing further and conducting keyword research, I found there is no one competing in this non-profit niche. I've even come across a few freelance copy-writing job notices through indeed and monster from some of the bigger establishments.

    Job notices which have been repeatedly posted over a 3 month period. Which confirms my conclusion that there simply isn't a supply that meets the demand.

    Now the problem is that although I've done all the homework and marketing research and found a perfect niche for me, I'm also incredibly green as a copywriter.

    So I decided to quote my rates relative to an "average copy-writing rate" report I'd found (I can't remember the site, but I have the info plugged into excel). I actually under-cut my own rates because of my lack of experience.

    This is what I have:

    Newsletters $429/page

    Direct Mail $314

    Web-Content $350

    Press Releases $348

    Ad. Copywriting $2,752

    White Papers $4,927

    Fundraising Letters $405

    **************

    So are these over-priced/under-priced based on the rough contextual info I've given you?
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  • Profile picture of the author bad golfer
    It's good that you are focusing on a niche. And I understand the desire to have a working knowledge of the rates people charge. It still feels like you are a putting the cart before the horse. Let's pretend you get booked to write a fundraising letter and it bombs based on your lack of experience. Now you have an uphill struggle in the niche you want to work in, and I guarantee everybody in that niche knows each other.

    I recommend new copywriters get some wins before worrying too much about money. John Carlton covers this well in his Freelance Writing Course. You might even approach some local chapters of the national associations to see where you can help them. Take on jobs you know you can handle and track the results.

    Then worry about money--with proven results, you can call the shots. As Vin Montello says, "Prices don't go up over time... they go up over results."
    Signature
    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author Xiqual
    Congrats for the foundations!

    Any time you are not sure how to charge a client, non-profit
    or otherwise, you can always develop this 4 aces approach:
    * economic offer
    * medium rate one
    * high price one
    and let the client choose how much he wants to buy.

    Number 4 is: the buying decision is implicit in the offer.

    Now for something completely different:
    non-profit, no competition?
    Even in crowdfunding entourages?
    (hidden Ninja hint)

    To Your Copy,
    Adrian
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    • Profile picture of the author amichael0400
      Originally Posted by Xiqual View Post

      Congrats for the foundations!

      Any time you are not sure how to charge a client, non-profit
      or otherwise, you can always develop this 4 aces approach:
      * economic offer
      * medium rate one
      * high price one
      and let the client choose how much he wants to buy.

      Number 4 is: the buying decision is implicit in the offer.

      Now for something completely different:
      non-profit, no competition?
      Even in crowdfunding entourages?
      (hidden Ninja hint)

      To Your Copy,
      Adrian
      I can see this strategy working for a pre-qualified client that's already convinced and educated in the value of marketing/copywriting. That might be a riskier proposition for clients who DON'T quite get it because they'd probably opt to go the safe route and lean toward the economic choice.

      I guess it also depends on what I would be including in each one of these packages. How do you usually segment your offers?

      Oh... One last thing, regarding my finding this niche. I guess it's finally a benefit and NOT a disadvantage of being immersed in an industry where most other freelance copywriters are much older than me; you tend to look for the less traditional niches.

      But I do agree with badgolfer's assessment that getting a few wins under my belt will go a long way.
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      • Profile picture of the author Xiqual
        Thanks for giving me MOAR directions, it serves better to adjusting approach...

        This strategy could be risky, but it could represent a way to getting more info about
        the actual prospect education about value of marketing/copywriting

        If you make concrete detailing of the copy included in each priced pack,
        as well as telling something like: "... the cheaper one is an option, but after talking more with you I'm now sure it will not fill your complete expectations...".
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      • Profile picture of the author Xiqual
        Can expand more now...

        What I use to include:
        * Cheap: Just 1 copy proposal: squeeze page OR welcome mail OR offline copy leaflet exemple OR...
        * Medium copy: Same as cheap one, but giving another complimentary copy: newcomers 15 days email sequence OR QR codes OR social media copy...
        * Top Price offer: The complete previously mentioned pack, plus some BONUS graphics: banners, FB timeline design...

        Play your "younger-than-usual" as an advantage on this client:
        other copywriters will not be as informed about what is crashing it (trends)
        & will not dedicate so much time to the client as well: got older age prospect list to attend!
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