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Creating a sustainable movement


The Anselm Society
Client since: 2013

Bottom line: We helped build Anselm into a sustainable hub for a movement, with over 1,000 followers and triple its fundraising goals in only two years.

The Colorado-based Anselm Society's goal is a renaissance of the Christian imagination. They provide artistic, relational, and spiritual support for local artists, writers, and musicians, helping them create deep and beautiful art that touches lives. They also put on world-class public events, like concerts by Nashville recording artists and lectures by scholars and artists from Yale, Oxford, and elsewhere.

Anselm has relied on Narrator since the beginning for its entire external relations program, so it’s probably the best example out there of what we can do. We built their entire brand, marketing, and fundraising infrastructure from the ground up—designing their look and artwork, handling all event promotion, helping them craft a network of informed and engaged artists and patrons (including a national network of top scholars and speakers), and designing their state-of-the-art donor program. For that last part, we equipped them with the technological tools to monitor, engage, and develop their followers (across in-person, social, web, and email interactions) all from a single platform—so every interaction was tracked and scored, every attendee’s giving capacity was monitored, and the best donor prospects could be identified and cultivated.

In two years, we helped them draw a 150-person event attendance average, build a network of over 1,000 supporters, end reliance on their startup funder ahead of schedule, and achieve triple their annual fundraising goals. More importantly, they were able to reach many hundreds of people every year with a unique message they weren’t getting anywhere else in town, and add the first group of outstanding member artists to their program.

See the Anselm Society's latest activities at http://www.anselmsociety.org.

From senior pastor Matt Burnett:

"If Brian takes on the job, then he is creative, proactive (so important), timely, responsive to client input, crazy talented, and has a large range of contacts. This is an easy recommendation."

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Creating a sustainable movement


The Anselm Society
Client since: 2013

Bottom line: We helped build Anselm into a sustainable hub for a movement, with over 1,000 followers and triple its fundraising goals in only two years.

The Colorado-based Anselm Society's goal is a renaissance of the Christian imagination. They provide artistic, relational, and spiritual support for local artists, writers, and musicians, helping them create deep and beautiful art that touches lives. They also put on world-class public events, like concerts by Nashville recording artists and lectures by scholars and artists from Yale, Oxford, and elsewhere.

Anselm has relied on Narrator since the beginning for its entire external relations program, so it’s probably the best example out there of what we can do. We built their entire brand, marketing, and fundraising infrastructure from the ground up—designing their look and artwork, handling all event promotion, helping them craft a network of informed and engaged artists and patrons (including a national network of top scholars and speakers), and designing their state-of-the-art donor program. For that last part, we equipped them with the technological tools to monitor, engage, and develop their followers (across in-person, social, web, and email interactions) all from a single platform—so every interaction was tracked and scored, every attendee’s giving capacity was monitored, and the best donor prospects could be identified and cultivated.

In two years, we helped them draw a 150-person event attendance average, build a network of over 1,000 supporters, end reliance on their startup funder ahead of schedule, and achieve triple their annual fundraising goals. More importantly, they were able to reach many hundreds of people every year with a unique message they weren’t getting anywhere else in town, and add the first group of outstanding member artists to their program.

See the Anselm Society's latest activities at http://www.anselmsociety.org.

From senior pastor Matt Burnett:

"If Brian takes on the job, then he is creative, proactive (so important), timely, responsive to client input, crazy talented, and has a large range of contacts. This is an easy recommendation."

Crafting a storytelling infrastructure


The John Jay Institute
Client since: 2012

Bottom line: A world-class storytelling plan and the pieces to make it possible have led to an engaged donor base, six-figure fundraising campaigns, and 20% budget growth

The John Jay Institute takes 20-somethings who are dedicated to public service—through politics, education, the arts, and more—and gives them the education, the training, and the professional network to jumpstart their efforts.

When the Institute brought us on, they had a strong brand and programs, but not the resources to tell their story effectively. As a result, donations had stagnated for several consecutive years.

Initially, we designed a communications strategy that took into account their fundraising and recruitment goals and audiences. We then helped them build a strategic communications infrastructure—over 20 volunteer writers, editors, photographers, and graphic and web designers collaborating to tell JJI's story through top-quality regular emails, blog posts, social media, and print materials. (One of our best sources of new clients the year we started working with them was people who’d emailed them asking how their stuff got so good!)
 

