Worth Considering… Ghosts in the shadows: Using ghost writers

Worth ConsideringAre you a “ghost writer”? A ghost writer authors an article, a letter, even a book or blog under someone else’s name. If you’ve written a letter for your boss to sign or a speech for a volunteer to give, you’re a ghost writer.

There are a lot of good reasons to use ghost writers – top among them, time.  Writing just takes time – and some people don’t have, or shouldn’t be spending their time writing when they could be doing what they’re paid (or volunteering) to do.

How about the president or executive director of your organization? Staff or volunteers “on the ground” who serve your clients? Maybe your development staff? For your organization’s survival, it’s essential that they “do their thing,” whether that’s finding money, working with children in need, or making strategic decisions about the organization. Penning a letter or a report can take them off task – which means less money or accomplishments for your organization.

As important as time, is message. Your boss or board chair may not have all of the details of your particular message right at their fingertips. You might know how many children were fed in your nutrition program, but your board chair doesn’t deal in that level of detail every day.

Maybe the least discussed reason, but the most valid and persuasive, is skill. Some people simply do not write well. Besides, if you’re not good at something, it takes even more time to get the task done! (When you stop avoiding it!) There’s no shame in not writing well.  Most writers I know don’t do well in front of donors, but we don’t berate them for it. Yet not being a competent writer has a stigma in our society. But ask yourself, are we paying this person for their writing expertise, or their ability to save children, lead the organization or raise millions of dollars?

Of course, I’m biased. Much of my work is ghost writing for people. My clients have good reason to engage my services. There’s no use tying up their time researching and writing when they could be doing what they’re skilled at, and paid to do best. I’ll lurk in the shadows, and be their “ghost.”

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