New Writing Wednesdays recording: Top 12 Traits of a Good Grantwriter

writing_wednesdays_jpegIt’s back! After a few months off, Writing Wednesdays has rebooted and transformed into a sleeker, more accessible nugget.

The monthly podcasts are now released one Wednesday each month. And at only 10-20 minutes long, they easily fit into a lunch break or commute.

Writing Wednesdays are your opportunity to get essential writing tips and advice on a wide range of documents you are asked to write. My goal is to help YOU improve your pieces and better engage your readers! You’ll hear from me each month, and sometime I am joined by a Special Guest who is also involved in “writing to make a difference.”

This month’s topic: Top 12 Traits of a Good Grantwriter

I’ve spoken to many people who either want to up their game as a grantwriter, or are thinking about entering the field. I’ve met them through my Grantwriter’s FastTrack Coaching Program or one of the many webinars, workshops, or keynotes I have presented in the last several years.

If you’re thinking along these same lines, ask yourself if you have the 12 characteristics it takes to shine, described in the latest podcast in the ARCHIVE. By the way, this podcast adds 2 additional traits to the ones I wrote about in my October 6 blog post.

Want to hear more? I went in depth on several of these traits in my recent keynote address on a similar topic.

What? You’re not already on the list to hear about new Writing Wednesdays? Just sign up on the right-hand side of this website.

Meanwhile, please let me know what you would like to hear in future months. Take less than 30 seconds to add your thoughts in a Quick Survey.

Happy writing!

10/30 webinar: Writing with Passion and Power: An Essential Nonprofit Leadership Skill

OpportunityKnocks_logoJoin me and Opportunity Knocks for this practical, interactive webinar: Writing with Passion and Power: An Essential Nonprofit Leadership Skill

Date: October 30, 2014

Time:  2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT

Duration: 1 hr. 30 min.


Do you want to position your work as cutting-edge and worthy of new support? Do you want to become a respected thought leader in your field? In the marketplace of ideas, those who write well are seen as the “experts” at much more than putting words on a page. (The words “author” and “authority” come from the same Latin root!)

If you want your writing to more fully express your passion, or tell your story in a fresher and more compelling way, this webinar is for you! We will share some strategic tools to help your words “land” as you intend.

Join us as we explore how to craft polished pieces that will help you reach a whole new level of effectiveness. You will leave inspired and equipped with powerful techniques you can begin using immediately – for yourself and your staff.

You will learn:

  1. The ABC’s of copywriting, including creating and advancing your “brand”, understanding your intended readers and their needs, and focusing on the benefits you offer
  2. The top characteristics of effective writing and how to apply them
  3. What to look for when providing feedback on a piece
  4. How to encourage a “writing-positive” culture at your organization

During the webinar, we will offer a live demonstration of writing coaching and a debriefing.

You will also receive an e-copy of my award-winning book, Writing to Make a Difference: 25 Powerful Techniques to Boost Your Community Impact.

Who should attend:
Managers, staff people, or anyone else who uses writing on a regular basis to further your “brand” and would like to help others do the same at your organization

Level:    Beginner, Intermediate

To register click HERE.



6 Tips To Avoid Common Grant Application Mistakes

mistakes[Dalya's Note: This guest post was written by Diane H. Leonard, GPC. She a certified grant professional who has provided grant development counsel to nonprofit organizations of varying size and scope for more than a decade. ]

As grant professionals and fundraisers we are always working to improve our success ratio, write a stronger application, and build better relationships with our funders. While keeping you attention on best practices when completing your grant applications, it is still possible to overlook some small, yet common and easy-to-address mistakes.

I facilitated a panel at the Grant Professional Association’s conference in Baltimore last year with an experienced group of extremely successful grant professionals who discussed some such mistakes that they had made during their career.  The panel I assembled was a dynamic group of grant professionals with a wide range of experience and expertise that I admire tremendously and appreciate using as a sounding board on formal and informal collaborative projects: Rena Beyer of Grant Specialist USA, Margit Brazda Poirier of Grants 4 Good, Linda Butler of Butler Consulting, Jana Jane Hexter of Grants Champion, Jo Miller of JM Grants, and Heather Stombaugh of Just Write Solutions.  As a result of this engaging panel dialogue, I have outlined a summary of the remedies to key mistakes we identified for you to focus on avoiding in your grant application documents or grant application submission process.

While not a complete list of steps to take to avoid common mistakes, we agreed in our discussion that they were the most important to ensure are addressed during each application:

Continue reading

NEW VIDEO: Top 6 Ways Grantwriters Are Strategic Leaders

KC_ laughingA few months ago, the Grant Professionals Association’s Heart of America chapter invited me to be the plenary speaker at their regional conference in Kansas City, MO. I was honored and pleased to present to such a respected group!

I spoke about the Top 6 Ways Grantwriters Are Strategic Leaders (whether they know it or not). The 6 are:


  1. You are passionate about your organization’s story and want to share it
  2. You plan ahead
  3. You “rally the troops” while staying calm, cool, and collected
  4. You ask the right questions and tell it like it is
  5. You see the big picture AND the devilish details and you polish them all
  6. You learn from rejection and know your limits

If you are a grant professional, you are perfectly positioned to help your organization plan strategically for its grantseeking future. You are the knowledgeable guide who can lead executive and program staff to design work that is attractive to grantmakers.

During my presentation, we discussed:

  • How to make sure everyone is on the same page (with the same purposes)
  • What questions to ask to get the information you need
  • Examples of strategizing with staff – before , during, or after the grant award

It was great to see people take notes, participate in group exercises, laugh at my jokes (!), and take away ideas they could really use.

Want to watch the 40-minute presentation (in a few segments)? You can do that right here:

By the way, if YOUR organization or association is looking for a customized presentation for an upcoming meeting (in person or online), please check out my work as a speaker HERE.



Top 10 Traits of a Good Grantwriter

traits of a grantwriter

Do you want, or need, to up your game as a grantwriter? Maybe you’re thinking about entering the field? If you have strong writing skills (even if you were not an English major), ask yourself if you have the other characteristics it takes to shine!


1. Content knowledge as a specialist or generalist in your field: Of course, you need to know at least a bit about the organization’s field of endeavor — or be willing to learn quickly!

2. Passion for the nonprofit’s work: You can only spread enthusiasm for supporting the organization if you have it yourself.

3. Training and on-the-job experience: Classes and books can help you get started. Coaching and mentoring before or during your on-the-job experience elevates you to a new level of understanding and skill.

4. Resourcefulness as a self-motivated, tenacious researcher: You can find out almost anything, given the right tools and contacts.

5. People skills: You have to be good at building relationships both within your organization and  with outside funders. This includes listening and interviewing skills to get the information you need, and the ability to lead/coordinate the team working on each grant proposal. Continue reading