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 about things that matter to them. And my skills as a consultant match my professional calling: to empower organizations to successfully communicate their charitable purpose.

Whether you’re a new nonprofit finding your voice, an established charity seeking fresh focus, or a purpose-driven business or B-corp with an inspired philanthropic vision, I collaborate with you 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 work with you to build your brand by strategizing, implementing, and maintaining a clear and effective outreach and communications plan. 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.

For samples of my work, please explore the Case Studies below. Looking for my résumé?

Clients

Production Elements, Inc., needed a seasoned writer who could help set its brand apart.

I brought a fresh voice to Scripps College's respected alumnae magazine.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation relies on me to sharpen its branded communications.

I helped re-energize the ManKind Project of Los Angeles, increasing participation by more than 100%.

Art + Practice, an art and social services nonprofit, needed an eagle-eyed editor to polish its communications program.

I was part of team that raised more than $15 million for Green Dot Public Schools.

In developing a major endowment campaign, United States Artists needed to connect peoples' passions with their ability to give.

Julie Hart, an Australian psychologist, trusted me to shape the voice and tone of her first online course.

Through DISTINC, its creative agency, I helped The Broad Stage create successful direct-mail programs.

When Wesley Health Centers was ready to revisit its core brand messaging, it turned to me.

Case Studies

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 responsible for all our marketing and coursework writing and editing for my RenewYourSpark online relationship program, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. He was able to transform my initial copy into something wonderful — to strike just the right tone and message where needed. He saw the need for a new logo and helped us find a good design for it. He was ultra-reliable and worked well to any deadlines, delivering consistently great work. I am very happy to recommend him.

Julie Hart

Founder, The Hart Centre

Colin’s vision for healthy growth made significant positive and lasting changes for MKPLA. His experience with 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

Colin is the first person I call when I’m developing any kind of editorial project. He asks the right questions, understands the big picture, identifies details others have overlooked, and delivers top-quality content on or before the deadline. I’m always blown away by his insight and execution, though by now I’ve come to expect nothing less from Colin.

Mark Frauenfelder

Founding Editor-in-Chief, MAKE, Boing Boing, and Wired Online

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

My Process

1. I don’t walk in with solutions.

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 product 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 together 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

 

Nine Reasons to Hire a Consultant

As more nonprofits and small businesses turn to consultants to help with everything from writing grants and business plans to fine-tuning their brand and developing their leadership, you may wonder: Is a consultant right for us? Here’s a quick list of reasons why it... read more

Why Should You Care About Branding?

I typically serve one of three kinds of clients: new nonprofits or good businesses just getting started; existing organizations whose mission has gotten rusty or slid off the rails; or those who are launching a new project and need a skilled wordsmith and a... read more

The Sentiment Behind the Stats

Along with gathered data, storytelling needs to be part of a holistic approach to your nonprofit’s brand development that includes excellent design, ease of access, and strategic social media.

read more

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