With that groundwork in place, we’ve gradually added on more rooms to the house—event marketing networks, an alumni giving program that doubled the number of participating alumni in the first month alone, a monthly donor program that raised 10% of the organization’s entire budget in its first campaign (over $100,000). In 2015, we started work on a comprehensive rebrand to modernize the organization’s image to reach a new audience and better communicate its core identity; and strategically placed support communities in key cities. The organization’s budget has grown 20% in the last two years and its brightest days are ahead.

More on the Institute: http://www.johnjayinstitute.org

From president Alan Crippen:

"Brian Brown at Narrator is a strategic thinker and an exceptionally gifted communicator with an "uncommon" sense for navigating the complicated social media waters of niche marketing with brilliant agility and results oriented effectiveness. I recommend him highly."

Crafting a storytelling infrastructure


The John Jay Institute
Client since: 2012

Bottom line: A world-class storytelling plan and the pieces to make it possible have led to an engaged donor base, six-figure fundraising campaigns, and 20% budget growth

The John Jay Institute takes 20-somethings who are dedicated to public service—through politics, education, the arts, and more—and gives them the education, the training, and the professional network to jumpstart their efforts.

When the Institute brought us on, they had a strong brand and programs, but not the resources to tell their story effectively. As a result, donations had stagnated for several consecutive years.

Initially, we designed a communications strategy that took into account their fundraising and recruitment goals and audiences. We then helped them build a strategic communications infrastructure—over 20 volunteer writers, editors, photographers, and graphic and web designers collaborating to tell JJI's story through top-quality regular emails, blog posts, social media, and print materials. (One of our best sources of new clients the year we started working with them was people who’d emailed them asking how their stuff got so good!)
 

With that groundwork in place, we’ve gradually added on more rooms to the house—event marketing networks, an alumni giving program that doubled the number of participating alumni in the first month alone, a monthly donor program that raised 10% of the organization’s entire budget in its first campaign (over $100,000). In 2015, we started work on a comprehensive rebrand to modernize the organization’s image to reach a new audience and better communicate its core identity; and strategically placed support communities in key cities. The organization’s budget has grown 20% in the last two years and its brightest days are ahead.

More on the Institute: http://www.johnjayinstitute.org

From president Alan Crippen:

"Brian Brown at Narrator is a strategic thinker and an exceptionally gifted communicator with an "uncommon" sense for navigating the complicated social media waters of niche marketing with brilliant agility and results oriented effectiveness. I recommend him highly."

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Mobilizing volunteers through digital outreach


CASA of Colorado
Client since: 2012

Bottom line: We've helped both the local and statewide chapters of CASA achieve unprecedented results in their digital awareness campaigns and their attempts to attract new volunteers.

We've had the pleasure of working with CASA of the Pikes Peak Region on regular projects for several years. CASA empowers everyday citizens to be a voice in court and in life for abused or abandoned children, giving the kids hope, love, and a future.

Our first project with them was a digital ad campaign designed to reach potential volunteers and convince them to ask for more information on volunteering. In a matter of weeks, we'd raised CASA's online visibility so successfully that numbers went up on an ONGOING basis, rather than the short-term spike we expected. Volunteer inquiries were up 29% for the entire year, and applications were up a whopping 52%. On top of that, website visits were up 62%, and Facebook and Twitter followers were up 40% and 66%, allowing CASA to reach more people organically well into the future.

CASA of Colorado, the statewide umbrella organization, was impressed enough to enlist us to do a similar campaign statewide for all their regional organizations in early 2015. We created a landing page and targeted potential volunteers—people could indicate interest in about five seconds and the volunteer coordinator from their LOCAL chapter would be in touch within 48 hours. Then we marketed the landing page with Facebook and Google ads for a month. We provided analytics at a ridiculously detailed level, so CASA knew the most successful messaging, the demographics responding to them, and how they found the organization. CASA got 141 new volunteer applications in that month (miles ahead of their normal rate) for a cost per volunteer of $22 (miles below their normal cost).

