How To Find And Hire A Freelance Bid Writer Or Charity Fundraiser

UK freelance bid writers and charity fundraisers - everything you need to know, including day rates, costs and charges

How To Find And Hire A Freelance Bid Writer Or Charity Fundraiser

A freelance bid writer or charity fundraiser can be a very good way to access bid writer expertise, but fundraisers are in huge demand. Here's everything you need to find and hire a charity freelance bid writer, including understanding cost, charges and day rates.

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Charity Freelance Bid Writers - Advantages

·       Charity freelancer bid writers are usually available to start at short notice and, as they work for multiple organisations, they're well used to getting up-to-speed quickly too.

·       Freelance fundraisers only get paid for the work they do and, as many home-work, don’t have the overheads of the larger fundraising consultancies.

·       You work with them only for as long as you need them and, if it doesn’t work out, you can get out of the relationship easily.

And during tough times, a freelancer can provide a much needed boost to your charity's resilience, as outlined in this short blog by Alexander Stevenson, the MD of Blume, who are a specialist charity interim and freelance provider, so he should know what he's talking about!

Charity Freelance Bid Writer - Disadvantages

·       As charity freelance bid writers are usually a one-man (person) band, if they fall sick, work stops which won’t (or rather shouldn’t) happen with a large consultancy.

·       They’re often home based workers, so won’t be in the office all the time.

·       You need to pick a good one. As in any walk of life, there are some bad ones and, even if not, you need to be sure he/she has the right skills/experience and approach for your charity.

Freelance Fundraiser Day Rates

·       A freelance fundraiser day rate is not comparable to the rate you pay staff, because they only get paid for the days they work and have to pay the various employer on-costs themselves.

·       My Fundraiser Freelance Register reflects the wider sector, with day rates as low £150, up to about £800, with most in the region £250 to £400. However, many freelance bid writers will consider discounts; introductory, or for small charities, or longer term engagements.  Agency day rates will usually be higher.

So, How Do I Pick A Great Freelance Bid Writer?

·       Consider more than one candidate, so you can choose the fundraiser who is the best fit for what you need.

·       Price matters (obviously), but how much funding you receive, depends in large measure on the skill and experience of the person you engage, so it's not everything.

·       As a minimum, ask for at least a CV to assess this – work carried out, appointments held, successes, qualifications, awards etc.

·       Also ask for at least 2 relevant referees and contact them.

How To Get The Most From A Charity Freelance Fundraiser, Or Bid Writer?

·       You may not know exactly what you want your fundraiser to do, or even the best way to go about it, but be clear on what you want him/her to achieve for you, with some idea of how much you wish to spend. The Freelancer Register and CEF online toolkit both have a client specification template you can use for this.

·       The more you can do yourself, the less it'll cost you. The CEF's vast range of resources will help you do so, even if you're new to fundraising.

·       It doesn't have to be written by a lawyer, or even complicated, but ensure you have a written agreement with clear deliverables and milestones.

·       Be aware and comply with the regulations governing working with fundraising commercial partners - part of this is having the agreement above. The Register and the CEF both have a fundraising freelancer example agreement that you can use for this.

·       If anyone offers to work on a commission basis, be very wary. The Fundraising Code does allow this, under certain conditions, but there has been abuse. Most good fundraisers won't do so.

·       No bid will ever be better than the information in it, so help them to help you, by providing the key facts, figures and information to make your bids the best these can be.

·       If you promise to send them information by a set date, do so. If you send it late, send the wrong information, or keep missing deadlines, it’ll slow the process down. And freelancers have families too, just like the rest of us.

·       Ask for itemised invoices - day rate, work carried out and hours spent on each distinct element of work, then pay them promptly.

·       They bring skills and experience you don't have, so tap into this by working closely with him/her. You'll get better results and grow your own expertise at the same time.

What Results Can I Expect From A Freelance Fundraiser?

No fundraiser can guarantee to bring in the amounts you want, because the decision to award a grant isn't theirs to make. I chaired a grant making board for a decade and there is huge competition. Sadly, not every great bid gets the funding it deserves.

And how appealing bids are varies from charity to charity.  Factors to think about.

  • Competition - trust and foundation fundraising is now much more competitive.
  • Funder Priorities - as at end 2022, funders were more focussed on the vulnerable, food banks.
  • Number of Grants Available - there are far more grants available for young people than the LGBTQI+ community.
  • Number of Opportunities - if you've already engaged and/secured funding from the most obvious/best funders, it'll be harder to find good new ones.
  • Warm v Cold - if funders know your charity, they're more likely to be open to a bid.

What a good fundraiser will do, is maximise your chances of being successful.

How Would A Freelance Bid Writer Help My Charity?

Here are some of the ways a freelance bid writer can help you. Writing really good bids is the obvious one, but a successful funding campaign needs more than that.

  • If you're just starting out, they can help you think about what your strategy should be, create prospect lists (potential funders), including bid numbers and amounts you'll need to deliver your target.
  • What's on funders websites is sometimes out-of-date and isn't always the whole story. Some funds are extremely competitive, and funders may have likes and dislikes that aren't on the website.
  • They may know funders that are less well known but may be perfect for your charity.
  • They may know grant makers personally and be able to talk to them about your charity and a potential bid.  Having a 'warm' grant maker significantly increases your chance of success.

The Really Difficult Bit - Where Can I Find A Freelance Bid Writer?

The Charity Excellence Freelancer Register enables you to find a freelancer quickly, easily and costs you nothing, because I run it myself on a voluntary basis. Their profiles include, areas of expertise, areas they don't work in, specialist skills, qualifications, where they're based, what clients value about them, why they're passionate about fundraising, background information, fees and discounts, referees, details of clients worked with, LinkedIn profile etc.

The information is in a standard format. This enables you to compare them, to find freelancers with the right skills/experience and approach, for your charity and the budget you wish to set. As it's free to freelancers too, it includes lone workers who often have in-depth experience, but can be hard to find, because they don't have the sales reach of the large consultancies.

However, I can't carry out any checks or due diligence and I can't provide you with any advice or guidance, as I just don't have the capacity.  Consequently, you might also want to try a specialist charity agency, such as Blume, who do and who also offer a range of other freelancers.  For example, here are a list of grant makers with details of their freelancers who have successfully submitted bids to them.

The Charity Freelance Bid Writer Register

Simply ask for access to the online records of charity freelancer fundraisers on the Register and approach those bid writers you wish to. You'll also have access to various templates and toolkits that'll help you get the most out of working with your charity freelancer. This is a Charity Excellence initiative, so is run on a voluntary basis and is completely free.

If you wish to be given access or have any questions, contact me on 07595 371 444, or at

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