You spent hours calculating a meticulous budget, drafting a needs statement, and following all the guidelines. But, this is still not enough to get you to grant funding, and all you have is a rejection letter. It is not unusual to get a grant funding proposal rejected. Plus, you can get new government grants by researching to find the right fit and avoiding any mistakes you might have made with the first one. Below are some things to keep in mind to make improvements in your next application.
The project did not match the grant
Every time you apply for grant funding, you can choose a grant that closely matches your idea, or you model your application to fit the interest and mission of the funder. But, if you do not take time to read the guidelines in detail, you may end up submitting a proposal that does not match the purpose of the grant. It does not mean you should find a grant funder that perfectly fits your grant proposal. But you will have to be creative with the description of your grant proposal to get it closer to the funders’ requirements and priorities. Importantly, review projects the funder has funded previously to see if it is in the same interest as you.
You did not double-check your budget
When compiling a budget, it is easy to mess up the math or make any other mistake. You can skip a decimal here, miss a number there, and suddenly your numbers are not adding up. Thus, ensure you check and recheck your budget numbers. Also, before writing a budget for the grant, conduct research on the costs. Request quotes from vendors, price out the equipment, and for estimates, get the most accurate. Inflated numbers and guesses are not helpful. Before you finalize the budget, ensure the amount you are asking for is within the funders’ range. Confirm from previous winners to see how much money they received and their requested amount. Asking for too little money is more the same as asking for too much.
Not building a relationship with funders
It is vital to reach out to the funder to get to know them before you apply. If you did not, you have missed an opportunity to get your project noticed. Similar to most fundraising methods, grants rely on relationships. As part of your research, learn of ways to cultivate successful relationships with grant donors. In most cases, you may not be knowing the funder, so invest the effort to get to know them. Visit their social media pages, website and learn more about the people involved in making the grant. Get them to be interested in your project before you create your proposal. Alternatively, you can start locally and reach out to a community foundation that supports projects making a difference in your community.
Not following guidelines
Writing a grant application can be challenging. Each grant is different and has its own set of rules. Therefore, it is best to read through the guidelines keenly and over and over again. Note vital details like supporting documentation, page requirements, contact information, and submission process. If you find anything unusual, take note, and do not skip over it. Some funders are particular about potential grantees and their ability to follow set rules.
You did not customize your proposal to the grant
A common reason to deny funding is the lack of customization. Avoid sending the same proposal to every funder, as this is not a way to win. Tailor your application to each grant. Having a strong, not customized proposal is not a great starting point. Approach this is through customizing your standard application to fit the specifications of the grant.
To sum up, it is a challenge to write, submit and win a grant. The competition is among many passionate applicants, and many come out disappointed. Not winning a grant application is not the end. Always appreciate with a thank you letter, continue to build a relationship with the foundation. In this way, you let them know you are still interested in submitting again. Finally, keep submitting and learn from every response you get.