Communicate your cause.

Brand whisperer. Cause evangelist.

Hi, I’m Colin.

My background as a creative writer taught me to recognize and capture great stories. As a journalist and a professional copywriter, I listen closely when people speak about what matters to them. And my skills as a brand strategist align with my professional mission: to empower organizations to succeed by communicating the good they’re doing in the world.

I work with nonprofits, B Corps, and responsible companies to:

  • Express their mission or alignment with the triple bottom line
  • Effectively communicate to their customers, partners, donors, or employees
  • Create systems that support this plan for the long run
  • Unify and align their brand across all platforms

The short version: I help great causes and companies by developing, delivering, and maintaining clear and effective communications programs. I align them with the powerful magnetic north of good business practices and generous global giving. Along the way, I provide leadership, creative thinking, and a collaborative spirit as I facilitate positive transformation of the organization, its team, and the planet.

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

Clients

The Oregon Center for Nursing needed an authentic voice for its Nurses on Boards website.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation relied on me to unify and strengthen its brand.

Production Elements was looking for a consultant who could help set it apart from its competitors.

When Wesley Health Centers needed a strategist to re-direct its core brand messaging, it turned to me.

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

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

I worked with United States Artists to connect high net worth donors with their philanthropic passion.

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

I directed communications for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon & Southwest Washington.

Art + Practice needed an eagle-eyed editor for its new communications program.

Through its creative agency, DISTINC, I helped The Broad Stage strengthen its marketing presence.

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

Editorial Director, Wired, Make, Institute for the Future

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 premeditated 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 who are outside your brand but 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 and 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 implementing something new but feeling stuck. You want to motivate your members or raise money for a specific campaign. After my initial inquiry, we focus on 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 discussing the color of your logo, the spelling of certain words 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 the donor and the web designer, the board member and the CEO, members of your staff, you and me — in the end, your organization’s success depends on the quality of the relationships between 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

 

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...

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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,...

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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...

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