Four Considerations for Nonprofits Hiring Freelance Talent

August 3rd, 2023

Building team tech startups

With deepening concerns about economic uncertainty, many nonprofits are struggling to confidently make hiring decisions. Uncertainty means nonprofits may hold off on hiring until stability emerges.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “With talk of deteriorating economic conditions and in the wake of the recent bank failures, businesses may turn more cautious in their hiring practices.”.

If your organization has taken a more cautious approach to hiring in light of economic uncertainty, but you still want to grow, improve, and complete tasks, taking advantage of the freelance economy may be a good place to start. If you are hiring at this moment, it is worth taking a look at this. 

The Rent Fast, Hire Slow Model

At its core, the “rent fast, hire slow” model leans on the idea of using freelancers as a way to buy time. Recruiting for full-time roles is costly and can take several months, but onboarding a qualified freelancer through an agency like  10x Management can occur in as little as two days. There’s a reason 73% of US workers want to freelance: it’s becoming more and more common, accepted, and mainstream for temporary workers to augment existing teams.

Learn more about this approach in Rent Fast, Hire Slow: The New Model for Nonprofit Efficiency.

Top Freelance Hiring Considerations 

Here are some of the top considerations for nonprofits looking to hire great talent. 

1. Speed 

On-demand talent is ready at a moment’s notice to jump in and help with whatever is needed. 

Freelancer speed is largely made possible by management firms like 10x that pre-vet talent, so you know you’re getting the right person with the right skillset. This essentially removes the time-to-hire window that tends to slow nonprofits down. 

2. Adaptability 

Exceptional freelancers are experts at coming into various companies, onboarding at a high speed, and providing immediate value. 

Exceptional freelancers provide the benefit of their past experiences at other companies and bring a fresh, outsider’s perspective to the tasks at hand. 10x freelancers can adapt to any role, and we constantly hear praise about how our talent ramps up incredibly quickly. It’s a compliment we’re always ecstatic to receive, and it reinforces our value proposition to our many customers.

Nonprofits especially often tackle complex and unique challenges that can provide exciting opportunities for tech professionals to showcase their skills and creativity. Highlight the variety of projects, innovation, and the chance to work on cutting-edge technologies within the nonprofit sector.

3. Cost 

From payroll taxes and insurance to 401k matching and PTO, a number of ancillary costs are mitigated when working with freelancers. As a result, the cost breakdown of a full-time employee vs. a freelancer can be pretty eye-opening. 

When factoring all of the relevant FTE costs, some analyses estimate that a freelancer charging $150/hour is actually cheaper than a full time employee earning $150k/year (working the same amount). 

For a high-level tech role, $150/hour will typically land you a more advanced developer, coder, programmer, etc. than an employee earning $150k. 

4. Low Commitment 

In times of economic uncertainty, commitment is difficult. Until we know what the future holds and have a stronger grasp on short-medium term organization projections, strategic entrepreneurs will look for ways to reduce financial commitment. 

Once again, enter freelancers. Since freelancers can be picked up and let go with less strings attached than W2 employees (severance for W2 employees can be a major cost), they can (and should) be leveraged as a low-commitment way to get important work done. 

Low commitment also means you can experiment with freelancers on a small project to see if they a) fit with the culture of your nonprofit and b) if they provide the value advertised.  This allows you to make a very small investment before committing to larger ones.

Hiring Requires Experimentation 

If you’re unsure that freelance talent could be game-changing for your nonprofit, consider that experimentation is a key element of staying nimble and adaptable. 

Companies tend to lay off staff and pause raises as initial reactions to reduce costs and stay lean. But staying afloat isn’t just about cutting costs – rather, it’s about doubling down on new and old ways to achieve peak performance. That means giving serious consideration to the power of freelancers.