Here are four critical pieces of information you need to provide any freelance professional:
#1 — Church Culture
Every church has it’s own culture and vibe. A mega-church in the South will look and feel different than a smaller church in the Northwest. There are doctrinal differences, various types of ministry programming and schedules, diverse approaches to small group ministry, and more. The culture of your church affects the colors and branding of the church website, how formal the language is in a church blog, and how you handle video announcements.
Church culture will influence some outsourced projects more than others. Bookkeeping work, for example, is probably the same regardless of whether your pastor wears jeans or dress slacks on Sunday. However, graphic design, social media, and even project management approaches will differ based on a church’s unique culture. While culture can be challenging to describe, you should be able to share key aspects of your church’s culture with a freelancer. Consider providing a statement of faith, which denomination the church is part of (if any), information about the church’s history, examples of recent bulletins or video announcements, and maybe a few video clips from sermons or events that reflect the culture. This information will help your freelancer quickly get a sense of how your church operates, what you value most, and more. This will help a freelancer quickly assimilate so he/she can write, design, and function in a way that’s aligned with your existing team.
#2 — Expectations
Unclear and unmet expectations will quickly damage otherwise healthy relationships. The same holds true for an outsourcing relationship. To give your freelancer the best chance at success, you need to state your expectations clearly. For example:
- How do you want him to deliver a finished product? Do you expect him to send files to you via Google Drive, as email attachments, through Dropbox, or some other method?
- What collaboration tool do you want her to use (Asana, Basecamp, Trello, Monday, etc.)?
- What is the full scope of the project? How will you define a finished product as excellent or “a win?”
- What are the deadlines for a particular project? Do you want him to provide you with weekly progress reports leading up to the final due date? If so, how should he send you those updates, and on what day of the week?
Define and document your expectations before you search for a potential freelancer. Having these on-hand as you look at candidates may aid you in narrowing down the list. These details will also be beneficial to your freelancer as she evaluates what you need her to accomplish.
#3 — Team Atmosphere
While your freelancer isn’t working down the hall, this individual is part of the team. The professionals who sign up with Shaar care about the church as a whole and want to leverage their skills for ministry. Especially if you anticipate needing this freelancer’s services for more than a one-time project, invest the time to integrate her into the team. Invite her to a staff meeting via video chat to introduce her to the group. If you do a weekly devotional with your staff, feel free to send that via email to your freelancer too. These simple steps will help your freelance professional get to know the church culture and atmosphere better (thereby improving the quality of her work).
#4 — Documentation
Documentation isn’t a popular topic since most people don’t want to do it. However, when you document your expectations for a particular process or effort, you increase the ease of transitioning those tasks to an outsourcer. If there’s a specific process you want a virtual assistant to follow when booking premarital counseling sessions with a pastor, you need to document those steps and review that documentation with your virtual assistant. The same principle applies to a standard format you may have for blog posts and other content for the church website, frequency of social media posts, which Bible translation you want to use for all content, the brand colors and fonts you want a designer to use, and more. While we’re confident your freelance professional can tackle any project, he’s probably not a mind-reader. Before you hire a freelancer, invest the time to document your “rules of the road” and specific processes for that individual to follow.
Outsourcing projects to a freelance professional can be a huge win for your church. However, the outcome of this relationship is heavily influenced by the efforts you put in now to prepare. A few hours put into preparing to outsource can pay off exponentially with efficient and quality work from your freelancer.