Your Ideas are Important. Let us help you share them with the world.

How It Works

Our simple process is designed to make your life easy.

We start with a short meeting so we can understand your goals and needs.


Once we’ve both decided we’re a good match, we ask you for a bunch of information to help us get to know you and your ideas better.


Once we’ve taken a look at everything you’ve sent us, we’ll have a longer conversation to understand the nuances of what you want to say and how you want to say it.


We’ll work with you on as many revisions as you need until you have a product you’re thrilled to share with the world.


We specialize in writing for businesses, non-profits, and philanthropies with a social mission. Just some of the types of projects we work on include:

Why Derfner & Sons?

We got into this business because we care about ideas and we care about impact, so we take this work just as personally as you do.

We charge by the project, not by the hour, because we want to give you the best piece of writing we can do. Period. Regardless of how much time it takes.

  • Passion

    We're passionate about the same things you're passionate about. We want to make a difference in the world.

  • Experience

    We have over 20 years of combined experience, and we bring it all to bear on everything we do.

  • Value

    You'll never get anything but our best work, and our fee includes unlimited revisions until you have a product you're happy with.

  • Good Work

    We're on retainer with some of the biggest foundations in the world that are doing some of the boldest work out there.

Our Team

Jeremy Derfner
Prior to starting the writing agency Derfner & Sons, Inc. in 2014, Jeremy Derfner served as the head of speechwriting at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For nine years, he worked side-by-side with Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and other leaders of the foundation to advise on communications strategy and help write everything from speeches and op-eds to blogs and tweets. Jeremy started his writing career in journalism at, where he learned his craft under the legendary Michael Kinsley. Jeremy holds a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from Columbia University, where he spent four years as a Richard Hofstadter Fellow in the History Department.
Joel Derfner
Joel Derfner is the co-founder of Derfner & Sons, Inc. He has published two books with Random House, coauthored three bestsellers, and written for O: The Oprah Magazine. He has degrees from Harvard College and New York University, where he now teaches creative writing to undergraduates and graduate students. His work for the stage has been produced in London, off-Broadway, and in several regional theaters.
Emily Lieb
Emily Lieb teaches history and urban studies at Seattle University. She also writes for the History Channel and anyone else who will hire her. Before she got her PhD in U.S. history from Columbia, she worked in publishing. Emily loves yammering on to anyone who will listen–and especially to her students, a wonderfully captive audience–about cities past and present, the politics of urban education, and the history of the American civil-rights movement. She is very slowly writing a book on urban policy and neighborhood change in West Baltimore in the 20th century–and yes, she is working on a zingier elevator speech for that project. Hobbies include exploring new cities, playing frisbee with her magnificent dog, reading detective novels, and drinking Negronis on porches.
Nicole Denison
Dot Connector
Nicole is a seasoned operations and marketing professional and handles everything from soup to nuts for the business except writing. Prior to joining us, her career experience included human resources, operations and sales & marketing. Nicole holds several certifications in marketing and administration, she has a B.A. in Business Administration and she won the 2013 Innovative Women in Business Award from Today’s Innovative Woman Magazine. Outside work, she loves to spend time with her family and enjoying creative hobbies including cooking, writing, painting, biking spending time in nature, and designing themed parties.

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