To find out how to support children through CASA, visit http://www.casappr.org.

From executive director Lauren Mueller:

"I can't say enough about how seamless the whole process was - Brian put together detailed information for me and the Colorado CASA network. His GoogleAds, Facebook, and SEO work were second to none. The network has already decided they want to work with him to do the project for a second year. The results were incredible - it can sometimes cost hundreds to recruit just one volunteer for our programs, but some of our programs saw costs as low as $22 per volunteer because of Brian's great work. I should also mention that he was exceptionally pleasant and professional!"

Mobilizing volunteers through digital outreach


CASA of Colorado
Client since: 2012

Bottom line: We've helped both the local and statewide chapters of CASA achieve unprecedented results in their digital awareness campaigns and their attempts to attract new volunteers.

We've had the pleasure of working with CASA of the Pikes Peak Region on regular projects for several years. CASA empowers everyday citizens to be a voice in court and in life for abused or abandoned children, giving the kids hope, love, and a future.

Our first project with them was a digital ad campaign designed to reach potential volunteers and convince them to ask for more information on volunteering. In a matter of weeks, we'd raised CASA's online visibility so successfully that numbers went up on an ONGOING basis, rather than the short-term spike we expected. Volunteer inquiries were up 29% for the entire year, and applications were up a whopping 52%. On top of that, website visits were up 62%, and Facebook and Twitter followers were up 40% and 66%, allowing CASA to reach more people organically well into the future.

CASA of Colorado, the statewide umbrella organization, was impressed enough to enlist us to do a similar campaign statewide for all their regional organizations in early 2015. We created a landing page and targeted potential volunteers—people could indicate interest in about five seconds and the volunteer coordinator from their LOCAL chapter would be in touch within 48 hours. Then we marketed the landing page with Facebook and Google ads for a month. We provided analytics at a ridiculously detailed level, so CASA knew the most successful messaging, the demographics responding to them, and how they found the organization. CASA got 141 new volunteer applications in that month (miles ahead of their normal rate) for a cost per volunteer of $22 (miles below their normal cost).

To find out how to support children through CASA, visit http://www.casappr.org.

From executive director Lauren Mueller:

"I can't say enough about how seamless the whole process was - Brian put together detailed information for me and the Colorado CASA network. His GoogleAds, Facebook, and SEO work were second to none. The network has already decided they want to work with him to do the project for a second year. The results were incredible - it can sometimes cost hundreds to recruit just one volunteer for our programs, but some of our programs saw costs as low as $22 per volunteer because of Brian's great work. I should also mention that he was exceptionally pleasant and professional!"

Raising money online (yes, that can actually work)


Campolo Center for Ministry at Eastern University
Client since: 2014

Bottom line: A new program got a face, national awareness, a strong email following, and tens of thousands of initial dollars raised--in a few short weeks.

In late 2014, Tony Campolo wanted to build a new center for training church leaders at Eastern University. He had tremendous personal brand value and social following, but no institutional following. Working with the Campolo Center’s excellent director, we built an initial brand to correspond with Eastern's logo, language to convey the Center's goals in a nutshell, a website designed to capture the interest (and email addresses!) of his personal supporters, print and social promotional materials, and end-of-year campaigns to drive email list signups. (Did we mention we pulled all this together in 12 days?)

Our initial campaigns drew over 1,000 new email subscribers in two weeks on a tight budget (all of them big personal fans of Tony), social and website traffic was huge, and we entered 2015 aggressively focused on financial growth as we courted these new supporters. Our first campaign in 2015 raised $80,000 in two weeks, all via email and social. Our ongoing work with the Campolo Center focuses on more digital outreach and fundraising, and major donor outreach.

Check out the Campolo Center's unique approach to church leadership development at http://www.campolocenter.org.

Raising money online (yes, that can actually work)


Campolo Center for Ministry at Eastern University
Client since: 2014

Bottom line: A new program got a face, national awareness, a strong email following, and tens of thousands of initial dollars raised--in a few short weeks.

