I’m often asked if it’s possible to get copywriting for free.
The asker quickly qualifies her question. “I mean, can I get good copywriting at no cost?”
I know because I've been on the giving end. Once in awhile a situation arises where I write without getting paid for it.
When I first started out
I volunteered my services to a couple of nonprofit start ups. The leaders understood that I was a newbie, but that I was motivated. They got good writing at no cost. I got beautiful clips and a pile of experience. (If you're a newbie copywriter, read more about building a sample writing portfolio.)
So if you’re looking for good copywriting without having to pay for it, find a newbie copywriter. Do this by posting opportunities on writing school job board (like American Writers and Artists Institute) or through the Career Services at local colleges and universities. You can also post a free ad on internet boards like Volunteer Match or craigslist.
And if you doubt that a simple post can pull in an eager newbie, look at it this way: it costs nothing to post on these sites. One client posted an ad for an intern to help with a new website – at no cost – and received 6 inquiries in 24 hours.
When I've bartered
Once in awhile, I do some copywriting and get professional services in return, at no cost. This works if your nonprofit offers a tangible product or service, such as classes, counseling, or courses.
When I'm personally affiliated with the cause
I've always done plenty of writing for my home church. Other writers offer their services gratis if they're on a board or an active volunteer.
Get to know your volunteers. Ask around to see if any of them have copywriting skills – or if they know someone who does. You may just make an easy match.
If your nonprofit chooses to pursue copywriting for free, remember just one thing.
Make sure it's good, too.
More on freebies for nonprofits
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