I think there’s two ways we can start to get to know one another.
Option one is for me to write a stuffy page about me, my skills and background. I can refer to “Bob” in the 3rd person as if someone is eulogizing me. I could give you an online resume.
Option two is I just cut to the chase, give you the basics and bet that you’ll be intrigued enough to contact me and we can start to discover whether there’s an opportunity to work together.
I’m taking option two.
I have over 20 years working with nonprofit organizations. Yes 20 years and no I didn’t start when I was 10! Right after graduating from the University of Chicago I went to work to effect change on the issues I care deeply about.
In the span of the following 20 years I’ve had quite a ride. I’ve canvassed door to door, talking face to face with everyday people about issues. I’ve run fundraising campaigns that have resulted in millions and millions of dollars for groups that do the real work of changing the world. I’ve organized conferences, run staff recruitment programs, led groups in rethinking their entire organization’s brand and I’ve helped craft hundreds upon hundreds of fundraising appeals.
Of course more recently email campaigns, online fundraising strategies, new media advocacy and yes, websites.
Can you get your board member’s 23 year old nephew to build you a website on the cheap? Sure. And in a pinch that might be the right way to go. But I’m absolutely certain that with even a modest budget and a different approach the end result will be dramatically different in ways that are easy to see but perhaps more importantly, in ways that are not obvious.
Should you hire a firm with a deep client list and impressive staff list? Perhaps. But the premium billing rates are what pays the salaries of project managers, ruby programmers and UX designers. And the person you interact with after the initial conversations is likely not one of the principles. I can compete on quality, cost and service with some of the best firms out there serving the nonprofit world.
Does the person you’re thinking of hiring to be your “online guy” have 20 years experience working with groups ranging from the scrappiest office-in-the-church-basement types to huge national-presence types with multiple departments all wanting different things from your next online project? Does that kind of depth and range of experience make a difference in the end product?
You bet it does.
I don’t work on every project that comes my way. I try to balance between large projects for bigger organizations and smaller groups who are stretching budgets. This is my way to have an impact on stuff I care about. I’m not out to empty your organization’s coffers. I want us both to be thrilled with the results and feel the money is fair.
Once I’m committed to working with you, you’ll have my focus. I may get some of my good-guy freelancers to create great design or write killer code, but when you call or email, you get me.
I’m always up for a challenge…in fact I live for it!