In late 2014, Tony Campolo wanted to build a new center for training church leaders at Eastern University. He had tremendous personal brand value and social following, but no institutional following. Working with the Campolo Center’s excellent director, we built an initial brand to correspond with Eastern's logo, language to convey the Center's goals in a nutshell, a website designed to capture the interest (and email addresses!) of his personal supporters, print and social promotional materials, and end-of-year campaigns to drive email list signups. (Did we mention we pulled all this together in 12 days?)

Our initial campaigns drew over 1,000 new email subscribers in two weeks on a tight budget (all of them big personal fans of Tony), social and website traffic was huge, and we entered 2015 aggressively focused on financial growth as we courted these new supporters. Our first campaign in 2015 raised $80,000 in two weeks, all via email and social. Our ongoing work with the Campolo Center focuses on more digital outreach and fundraising, and major donor outreach.

Check out the Campolo Center's unique approach to church leadership development at http://www.campolocenter.org.

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Building a brand on a budget


Chrysalis Youth Theatre
Client since: 2013

Bottom line: We made a small budget stretch into a professional-quality public image that drew packed houses for shockingly good shows.

Chrysalis Youth Theatre is a Christian theatre arts program in the Silicon Valley that puts on full productions as well as training kids in singing, acting, dancing, staging, and other related skills. We love working with these folks because of what they've done for so many kids' self-confidence!

As a new organization, Chrysalis was looking for a big bang for a small buck. We've been on call for key moments along the way--their initial branding, art and marketing materials for their shows, and strategic input as they built up their support base. We did nine increasingly packed shows in only two years in a market saturated with theatre companies!

Most recently, their full-scale, officially licensed production of Les Miserables drew thousands at San Jose's historic Anthony B. Soto Theatre. A unique twist: we had the fun challenge of designing some teaser posters before the date when they were allowed to officially reveal the production--they had to get a cast before they could technically announce what the show was!

Learn more about Chrysalis at http://www.chrysalisyouththeatre.org/.

From director Steven Brown:

"Although we were still in the concept phases of our program [when Narrator started working with us], Narrator brought out the best in what we had and did a wonderful job of portraying the professional but approachable way in which we desire to do business."

Building a brand on a budget


Chrysalis Youth Theatre
Client since: 2013

Bottom line: We made a small budget stretch into a professional-quality public image that drew packed houses for shockingly good shows.

Chrysalis Youth Theatre is a Christian theatre arts program in the Silicon Valley that puts on full productions as well as training kids in singing, acting, dancing, staging, and other related skills. We love working with these folks because of what they've done for so many kids' self-confidence!

As a new organization, Chrysalis was looking for a big bang for a small buck. We've been on call for key moments along the way--their initial branding, art and marketing materials for their shows, and strategic input as they built up their support base. We did nine increasingly packed shows in only two years in a market saturated with theatre companies!

Most recently, their full-scale, officially licensed production of Les Miserables drew thousands at San Jose's historic Anthony B. Soto Theatre. A unique twist: we had the fun challenge of designing some teaser posters before the date when they were allowed to officially reveal the production--they had to get a cast before they could technically announce what the show was!

Learn more about Chrysalis at http://www.chrysalisyouththeatre.org/.

From director Steven Brown:

"Although we were still in the concept phases of our program [when Narrator started working with us], Narrator brought out the best in what we had and did a wonderful job of portraying the professional but approachable way in which we desire to do business."

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Doing "I can't wait to do it when we're bigger" now


Mercy's Gate
Client since: 2011

Bottom line: A tiny organization has had a full communications staff for four years and counting--and now they're eyeing newfangled fundraising.

We've been working with Mercy's Gate since just after Narrator's founding in 2011. It's a human services organization that provides food, rent assistance, and other services to struggling families. Initially, we were their entire communications shop--we built their website, got them on social media, and handled their email, blog, and social updates. We also regularly handled the branding and promotion for their annual health fair, which increased attendance and results every year we were involved.

In 2014, we designed a monthly giver campaign ("The Greater Things Project," evocative of the Chris Tomlin song "God of the City") in support of their homelessness prevention program. We re-branded the program, did the graphic design and landing page, developed a multi-stage growth strategy through community partnerships and network growth, and as we write this, it stands ready for launch in 2015! The goal: raise $120,000 and fund the entire program through monthly giving.

