Common Reasons for Rejected Grant Proposals

One of the reasons why grant proposals are rejected is because they are not compliant with the guidelines. These guidelines are there for a reason. Grantmakers expect grant seekers to follow them. So, if you did not pass all of the criteria given by the grantmaker, your application will be turned down.

For example, the grantmaker may require a specific geographic location or want the organization to hire support personnel for their plan operation. They also expect grant seekers to submit their grant proposals on a specific schedule.

Another reason why your grant proposal may have been rejected is that you were too vague. You have to be clear and concise with your grant proposal. Explain what you want in detail and why you want it. You have to outline your specifics. The grantmaker may want you to define your target population, the specific activities you are going to do, and where or how the recipients of your services are going to be served.

Your grant proposal may have also been rejected because it was too narrow. What does this mean? The population you targeted may have been too narrow, so the grantmaker felt that their funds are not going to make a measurable and significant impact. Simply put, you may have chosen too selectively. Grantmakers want their funds to be widespread and be beneficial to many. If they feel that you are only attending to a small group of people, they may choose someone else who can make their funds reach out to more people.

Common Reasons for Rejected Grant Proposals

Conversely, your grant proposal may have been too broad. You may have been too ambitious to the point that it is no longer realistic. You may have had good intentions when you said that you want to eliminate poverty and hunger, but you cannot do that on your own. Such goals are just too unreasonable, impractical, and unrealistic. The grantmaker is aware that you do not have the power or capacity to fulfill such broad claims. Thus, you have to be present goals that are measurable, doable, reachable, and achievable.

If an organization does not have sufficient track records to prove that it is credible, their grant proposal may also be rejected. This is why you have to state every accomplishment you have attained in your application. You may partner with a reputable and establish an organization to boost your credibility.

Submitting a grant proposal is practically asking a grantmaker to produce a huge amount of money. As you know, there are plenty of scammers and fraudsters out there. Thus, you have to prove to the grantmaker that you are not one of them. You have to show evidence that your organization is legitimate and your intentions are sincere.

Grantmakers want to make sure that their funds are being given to worthy and credible organizations that can seriously take fiduciary responsibilities and operate with integrity. They also want to make sure that the grant recipient possesses the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge to accomplish their objectives.

Another reason why your grant proposal may have been rejected is that you did not present a clear evaluation plan. You see, you have to be accountable for your proposed program. If your plans are not concrete, the grantmaker will think that you are not good enough to proceed with the program.

You have to state what type of measures you plan to use to meet your objectives. Indicate if such measures are going to be presented and generated by an external or internal evaluator. Grantmakers generally want to know if their recipients have good systems that can accurately measure their success.

Lastly, your grant proposal may have been rejected due to certain circumstances that are beyond your control. For instance, the grantmaker or awarding agency may have to do some budget cuts. This may cause them to withdraw funding, change their priorities, or shift their focus.

As a grant seeker, you have to do your best to come up with a well-written and compelling grant proposal. You have to do your research and present accurate data. You also have to be on time, as well as passionate about your cause. Then again, you also have to accept the fact that you are not in full control. Certain events or circumstances may occur that can affect the approval of your application. If you ever get rejected, you still have to remain composed and objective. Do not take it personally because it was not about you. Deal with the rejection appropriately and do not lose hope in finding another source of funding.

Coming Back from Failure

Coming Back from Failure

Not all grant proposals are accepted. No matter how noble your cause is, no matter how passionate you are about your program, you can still get rejected for some reason. The best way to deal with a rejection letter is with your hopes high, your head up, and a plan on how you can get funding from another grantmaker.

Do not fall apart. Now is not the appropriate time for that. You have to move on as soon as possible. Refrain from dwelling on the rejection because you will only lose valuable energy and time. You need to take immediate action to look for a new source of funding.

Do not give up. This is why grant seekers need to have a lot of options when it comes to funding. You cannot just rely on one grantmaker alone. You need to have other options in case your first plan does not succeed. Do not lose hope in finding a grantmaker who will accept your proposal. You have to stay determined, even if it means traveling to another state.

You can start a post-rejection discussion with the private sector funder. Plenty of private sector funders do not provide detailed information on why they rejected a grant proposal. Your postcard or letter with an apologetic paragraph does not come with many clues on what was wrong with the request. So, you may want to know what you did wrong and which area you can improve.

You can ask where you appeared weak and how you can correct the deficiencies. This way, you can approach the next grantmaker with a stronger grant proposal. You should have the courage to contact the grantmaker who rejected you and ask to discuss your rejected proposal. Then again, you may only be able to do this with public sector funders. Private sector funders may refuse to release information as to why you were not the one who won the bid.

You can either ask for a meeting or ask for a copy of the winning bid. Having a meeting allows you to ask questions and get answers while getting a copy of the winning bid lets you see what elements the grantmaker is seeking for. You can document the copy of the winning bid and use it for future reference.

If your organization has been rejected for a state or federal grant, you can write or call to request for the comments of the reviewers. You can use the Freedom of Information Act when you request for copies of the review comments, including the weaknesses and strengths of your grant proposal and the scoring records of the reviewers.

The rejection letter must give you the name of the awarding agency, their contact numbers, and the names of the people you can contact. It may even include the tracking code of your grant proposal. When you contact the awarding agency and ask for the comments, you may be asked to put your requests in writing. You can simply write a letter, but make sure that you include the words FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST in uppercase letters in your header.

If you have any powerful connections, you may want to consider contacting them. You can contact a legislator to guide you and help you find out why your proposed program was rejected. State and federal grants must be equally awarded across geographic locations as well as split between urban and rural areas.

Usually, reviewers also consider other equality indicators. They state their preferences in their application guidelines. However, your most ideal move after getting a rejection letter is to simply ask the legislator to make an investigation. The support and intervention of the legislator can make a difference in the approval of your grant proposal.

Coming Back from Failure

You should not take the rejection on a personal level, however. Private and public funding sources get a lot of grant proposals every month. They literally have to sort each and every one of them. They cannot fund all of these grant proposals, so they have to go through a meticulous process. Once your application is received, it is kept with the other applications. By the time it gets to the reviewer, it is thoroughly read and studied.

The reviewers see to it that your grant proposal is eligible. They also review it for funder interest and technical merit. If you fail in any of these criteria, your grant proposal will be rejected. You have to take this as a setback for your organization rather than a personal attack. The grantmaker rejected your grant proposal, not you as a person.

Instead of getting sad over the rejection, you have to be objective. Read the rejection letter again and see if you can find any windows of opportunities. There are grantmakers that tell promising applications to submit a proposal again after a certain date. Your grant proposal may have been rejected now for some reason, but the grantmaker saw potential in you and is considering of funding your program in the future. So, you should not lose all hope.

Grantmakers receive a lot of funding requests every year. So, even if they want to award you the funds, they cannot do it because they also have a budget they need to follow. With this being said, you should mark your calendar and reconvene your planning group. You also have to update your research studies and start the grant rewriting early. This way, you can ensure that you are on time for next year’s submission. You can also guarantee that you have everything ready and you did not cram.

Then again, there are instances in which you will not be sent a letter informing you that the funds were awarded to another organization. If the contract bid-letting agency did not notify you of your rejection, you can contact them by phone or send them a letter. You can also make a personal visit to discuss it.