Author Archives: Dalya Massachi


Ask Dalya: Do funders hold all the cards in grant relationships?

Question: It seems that foundations and other funders hold all the cards in power relationships with grantseekers. Is that true?


At first glance, it definitely can appear that way. It may feel like you are “begging for money” with a virtual tin cup. You may even get nervous when you prepare to speak with a funder one-on-one.

That’s totally understandable. (FYI, many foundation program officers used to be in grantseekers’ shoes so they can empathize with your sweaty palms.)

But while grantmakers hold the purse strings, by no means are they the only ones in the relationship who should be confident, empowered professionals.

Look closely at the situation. Continue reading

Nonprofit thank you notes get creative and strategic

I, like many people, do my share of year-end giving to my favorite nonprofits in December. Of course, December and January are usually super-busy times of year for folks who process all of those donations!

I was pleased to receive some very grateful and thoughtful thank you notes from the organizations I supported. I wanted to share one specific letter that stood out. It comes from my local food bank, the Alameda County Community Food Bank, to be exact. You can see a copy of it below:

CCF01252016_0004It starts out expressing gratitude and welcoming me to their community, and goes on to briefly  explain what my contribution will do.

Notice that it has a large photo of a child in the upper-right corner and the letter talks a bit about her, a representative of their clients.

This one-pager is short, simple, sweet, and to the point. It also lists the tax ID number at the bottom, as well as the address and affiliations.

That’s all pretty standard best practice.

The most interesting part was the PS and the insert that came with it. Continue reading

Happy 2016! Got some new writing goals?


If you’re anything like me, you are contemplating your professional development goals and priorities for 2016. It’s time to take stock and think about what’s really important to you as we enter this brand new year. A few questions:

  • Do you want to become a more polished communicator, online or offline?
  • Are you ready to finally brush up on your writing skills to get the most out of every piece you write?
  • Do you want to up your game in grantseeking, content development, or both?

If you would like to discuss options for yourself or your team, I am scheduling a limited number of complimentary strategy sessions.  Continue reading

gift boxes

A Holiday Gift for My Online Community

“So What? Who Cares? Zero In on Your Impact and Tell Funders About It!, a special presentation I made at the Puget Sound Grantwriters’ Association conference this fall, was not recorded. But I am happy to give you the slidedeck and handout for FREE (through December 31).

It was so well-received that I kept hearing from attendees for weeks. Here is a bit of what they said:

I recently had the good fortune to attend the Puget Sound Grantwriters’ Association annual conference – and while there, hear a presentation by Dalya. Who knew ‘So What?’ could be so inspiring and an impetus for change?! We’re excited to have that question guide the way we talk about our organization’s impact when speaking with our donors, the people we serve, and internally amongst ourselves as staff. Thank you for this awesome new tool! – Jen Vollmer, The Funhouse Commons

“As more and more proposals go online, your presentation was a wonderful reminder that we really need to get to the ‘heart’ of why we’re writing. Thank you—and thanks for coming to see us in Seattle.”– Susan P. Clark. Former PSGA President

Claim your free copy of the slidedeck and handouts HERE.