Learn more about Mercy's Gate at http://mercysgatecs.org/.

Doing "I can't wait to do it when we're bigger" now


Mercy's Gate
Client since: 2011

Bottom line: A tiny organization has had a full communications staff for four years and counting--and now they're eyeing newfangled fundraising.

We've been working with Mercy's Gate since just after Narrator's founding in 2011. It's a human services organization that provides food, rent assistance, and other services to struggling families. Initially, we were their entire communications shop--we built their website, got them on social media, and handled their email, blog, and social updates. We also regularly handled the branding and promotion for their annual health fair, which increased attendance and results every year we were involved.

In 2014, we designed a monthly giver campaign ("The Greater Things Project," evocative of the Chris Tomlin song "God of the City") in support of their homelessness prevention program. We re-branded the program, did the graphic design and landing page, developed a multi-stage growth strategy through community partnerships and network growth, and as we write this, it stands ready for launch in 2015! The goal: raise $120,000 and fund the entire program through monthly giving.

Learn more about Mercy's Gate at http://mercysgatecs.org/.

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Constructing a multi-generational donor base


The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
Client since: 2015

Bottom line: Imagine if you had an extension of your team that brought a nearly bottomless knowledge of the American donor scene (right down to particulars and people), that knew how to raise money from every generation with every tool, and could help you constantly look just beyond the horizon? That's what we give IFWE.

The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics is a relatively new Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to promoting the ideas that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Its message hits home in a day and age where few of us seem to manage to find fulfillment in life across the board.

We were fortunate to be invited on the bus just as IFWE began to outline its strategy for transitioning beyond its seed funding to a broader donor base. We helped them design an ambitious development plan, with a huge content marketing strategy, hub city development, development pipeline, and lots of back-end technology to make it all happen. We also helped them pick up speed so that they could be continuously identifying new potential major donors, points of connection with them, and ways to introduce them to the organization’s work. They had already built a strong (often young) staff so they could accomplish most tasks in-house—our role since the initial strategy has primarily been to serve as an extension of the team that brings extra knowledge and experience to the table, so that the right things get built, the right donors are identified, and the organization continues to grow rather than any piece of the machine getting stuck in the weeds.

It’s been so exciting to work with an organization that’s strategically invested in its own success—rather than skimping on the technology, the communications, or the infrastructure as many new organizations do, they put them front and center. Being able to develop content to touch people’s lives, and develop donors on a large scale, is key to a sustainable organization today. It’s been our pleasure to help craft IFWE’s strategy to reach millions with its message and build the funding base to power their efforts to do so—and we continue to enjoy working with them week by week to move things forward.

Learn more about this organization at http://tifwe.org/.

Constructing a multi-generational donor base


The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
Client since: 2015

Bottom line: Imagine if you had an extension of your team that brought a nearly bottomless knowledge of the American donor scene (right down to particulars and people), that knew how to raise money from every generation with every tool, and could help you constantly look just beyond the horizon? That's what we give IFWE.

The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics is a relatively new Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to promoting the ideas that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Its message hits home in a day and age where few of us seem to manage to find fulfillment in life across the board.

We were fortunate to be invited on the bus just as IFWE began to outline its strategy for transitioning beyond its seed funding to a broader donor base. We helped them design an ambitious development plan, with a huge content marketing strategy, hub city development, development pipeline, and lots of back-end technology to make it all happen. We also helped them pick up speed so that they could be continuously identifying new potential major donors, points of connection with them, and ways to introduce them to the organization’s work. They had already built a strong (often young) staff so they could accomplish most tasks in-house—our role since the initial strategy has primarily been to serve as an extension of the team that brings extra knowledge and experience to the table, so that the right things get built, the right donors are identified, and the organization continues to grow rather than any piece of the machine getting stuck in the weeds.

It’s been so exciting to work with an organization that’s strategically invested in its own success—rather than skimping on the technology, the communications, or the infrastructure as many new organizations do, they put them front and center. Being able to develop content to touch people’s lives, and develop donors on a large scale, is key to a sustainable organization today. It’s been our pleasure to help craft IFWE’s strategy to reach millions with its message and build the funding base to power their efforts to do so—and we continue to enjoy working with them week by week to move things forward.

