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What To Do If Your Grant Gets Rejected

By Author: Henry Perry
Total Articles: 35

It hurts when you get the rejection letter in the mail. All of these questions come to mind. Why didn't they like my proposal? What did I do wrong? How come my proposal didn't get funded?
The first thing you need to do, after pouting, is to pull yourself together and find out the answers to your questions. Below are a couple of the most common reasons for rejections.
1. The foundation liked the idea but didn't fund it: This is one of the top reasons an idea gets rejected despite having an expert grant writer, Perhaps the board of directors of the foundation spent all of the allocated funding on projects before they could get to your proposal. Or maybe there were so many good ideas to fund that there just wasn't enough money to go around. This sort of thing happens behind the scenes and doesn't reflect at all on the strength of your proposal or the grant writer. This is important to remember because it means that relationship building with funders should be one of your top priorities.
2. The organization wasn't grant ready: I've come across this problem quite a bit - An organization hires a professional grant writer to step in to write a specific grant proposal they're set on, and the grant writer takes their word for it that they have all the details in order. But the organization can't get everything the grant writer needs together in time, so details are thin and the proposal is weak despite the writer's best efforts.
If you feel like your organization might not be grant ready then you should seek out a professional grant writer who also does strategic planning. Paying for an extra couple of hours could be the difference between getting the grant and not getting the grant.
Just remember that you may think you are grant ready but if you don't have an organizational resume and can't tell how you are going to sustain your project at the end of the grant period - you are not grant ready.
Is your board interactive with program staff, do they volunteer time, or make monetary contributions, if not your board is not grant ready.
3. The grant opportunity just wasn't a good fit: Often proposals are rejected because they don't fit with a funder's declared interests. This is either due to poor grant search or a lack of information from the funder. This is why it is important to either call the funder if they allow phone calls or to do a letter of inquiry based on the information that the funder provides. Always look at their website before applying, in most cases the websites are kept up to date and change with their visions.

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