In my last post, we talked about why your organization needs contractors and how they can be a huge support to many nonprofits. Now that we’ve discussed the why, I want to go into the how. Specifically, I want to discuss how nonprofits can build healthy, sustainable relationships with contractors that benefit the organization and mission.
If you read my last post, you’ll know the first step is treating contractors like they’re part of the team, not an afterthought. Of course, there are differences between contractors and employees, especially when it comes to accounting. But in my twenty-plus years of experience, I’ve found that for the most part that’s where the major differences stop. By including contractors in the work environment, you’re building a rapport with them that can lead to a long-term professional relationship. I also believe when people have a more personal investment in their work, they provide a higher quality product. Contractors are not an exception.
Okay, moving on…
You and your team should be okay with some push.
What do I mean by push?
Contractors are viewing your nonprofit through an outsider’s lens and may have some critiques, or ideas about ways to improve workflow. When you’ve poured years of time and energy into a job, it’s common to feel a little defensive. But it’s also common to have blinders on once you’ve fallen into a routine.
Essentially, when you’re experiencing something on a daily basis, it starts feeling normal. For people watching you go through that experience, they have a more objective and critical eye. What this means is contractors are likely to see the gaps that you can’t. Instead of pushing them away, hear them out.
Speaking of hearing people out, you and your contractor should be aware of their scope of work. Having this stated clearly in their contract will limit, or completely avoid any potential miscommunications throughout their time with your organization. If your team’s needs change and you’d like them to support that change, I’ve found that many contractors are open to discussing altering their scope of work if the communication is clear and transparent.
And, if for some reason they’re not, they can recommend another contractor. Like with any sector, professionals network and stay in touch. Your current contractor could be a great referral source for others moving forward.
To wrap things up, when working with contractors what’s most important to remember is the person behind the job. They’re not after-thoughts, they’re not machines pushing out paperwork and they’re not disposable. Contractors are members of your team. Part of your job is making sure they feel like they are!
The end of the year is fast approaching, so this is a great time to start thinking about how your organization can utilize contractors for the better. If you’re interested in learning more about fundraising, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to see what we can get done. You’re not in this alone!