The Top 10 Reasons Grant Proposals Get Rejected
Based on the experiences of our clients and ourselves, Grant
Seeker Pro has created this top ten list of reasons that Grant
proposals are rejected.
1. Wrong Organization: Non-Profit organizations
and Private Foundations want to know that an individual has
thought about their funding
needs and how their interests match up. Choosing the correct
foundation can be a snap if you can find it. The biggest challenge
to day is locating these organizations and contacting them
in a professional manner. Grant Seeker Pro makes this a no-brainer
with our one of a kind online application creator.
2. Follow the Instructions!!! In our book Grant Seeker Pro
we repeatedly show you examples of proposals where the individual
was given a specific set of instructions to follow and they
either misunderstood, decided they had a better way or just
decided not to follow instructions. These people will not be
3. Deadlines: After an initial contact is made with an organization
and they decide that they want additional information from
you then there is no excuse not to provide within the time
4. Outcomes not provided: Government funders, foundations and
corporate donors are increasingly asking non-profits to demonstrate
the potential outcomes or benefits of their grant proposal.
Besides showing the direct benefit or your work, include information
about the positive impact on the community as a whole, as well
as any potential benefits for the future.
5. Duplication of service: Being unique is one of those intangibles
that sparks the interest of donors, so you must attempt to
differentiate or distinguish yourself from other service
providers. Outline clearly how your programs differ from
any unique demographic or constituencies you represent; detail
changes to your program over time; and explain how the funds
will help to address emerging social needs.
6. Blanket proposals or fishing
expeditions: These kinds of
proposals tell a funder that you don't care about their time
- and grant officers are expert at spotting them. Granters
donate, they do not speculate.
7. Sustainability not anticipated: Every class of donor wants
to see that some thought, planning and strategic analysis
has been undertaken that shows your organization is aiming
greater self-sufficiency. Sustainability runs parallel to
the development of funding relationships and partnerships.
donors will ask flat out: how do you plan to sustain this
initiative over time?
8. Unrealistic expectations: A non-profit organization needs
to assess which foundation is more likely to fund larger requests.
A small foundation may have a history of giving grants in the
$5,000 range. This would not be the right foundation to ask
for a million dollars. It also takes time to build an ongoing
relationship with a donor, particularly when you're asking
for a great deal of money. Just because your cause is important
does not make your organization their highest funding priority.
9. Inaccurate, vague or generally
poor writing: Errors in
financial accounting, for example, gravely undermine your
Vague or inaccurate proposals also make it difficult for
a grant officer to review and evaluate your proposal, even
they may see huge value in what you do. Try to keep in mind
that a successful proposal will engage the reader and hold
their interest, while demonstrating a compelling reason why
your organization should be supported.
10. No donor
Many donors - particularly corporate
donors - will want to know how their contribution will be
appreciated or recognized. This increases their confidence
for their contribution will be forthcoming. Overlooking donor
recognition is one of the most common and easy to avoid errors.
BIG Picture: Few things in this world are guaranteed. But one
thing is certain: avoid the pitfalls of the Top 10 and you
will dramatically increase your grant proposal success ratio.