How many times have you applied to a job as a grant writer or some other development professional and you're requested to send a writing sample?
It is perfectly fine to get a sense of an applicant's writing before making a hire. Afterall, there are many people who claim to know how to write to effectively obtain funding, but there are countless who do not. The majority of fundraisers have tons of requests they can choose from to share.
Increasingly, job postings for development professionals request a writing sample be sent in with a resume. However, we have learned an increasing number of employers are requesting potential applicants to create documents for the organization they are interviewing with.
Several weeks ago, we learned a client was asked to create an "Annual Fund Letter" as part of their interview process. Conveniently, this request was made at the start of the holiday giving season and after only one telephone interview with our client. Our client was uncomfortable and wanted our advice.
Imagine how many applicants are asked to send in similar requests. So for a mere job posting on a premiere site for development professionals for a hundred bucks and/or a brief "telephone" interview, an organization could get bonafide writing samples to use. Why would they need to actually hire you? How much would you actually charge a client for an Annual Fund Letter? More than the cost of that job posting we suspect.
We advised our client to do one of several things:
1. Create a fund appeal letter using an old program the organization no longer had;
2. Inform the potential employer, "Unfortunately, I do not have enough information on organization's x funding audience to submit an appeal. In lieu of, please accept the enclosed writing sample from my portfolio.
Our client opted for option #2 and the good news is they have been called back for a final interview.