Learn more about this organization at http://tifwe.org/.

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Helping your audience understand your vision


ReGenerations
Client since: 2013

Bottom line: A sorely needed idea wasn't clicking with potential customers. We helped bring that idea out of the founder's head and into the imaginations of enthusiastic customers all over the country.

When another client first introduced us to Jessica Stollings, she had an incredible skill set and a great vision: to use her abilities as a generational translator to help companies, churches, and nonprofits adjust to generational differences. Help Millennials integrate into workplaces. Help older nonprofit leaders attract younger donors. Build intergenerational communities that had the health and the life to thrive, generation after generation.

But while that sounds pretty clear now, it was just in her head at the time. Articulating the vision, to very different audiences, was a steep challenge. We worked with Jessica to tease out the core of the vision, and build it out into a clear, strong mission that would resonate with each of her target audiences. (No, we didn't do that pretty website you see to the right--just the language!) We tested everything we came up with in focus groups of each audience. And we enjoyed working together so much that today, you'll see her on our staff page--if that mission above sounds like something you could use, let us know!

To see the language we crafted for ReGenerations as well as what the company is up to today, visit http://re-generations.org/.

From founder Jessica Stollings:

"For years I struggled to articulate the mission and vision of my organization. Brian Brown changed it all. He asked me the deep, strategic questions that helped me frame my message...then he helped me write it. Brian knows his stuff. If you have a story to tell, I highly recommend that Brian help you craft the words!"

Helping your audience understand your vision


ReGenerations
Client since: 2013

Bottom line: A sorely needed idea wasn't clicking with potential customers. We helped bring that idea out of the founder's head and into the imaginations of enthusiastic customers all over the country.

When another client first introduced us to Jessica Stollings, she had an incredible skill set and a great vision: to use her abilities as a generational translator to help companies, churches, and nonprofits adjust to generational differences. Help Millennials integrate into workplaces. Help older nonprofit leaders attract younger donors. Build intergenerational communities that had the health and the life to thrive, generation after generation.

But while that sounds pretty clear now, it was just in her head at the time. Articulating the vision, to very different audiences, was a steep challenge. We worked with Jessica to tease out the core of the vision, and build it out into a clear, strong mission that would resonate with each of her target audiences. (No, we didn't do that pretty website you see to the right--just the language!) We tested everything we came up with in focus groups of each audience. And we enjoyed working together so much that today, you'll see her on our staff page--if that mission above sounds like something you could use, let us know!

To see the language we crafted for ReGenerations as well as what the company is up to today, visit http://re-generations.org/.

From founder Jessica Stollings:

"For years I struggled to articulate the mission and vision of my organization. Brian Brown changed it all. He asked me the deep, strategic questions that helped me frame my message...then he helped me write it. Brian knows his stuff. If you have a story to tell, I highly recommend that Brian help you craft the words!"

Visual tour of recent work


We get to do lots of fun design work in support of many wonderful organizations. Usually it's the frosting on the more important work that came first, like figuring out the target demographics, identifying and researching the specific target people (including things like giving capacity and interests, and social network mapping so we know who knows whom), testing concepts/words/images so we know they work with the audience, and developing the game plan and tech tools so that when somebody responds to a design or an ad or an event, the client can develop that relationship.

But let's face it, sometimes it's just fun to look at the pictures. Here are a few of our recent design projects that aren't included in the client profiles on this page.
 

Visual tour of recent work


We get to do lots of fun design work in support of many wonderful organizations. Usually it's the frosting on the more important work that came first, like figuring out the target demographics, identifying and researching the specific target people (including things like giving capacity and interests, and social network mapping so we know who knows whom), testing concepts/words/images so we know they work with the audience, and developing the game plan and tech tools so that when somebody responds to a design or an ad or an event, the client can develop that relationship.

But let's face it, sometimes it's just fun to look at the pictures. Here are a few of our recent design projects that aren't included in the client profiles on this page.
 

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More ideas


More ideas


More Ideas

Liked what you saw on the projects page? We've done dozens more. Check out our products page to see our full slate of offerings (or contact us for a custom project). Or check out the latest postings on our blog below!