A grant proposal needs you to sort out a lot of details. Calculating a meticulous budget, drafting a needs statement, and following appropriate timelines. Unfortunately, sometimes after doing all this, you still do not land the grant proposal. What could be the issue? What is enough to receive usgrants.org funding and escape the dreaded rejection letter? It is not uncommon to have your funding proposal rejected. Below are some of the things to keep in mind as you review your grant proposal to get some improvements on your next application.
The project does not match the grant
As you write your grant, you can approach the idea and write a proposal matching the grant or model it to fit the interest and mission of the funder. Therefore, take time to read the requirements properly to submit a proposal that matches the grant. Notably, this does not mean you need to find a grant that is a perfect match for your proposal. You need to get creative with your grant proposal to get it closer to your funders’ requirements and priorities. Review previously funded projects to see if your grant proposal is in the bracket of those that interest the funder.
Not double-checking your math
As you compile your budget, it is easy to make a mistake. You can miss a decimal here and skip a number there, and suddenly all the numbers are completely off. Therefore, ensure you double-check your math to see it is accurate with no mistake. Thus, before you write a budget for the grant, research costs. Request quotes from outside vendors, price out the equipment you need, and get estimates that are accurate as possible. Inflated numbers and guesses are not helpful. As you finalize the budget, ensure the amount you seek is within the funders’ range amount. Also, research the amount previous winners get to get a rough idea of the ideal amount.
You did not build a relationship
It is wise to reach out to the funder to get to know them before submitting your proposal to create an opportunity for your grant proposal to get noticed. Grants rely on relationships, just like other fundraising methods. Invest time and effort to get to know your funder. Visit their social media pages to know who is involved with the funder. Once you learn who they are, reach out and start a discussion. Get them interested before you create an application. If it feels like a challenge, start with community foundations that want to make a difference in the community and progress upwards.
Not following instructions
Writing a grant proposal can be a challenge. Every grant is different, and the rules as well. Thus, you need to read through and understand the directions well. Note the important details like supporting documentation, page requirements, contact information to add and the submission process, and any other important things. If you notice anything unusual, take note of it to avoid forgetting or skipping on it. Some funders can be specific about aspiring grantees’ abilities in following the rules.
Not customizing your proposal to the grant
A common reason they deny funding is due to lack of customization. Using the same proposal to send to every grant is the fastest way to get rejected. Therefore, it is not about having a well-written application, but is it tailored to the individual grant requirements. You can have a good standard proposal that you have not customized, but use it as a template to get information from as you create a unique proposal for every grant. Use the standard information in your proposal, but customize it to the grant’s specification.
To sum up, you can follow everything and still not get awarded for the grant. If this happens, look at rejection as a motivation for growth. If you get a rejection, follow with a gratitude letter. This is a way to build a relationship with the foundation. It is also a way to show interest in submitting in the future and to show you are committed to improving. Do not give up on sending proposals. For in every response, you learn something, and rejection is not forever.