Communicate your cause.

About Colin

Brand whisperer. Cause evangelist.

My background as a creative writer taught me to recognize great stories. My years as a journalist and a professional copywriter taught me to listen closely when people talk. And my skills as a consultant match my professional mission: to help forward-thinking organizations achieve success by empowering them to communicate clearly.

Whether coaching nonprofits to develop their brands or helping progressive businesses fulfill their philanthropic purpose, I work to:

  • Identify and clarify your mission
  • Communicate it to the broadest possible audience
  • Create systems that support it for the long run

As a consultant, I succeed by elevating your organization to the point where you don’t need me anymore.

My intention is to align you with the powerful magnetic north of ‘generous global giving.’ Along the way, nothing excites me more than seeing and facilitating positive transformation — of a person, a team, an organization, or the planet.

 

 

Clients

My work with the ManKind Project of Los Angeles increased new membership and participation by more than 100%.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation hired me to sharpen its communications plan.

I'm part of team that raised more than $14 million for Green Dot Public Schools.

I worked closely with United States Artists to help develop a major endowment campaign.

Through its branding agency, I helped The Broad Stage develop successful direct-mail programs.

Culture expert and executive coach Debbie Robins asked me to create content for her new website.

Testimonials

It has been my pleasure to work with Colin on a variety of projects. His talent as a writer and communicator has made him an essential member
of our team. He created a style manual for the Foundation that has resulted in consistent written communication from all the staff. We are grateful for his contributions to our marketing and our fundraising. Everyone loves working with him, because he challenges us to think big thoughts.

Karen Wagener

President, Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation

Colin was a consultant for two years at USA and wonderful to work with. He interacted skillfully with our board members, and his contribution to our endowment campaign was essential in shaping the identity and branding of the organization. And he always delivered on time and on budget.

Jocelyn McCormick

Former Creative Director, United States Artists

Colin’s vision for healthy growth made  significant positive and lasting changes for MKPLA. His background in written and branded communications helped us elevate and align our outreach materials and make our message consistent. His passion and commitment served as an inspiration for those inside and outside the community. He is a leader among leaders, and a man I trust and admire.

Les Sinclair

International Leader Chairman, MKP, ManKind Project of Los Angeles

My Process

1. I don’t walk in with solutions.

That would be disrespectful. I do enter in with a sense of curiosity, a passion for great causes, and a proven track record of success with organizations like yours. Every client is unique, and it’s my job to learn exactly what you need to succeed. So…

2. I watch and listen. Closely.

My initial process is simple: I study your organization carefully, getting a clear understanding of how it runs, what it does well, and what its challenges are. I talk to you and to the people you work with, as well as those outside your brand who are connected to it in some way. And unless everyone’s in 100% agreement about exactly who you are and what you do, that’s where I start.

3. I help you to recognize the power of your brand.

Every company, every person, every cause has its own personality. Its own style and flavor. Its own language. It’s what differentiates you. Helping you identify and define your brand might be the most important thing I ever do for you.

4. Along the way, I solve problems.

If you’re like most organizations, you call me when things go wrong: You’ve lost touch with your mission; you’re new and need help getting started; or you’re well-established but feeling stuck. You want to motivate your membership or raise money for a specific campaign. After my initial inquiry, we pick a project and get to work.

5. I help you manage details while keeping the big picture in focus.

There may come a day when you and I are talking about the color of your logo, the spelling of a certain word on your website, or the size of a font in your newsletter. Yet we both understand what we’re really talking about is how the world perceives your brand, how well you’re communicating its purpose, and whether or not people trust you to buy your products or click your DONATE button. Although I’m a details guy, I see the larger scheme at work. (And if you’ve hired me, I’ll teach you to see it, too.)

6. I acknowledge the value of human relationships.

Between donors and web designers, board members and the executive team, members of your staff, you and me — in the end, your organization’s success depends on the quality of the people who work to make it happen. I’ll help you to nurture and connect them, even as I help you shine up your communications strategy and maximize the power of your brand.

 

News

 

End-of-Year Appeals: A Template

This year, make year-end online giving a lot more straightforward. Here’s a four-email template, courtesy of Classy.org, that can maximize your donors’ participation in year-end fundraising. The basic rules? Keep it simple, short, and focused. 1. About a month out,... read more

A Vision for Giving

Have you ordered your Warby Parker glasses yet? I got my first pair delivered last week, and they’re awesome. High-style, high-quality eyewear, a great price, and excellent customer service. And the best part? For every pair of glasses I buy, the company gives away a... read more

Big Ideas vs. Big Picture

A colleague recently pointed me to Michael Hobbes’ feature in the New Republic, which has a provocative title: “Stop Trying to Save the World.” It’s a great piece about the challenges inherent in foisting Western ideas (and ideals) on the complex matrix of... read more

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