Author Archives: Dalya Massachi


Ask Dalya: First person or third person in grant proposals?

Question: I’m working on a grant application, and I find myself referring to our organization both in the third person and the first person.  The third person sounds more professional, and I feel more comfortable “bragging” about our accomplishments in the third person.  But the first person sounds warmer and more personal, and I think it tends to convey greater ownership/passion. Which approach should I take?

Answer: This is a common situation, and there is no hard and fast rule about  it. I have seen both.

Personally, I tend to go mostly with the first person but use the organization’s acronym when it seems feasible and appropriate (not to overdo the “we”, to get the funder familiar with the organization’s name, and to sound official).

By the way, your focus should be more on what you do for and with the community and less on you, as much as possible. The third/first person issue should not be that big of a deal; don’t let it disrupt your flow.

PS: You can find more “”Ask Dalya” questions and answers HERE.


10/20-21: Nonprofit Awareness Expo in Las Vegas Area

I am excited to speak, exhibit, and coach at the upcoming Nonprofit Awareness Expo in the Las Vegas area on October 20 and 21. The Philantrepreneur Foundation is presenting the event with the help of many community partners, including the Alliance for Nevada Nonprofits, United Way, and SCORE.

At the Nonprofit Awareness Expo, leaders and professionals will offer valuable insight via a community panel discussion and multiple presentations with strategies and resources for anyone in a for-purpose or nonprofit business.

Brand messaging, CRM systems, Internet marketing, and connecting in the community are just a few of the topics we’ll cover.

“I’m so proud of Dr. Victoria Boyd and the outstanding work she is doing with The Philantrepreneur Foundation,” said Julie Murray, President of the Moonridge Group. “Her vision for a collaborative community is inspirational!  They are making great progress to inspire non-profits to work together, and will make a significant and long-lasting impact in our community.”

Wondering why the Nonprofit Awareness Expo is two days? They couldn’t fit all the extraordinary activities into just one. Key activities include:

Exhibitors representing businesses and nonprofits
Formal Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremonies on both days
Community panel and open mic discussion
Ongoing national industry leader presentations — hear me speak on Friday, October 21
Ask an Expert one-on-one consultations — both days

To learn more, just go to THE NONPROFIT AWARENESS EXPO WEBSITE. Got friends in the area? Let them know about this!

Cost to attend is only $15 for 1 day or $25 for both days. Mention the code “writing” and get $5 off! You can get your ticket HERE.

done for you

Why is it so hard to proofread your own work? Read this.

Thanks to my friends at the Bay Area Editors’ Forum, I just learned of a great article called “What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos.” The article offers some of the science behind that all-too-common malady.

The piece quotes psychologist Tom Stafford, a researcher at the UK’s University of Sheffield: “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high-level task.” And your brain temporarily concentrates on that task to the exclusion of other ones, such as accurate typing.

Essentially, when you’re writing you’re in what I call the “creative” phase. And well you should be! Get it all out and do your best to say what you want to say.

Then switch to the “editing” phase. You can find lots of advice about that in a former blog post of mine HERE. Here’s one of those tips: Continue reading

web writing

9/8 Interactive Webinar: Copywriting for the Web — Today’s Best Practices

You’re a professional in the nonprofit or social-mission business world. And I know you have a website. But could it be more effective?

Join the many others who have already benefited from my workshops on web copywriting! This time I’m offering it as an interactive webinar that anyone can attend: Thursday, September 8, via the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership. Here’s the description:

Copywriting for the Web — Today’s Best Practices

Have you been putting off making needed changes to your website copy? Not sure what will make the most impact? Need some detailed feedback?

Of course, you know that your website forms an essential part of your organization’s marketing. It needs to deliver compelling content that your readers eagerly engage with. The words and pictures have to jump off the screen and meet your readers where they are. But actually cranking out that copy can sometimes be a challenge.

This webinar will offer you plenty of tips and techniques to make sure your content is web reader-friendly, while it stresses your community impact.


  • 3 planning fundamentals that help you get the results you want
  • What you need to know about today’s web users
  • How to ensure website usability & accessibility
  • Intro to Search Engine Optimization
  • Recommended resources on the web

Continue reading

punctuation image

Punctuation Humor (seriously)

You may have seen this image online. Did you initially notice the strategic placement of the comma and the huge difference it makes?

I have to admit, I like this kind of stuff. It’s mildly humorous and it makes a point (um…no pun intended). Punctuation can be a serious matter. Not using it correctly can have dire consequences.

Here’s another of my favorites from the Internet. Ponder away! Continue reading