Does the Time Taken to Work with an Independent Contractor Worth It?
Many executive directors believe they must do the work that cannot be done by others in the organization. Often, executive directors simply don't have enough staff for the workload required. The hours get very long. The stress builds. Soon, the executive director is "married to the job" trying to do good.
The solution: a roster of people contractors with the experience, knowledge and skills to get the work done. Freelance contractors are an executive director's best edge to lowering stress levels and improving overall performance.
Why not just hire someone? When the work is complete, what do you do with an employee? Continue to pay a salary and benefits. When a contractor finishes a project, the financial requirements end.
One of the arguments against this approach is that it takes too long to explain the organization and the work. Executive directors believe they can do it faster and better themselves. The piles grow.
The reason, often, arises because the executive director simply doesn't understand enough about the work to clearly explain the project and is unable to provide a solid foundation and meaningful details about the work for anyone to help. No contractor can do the executive director's job for them.
The Idea Must be Developed
People experienced in working within the non-profits sector especially those who have served in many non-profits are usually adept at understanding the group's needs fairly quickly as long as those within the organization are quite clear about what the organization does, what the intent of the project is and most of all, skilled at creating appropriate budgets around the projects. The idea must be developed.
One agency asked me to research granting agencies and complete some grant applications for a project which was financially supported by a private donor. When I asked for a budget, an explanation of the budget and how the project budget integrated into the primary budget, no details could be provided. In other words, the project was simply in the idea stage and had not been properly constructed. "Just having an idea" is not enough - the idea must be thought through carefully, understood clearly and have a good foundation with which to proceed. Then and only then can a contractor perform well if that contractor has been well chosen.
Clarity is Key
Any executive director needs to have the project clearly in mind, so clear they can explain to anyone and the project is understood. If the executive director is "fuzzy" about any aspect of the project, no one can possibly help them - inside or outside the organization.
Time and energy wanes. Cracks start appearing. Everyone and everything suffers. No one can do it all, all the time. Best to invest time and energy in contracted services that will increase productivity and get the results within adding to salaries and benefits. Build relationships with contractors. The return on investment will be very rewarding.
Isn't improving the odds of success important?
On Contract Only